Review: Exeter Country Club

Course Name: Exeter Country Club

Designer: Geoffrey Cornish (1969)

Location: Exeter, Rhode Island

History: Designed by Geoffrey Cornish, Exeter is ranked #5 public course in Rhode Island by both Golf.com in 2014 and Golfweek in 2015.

Conditions: 6/10, While overall it is in good shape, sometimes Exeter gets burned out and I have never been a fan of the greens here. They are on the slow side and often break oddly.

Value: 5/10, the twilight deals are pretty good here at $20 after 5:30 P.M. and you can usually finish 18 when the days are long. At peak hours, it will cost you $43 to walk, which is pretty standard.

Scorecard:

Tee                     Par         Yardage         Rating          Slope

Blue                   72          6921                72.1               126

White                72         6406                69.7              122

Red                    72         5706                71.7               119

Best Score: 81 (White Tees), 6/25/2016 with Evan S. and Michael S.

Front 9 Best: 40 (Blue Tees), 6/1/2013 with Dad, and (White Tees), 6/10/2017 with Michael S. and Dave L.

Back 9 Best: 37 (White Tees), 6/25/2016 with Evan S. and Michael S.

Hole Highlights: The front side is much more difficult than the back at Exeter. The first hole is a fun one. At 375 yards, you must carry a ravine to the fairway and then are left with an uphill approach to a large green. The second hole is a monster at over 575 yards from the Blue Tees. OB lines the entire left hand side while large trees guard the right side. This hole plays straightaway but I play from the trees often here. The third hole is the first of four very challenging long par 3’s. At 219 yards, it is the most straightforward. The fourth hole is a sharp dogleg par 5. Drives the go left or too long will find the woods while slices will trundle down a hill. The approach shot here is downhill and getting to this green in two is a possibility. The fifth is a devastating par 3 that verges on unfair from the blue tees. At over 200 yards, this uphill par 3 has trees overhanging the right side, making a high fade the only ballflight that works here. The 6th hole is a very solid downhill par 4 at 395 yards. The seventh hole is the number 1 handicap hole and quite possibly one of the most difficult holes in the state. At 462 yards, this uphill par 4 has trees and rocks jutting out on the left side of this fairway making a draw the only play if you want to keep it in the fairway. The 8th hole is another very solid downhill par 4 characterized by a creek that runs through the fairway at about 240 yards. The 9th is another very challenging par 4. At over 430 yards, this hole’s fairway narrows at about 250 yards, with OB guarding the left side. Trees block out the right side, and many players will be blocked out on either side.

The back 9 is much easier, but the 10th is no joke. At 422 yards, this dogleg right leaves many golfers with long iron in their hand. I would say the 11th is the easiest of the par 3’s at 183 yards. This hole is uphill but features a huge flat green. The 12th is a short downhill par 4 with a narrow fairway and trees blocking the right side. Aggressive players that can avoid these trees will be chipping onto the green. The 13th hole is a memorable one. Your drive must carry the a large pond to the fairway. Once you cross the covered bridge, this fairway turns sharp left and uphill to a bowled green. It is prudent to hit long iron off the tee here as drives longer than 200 yards will run through this fairway and be blocked out. At 497 yards, the 14th is a straightforward reachable par 5. The biggest danger on this hole comes on the drive due to a giant hill on the right side of the fairway. Drives that go right will end up at the bottom of this hill and have a very difficult punch out onto the fairway. The 15th is a very solid par 4 at 370 yards. Although the fairway is wide to start, it narrows especially on the left side as you get closer to the green. The pond lines the left hand side of this green, forcing many players to push their approach shots right. The 16th is without a doubt the most difficult hole on the back 9. At 396 yards and uphill, you must drive it at least 220 yards to carry the pond. The 17th is another long par 3 at 231 yards. It does however play straight downhill and is thus much shorter than the scorecard indicates. The finishing hole is a straightforward par 5 without much danger. I’ve seen many players make birdie here, and it is reachable if you drive it in the fairway.

General Comments: One of the biggest complaints about Exeter is the pace of play, as many groups back up the course and there is no ranger. The range also only goes about 175 yards with a busy road and no net behind to catch drives. I wonder how many cars have been hit over the years. The workers in the proshop are usually very friendly.

Verdict: While conditioning and pace of play leave a lot to be desired, Exeter is a very fun play and in my opinion the best public Cornish course in the state just based on pure hole design.

 

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