Course Name: Pinehills Golf Club (Jones Course)
Designer: Rees Jones/Steve Weisser (2001)
Location: Plymouth, Massachusetts
History: Opened in 2001, this course shares a clubhouse with another superb course designed by Jack Nicklaus. This region is steeped in golfing excellence as the super-private internationally-acclaimed Old Sandwich is just a mile down the road. The Jones Course is the consensus better course at this club, as it was ranked #72 in Golf Magazine’s Top Public Courses in 2004 and #5 on Golf.com’s Massachusetts Public Golf Courses in 2014.
Conditions: 8/10, this course is in fantastic shape for a public course. The bunkers are well-manicured and the fairways are beautiful. The greens ran at about 11 but rolled true.
Value: 7/10, this course offers very good value, as I was able to pay $55 for a cart and unlimited range balls after 3:30. While a bit more expensive earlier in the day, this is a definitely fair price.
Tee Par Yardage Rating Slope
Black 72 7175 75.4 137
Blue 72 6762 72.4 133
White 72 6201 69.8 127
Silver 72 5776 68.1 125
Red 72 5347 71.3 127
Best Score: 88 (Blue Tees), 6/26/2016 with George W.
Front 9 Best: 46 (Blue Tees), 6/26/2016 with George W.
Back 9 Best: 42 (Blue Tees), 6/26/2016 with George W.
Hole Highlights: Like Rees Jones’ other design Lake of Isles, Pinehills featured extreme elevation changes and fairways that seemed like they rose out of thick forests. I did like this design a bit more and felt it was more fair. The first hole is an uphill sharp dogleg left that can be easy hole if you naturally draw the ball. The next few holes were pretty average, but hole 4 will immediately grab your attention. This 177 yard par 3 is almost straight downhill from a tiny teebox, making club selection very difficult. Two more similarly bland long par 4’s follow before a pretty medium-length par 3. Hole 9 is probably the best hole on the side. A long par 5 dogleg right, this hole requires a straight drive in order to make par. Drives that try to cut the corner have to carry a 270 yard bunker and woods on the right. The approach shot and layup are both difficult as well, as a pond covers the right side for about 130 yards before the hole.
Although the back 9 is clearly the superior side, neither the 10th or 18th hole is remarkable. Hole 11 is another difficult tee shot. A short par 5 on the scorecard, this hole plays directly uphill and long right and left are OB. This green is also small and guarded by OB and bunkers. Hole 12 is a really fun hole. Straight downhill, drives of over 300 yards are certainly a possibility. These holes are extremely isolated, and we barely saw another group on the course when we played. While it makes walking nearly impossible, the feeling of isolation on the 13th hole is a great one, as you can truly be one with the beautiful surroundings. Hole 14 might be my favorite hole on the course. A par 3 over 210 yards from the Blue Tees and even farther from the Black Tees, this drive must carry a vast waste area short and avoid a thick forest on the right. This hole is followed by a short par 5 with a very intimidating tee shot that seemed straight out of Lake of Isles. Hole 16 is probably my second favorite hole on this course. A sharp dogleg right par 4, the drive is a beautiful one, as you can see for miles. I cut the corner on this hole by carrying a 250 yard bunker and only had wedge in, but George lost 7 balls trying to cut the corner. Hole 17 finishes what is a very good collection of par 3’s on this course as a 185 yarder with a well-guarded green.
General Comments: The clubhouse and patio are brilliant, and really embodied their “Be a Member for the Day” motto. The range was large and offered unlimited balls, and the putting green and chipping greens were in great shape. Since there are two 18 hole courses, pace of play is better than you would expect for a course like this. A free bottle of water was given to us in at the start of every 9, which I thought was a nice gesture.
Verdict: This course was as close to a private course as it gets for a daily fee club. I still have some issues with Rees Jones’ design, but this course is far superior to Lake of Isles, and is definitely worth the trip from both Providence and Boston.