Review: Alpine Country Club

Course Name: Alpine Country Club

Designer: Geoffrey Cornish (1962)

Location: Cranston, Rhode Island

History: Started as a social club for American Italians, Alpine opened its Geoffrey Cornish-designed golf course in 1962. Ed Kirby has been course pro there for decades, and notably played with Greg Norman in the final round of the 1989 U.S. Open.

Conditions: 8/10, this course is always in fantastic shape. Quick greens and lush fairways and rough are found on every hole.

Value: N/A, This is a private course.

Scorecard:

Tee                                 Par         Yardage         Rating          Slope

Gold                               72           6864              73.1                129

Blue                               72           6627              72.0               127

White                            72           6317               70.6              126

Red                                 72          5964               73.0              117

Best Score: 81 (Blue Tees), 9/5/2011 with Sal M.

Front 9 Best: 42 (Blue Tees), 9/5/2011 with Sal M.

Back 9 Best: 39 (Blue Tees), 9/5/2011 with Sal M.

Hole Highlights: For a Cornish course, Alpine actually features impressive variability of hole designs. The first hole is the easiest on the front at only 325 yards. A large pond guards the left hand side of the hole and this green is well-protected by bunkers, making long iron or hybrid the play here. The second hole is a very solid narrow par 5. At 500 yards, this hole is reachable in theory but any ball that misses the green will likely find one of several large bunkers starting 80 yards short of this sloped green. Another short par 4, the dogleg left 3rd is most notable for its bunkering. You have to avoid a tiny bunker in the left rough off the drive while the entire green is surrounded by a moat of sand. The fourth hole is another very tight par 5 with OB left and trees right. Like the second, this hole is reachable but I definitely wouldn’t hit driver off the tee this time had I known what this hole was like.

Hole 5 is the first long hole on this course at over 440 yards. Straightaway, long drivers should avoid trouble here as long as they stay in the fairway. Another long hole follows – this time a par 3. The 6th hole stretches as far back as 225 yards, forcing many players to take out wood here. Another interesting hole, the par 4 345 yard 7th is very well-bunkered and a large slope guards the left hand side of this green. I remember having lob wedge into the hole only to make bogey when my ball tumbled all the way down this hill. The 8th hole is a formidable three-shot par 5 that turns sharply right after your drive. I remember this green being long and narrow, with little room for error on the approach. The ninth hole is a short uphill par 3 to a tiered green. Although the backdrop features the clubhouse, I did find this finishing par 3 a bit weak.

I was definitely more a fan of the back 9 at Alpine. Hole 10 was a pretty par 5 whose fairway narrowed to almost nothing about 75 yards before the green. A large fairway bunker is a big part of this narrowing and would make par very difficult. The 11th hole is a very solid par 4. A reeded pond guards the left side at about 270 yards and forces your approach shot to carry this water. After a straightforward par 3, the 13th hole was a more difficult version of the 11th – but this time the water is on the right side. To make this hole more difficult, two tiny bunkers cross the fairway at 230 yards. The tee shot on 14 is one of the most memorable shots on the course, as the tee box stands almost independently in the middle of water.

My favorite par 3 was the 15th hole, a 175 yarder with 5 bunkers covering the front and sides. This hole is followed with what I believe is the signature hole for Alpine. At 390 yards, the 16th features a narrow fairway lined by a water down the entire lefthand side. The fairway does jut out a bit in the driving landing area, but this is often not enough to stop hooked balls from finding their watery grave. Holes 17 and 18 are two strong finishing par 4’s. Both are lined with trees and are well-bunkered, especially on the approach.

General Comments: Alpine features a beautiful large grass driving range and large putting green. I always got the sense that Alpine was a very family friendly club because the pool and tennis courts are always packed. The food is also fantastic at Alpine, and is best enjoyed on the scenic patio adjacent to the course.

Verdict: Well-conditioned and fun, this is one of the best Geoffrey Cornish courses in the state of Rhode Island. Definitely worth a play if you get an invite.

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