Review: Foster Country Club

Course Name: Foster Country Club

Designer: Geoffrey Cornish (1959)

Location: Foster, Rhode Island

History: N/A

Conditions: 7/10, Some of the teeboxes were less than ideal, but this course was in very good shape when I played. The greens ran smoothly and quickly and the fairways were well-manicured.

Value: 7/10, Although playing with a cart (almost required for the back 9) can get as expensive as $55 on the weekends, there are fantastic deals for playing after 12 P.M. ($22 walking) or playing as a junior ($14).

Scorecard:

Tee                     Par         Yardage         Rating          Slope

Blue                   72           6221               70.8              116

White                72           5754               68.8              113

Green                72           5130               69.3              115

Best Score: 81 (Blue Tees), 8/13/2013 with Ben S. and two people we met at course

Front 9 Best: 39 (Blue Tees), 8/13/2013 with Ben S.

Back 9 Best: 42 (Blue Tees), 8/13/2013 with Ben S. and two people we met at course

Hole Descriptions: Located deep in the country on the Rhode Island-Connecticut border, Foster Country Club features some very unique hole designs. The blind opening hole plays 364 yards uphill. Trees and a road line the left side, but there is no real danger outside of going left. The 2nd hole is a solid 371 yard dogleg left. Trees lined both sides of this tight fairway and OB looms on the left here too. The 3rd hole is a monstrous uphill 237 yard par 3. Most players will have to hit driver or 3-wood here, making par an exceptional score. There is no danger short of this green, and laying up isn’t a bad option for those trying to make bogey. Another long hole, the par 5 4th stretches 583 yards from the Blue Tees. A creek runs through this fairway at about 270 yards, forcing longer hitters to think twice about driver. This hole is also notable for a tiny historic cemetery on the right side of the fairway. At only 316 yards, the drivable 5th hole features a creek running through the fairway at 200 yards, forcing players to make a choice here off the tee.

The most difficult hole on the course, the 6th plays uphill at 396 yards. A creek runs across this fairway at 250 yards – a fact I unaware of when I played. To make matters more difficult, this green complex is quite narrow and very undulating. Another birdie chance follows this challenge as the 7th is a flat 129 yard par 3. A deep, odd-shaped bunker right before this green is the only danger. The 8th hole is a funky par 5 that offers a glimpse of what’s to come on the back 9. This hole turns sharp left at about 280 yards, leaving players with a long narrow shot into this green. Arguably their signature hole, the 9th plays only 325 yards but once again features a creek running through the fairway at 265 yards. I recommend all players lay up short of this creek and enjoy the nice walk through the covered bridge on the way to your birdie putt.

At 396 yards, the 10th is a truly strong par 4. Your drive must cross a tiny pond and also contend with trees and a road on the right. This kidney-shaped green features a huge grass bunker just long. A short 310 yard par 4, the straightaway 11th is notable for another unique green surface that leaves many players scratching their heads after a three-putt. After 11, you enter the woods and play some of the most rugged holes in the state. The 12th hole is a very strange par 5 that turns so sharply left that the green is only about 360 yards from the teebox. This downhill drive must not exceed 200 yards or you will overshoot the fairway. At this point, you will have to avoid a creek running across this tight fairway about 50 yards short of this green. Another very odd design, the par 4 13th is another dogleg left that requires a drive of less than 200 yards. Your approach will then have to cross a waste area to an elevated green that slopes intensely back-to-front.

The par 5 14th continues the strange hole barrage. This hole features a very narrow drive and sharp dogleg left at about 320 yards. Drives that go 275 yards will only be about 125 yards away from this green but may be blocked out by the dogleg. The fourth straight dogleg left, the 15th is a short downhill par 4 whose fairway turns sharp left at about 225 yards. Your approach shot must then travel uphill to a heavily sloped green. After these insane holes, you now cross back over the road to three finishing holes that remind you more of the front 9. At only 315 yards, the straightaway par 4 16th is notable for its tiny hard to hit green. As if the first 7 holes of the back side weren’t odd enough, Foster culminates with two long par 3’s that are good holes on their own right but strange together as 17 and 18. A beautiful shrubbery engraved with “FCC” lies between the 17th green and 18th tee.

Best Par 3: 18th hole, 200 yards, 14th handicap. After climbing onto a teebox adorned with “FCC” bushes, you face a long, downhill finishing hole. This narrow, elongated green is surrounded by thick rough.

Best Par 4: 10th hole, 396 yards, 4th handicap. With a teebox neighboring the clubhouse and practice green, there will undoubtedly be eyes on you when you tee off here. This strong par 4 requires a short carry over water to a narrow fairway guarded by trees and a road on the right. Although there are no bunkers on this hole, this shallow green slopes hard back-to-front and features a devilish grass bunker long.

Best Par 5: 8th hole, 535 yards, 5th handicap. The most challenging par 5 in my opinion, this dogleg left takes a 90 degree turn about 280 yards from the tee. From here, the hole runs uphill to a tiny green protected by a bunker on the left.

General Comments: While there is no driving range at Foster, the putting green was large and rolled similarly to the course. We played on a day that was supposed to rain, so pace of play was fantastic, but apparently this course usually gets backed up. I will also note that the workers in the Proshop have been incredibly friendly.

Verdict: This Cornish course certainly features some quirky designs but I’d be lying if I said these holes weren’t fun. If you want an affordable, well-conditioned, rural golfing experience in Rhode Island, Foster CC is your place.

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