Review: Crystal Lake Golf Club

Course Name: Crystal Lake Golf Club

Designer: Howard Maurer (2004)

Location: Burrillville, Rhode Island

History: Opened in May of 2004, Crystal Lake is a semi-private club.

Conditions: 8/10, Crystal Lake was in fantastic shape when I played. The greens were fast and rolled true and the tee boxes and fairways were pristine. The rough here was also nicer and thicker than most public courses in the area.

Value: 6/10, while only $33 walking during the weeks, this course is pretty much a cart only course, as many holes are far apart and have extreme elevation changes. 18 with a cart on the weekend will cost you $62, which might be a bit overpriced.

Scorecard:

Tee                     Par         Yardage         Rating          Slope

Black                 71            6240              69.8              121

Blue                   71            5966              69.1               119

White               71             5590              66.6              116

Red                   71              4854             67.7              114

Best Score: 84 (Blue Tees), 8/18/2014 with Ryan S. and someone we met at the course

Front 9 Best: 41 (Blue Tees), 8/18/2014 with Ryan S. and someone we met at the course

Back 9 Best: 43 (Blue Tees), 8/18/2014 with someone I met at the course

Hole Highlights: Although the initial hole is an unremarkable straightforward par 4, the second hole wakes you up quickly. On a course with a lot of elevation changes, the second is one of the most extreme as a straight downhill 185 yard par 3. Out of bounds lines the left side of the green while bunkers hug the entire right side of the hole. I thought the third hole was one of the hardest on the course. At 410 yards, this hole plays straight uphill and was into the wind when we played. Out of bounds lines the entire left hand side of the hole while the green is narrow and undulating. The guy we met at the course hit his ball into the thick woods and went DEEP in there looking for it. He came out with about 25 balls and likely 25 tick bites. While not as difficult as the third, the fourth also is a longer par 4 with OB left. I was not a huge fan of the par 5 fifth or any par 5’s on the course. The fifth is a sharp dogleg that requires iron of the tee unless you want to slice/carry trees on the right. The fairway narrows to almost nothing, making lay-ups very difficult, while the green is elevated and well-protected. Another poorly designed par 5 follows. A straight drive of a maximum of 25o yards is needed before this hole turns sharply left. I was, however, a big fan of the number 1 handicap par 4 7th. At 445 yards this straightaway par 4 is notable for a pond that hugs the right side of this green, making (presumably) long iron shots into this green very intimidating. Another great par 3, the 8th hole plays uphill at 190 yards. If you are long like I was, making up and down is nearly impossible. After a front 9 with so many strong par 4’s I didn’t really understand the finishing hole, a short 308 yard par 4. This green is very narrow and well-bunkered, making iron the play here.

The back 9 starts you out with a very difficult tight par 4. At 422 yards, OB lines the left side while the right side is lined with bunkers. Hole 11 seemed a bit gimmicky to me but it was undeniably unique. At 205 yards, this par 3 plays 90 feet downhill, making it play considerably shorter. The next two holes are short, but actually pretty enjoyable holes. 12 plays straight uphill while the 13th features a very narrow fairway and OB right. The 14th is miles away from the 13th green and the best par 5 on the course. At 525 yards, this three-shotter plays straight but features tons of fairway bunkers and OB right. The easiest par 3 on the course, the 15th plays only 160 yards and is notable for a large bunker short left – so large that there is a tiny grass island inside the bunker. The 16th is a short straightforward par 4, while the 17th is a very solid par 4 at 415 yards. Both of these holes are wide open but you will have some awkward lies if you miss the fairway. A very cool finishing hole, the 18th is a sharp dogleg left with a giant lake and trees lining the left side of the hole. After a nice draw, your approach shot must carry a tiny pond and bunkers guarding a tight green.

General Comments: Although I didn’t use them, the practice facilities are solid here. Pace of play was very good when I played, and it doesn’t surprise me considering it took me ages to find this course.

Verdict: Crystal Lake to me is clearly the best public course in Rhode Island north of Providence. While not a must-play, the conditioning and beautiful scenery here make it a fun, worthwhile round.

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The beautiful downhill par 3 second
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