Review: Harbor Lights Golf & Country Club

Course Name: Harbor Lights Golf & Country Club

Designer: Geoffrey Cornish (1967)

Location: Warwick, Rhode Island

History: Formerly known as Seaview Country Club, Harbor Lights was renovated in 2010 and is now a semi-private yachting, social, and golf club.

Conditions: 5/10, while some parts of the course are in good shape, others are swampy or barren. I would say the conditions at Harbor Lights are a bit below average compared to other public courses in the state.

Value: 4/10, $18 to walk 9 for a student and $21 for an adult to walk is not really a great discount for a course like Harbor Lights.

Scorecard:

Tee                     Par         Yardage         Rating          Slope

Blue                   36           2777               33.5               118

White                36          2488                32.8              113

Red                    36           2152                32.9              114

Best Score: 42 (Blue Tees), 6/26/2013 with Dan M.

Hole Descriptions: At just 2777 yards from the tips, you would assume that there are some tricked out holes at Harbor Lights. This assumption would be correct and can be seen on the opening hole, a 339 yard uphill par 4. A creek runs across this fairway at 220 yards, forcing many players to hit iron off the tee. At just 270 yards, the 2nd hole is another very short par 4 with a creek draining into a small pond about 150 yards out. The 3rd hole here is one of the worst in the state in my opinion. At just 248 yards, this par 4 plays essentially as a glorified long par 3. From the women’s tees, this par 4 is only 175 yards and eagles here don’t feel like eagles. The 4th hole is the hardest hole on the course as a dogleg right par 5. This tee shot is downhill and quite narrow, with houses and OB on the left side.

The 5th hole is their first par 3 as a straightforward unremarkable 143 yarder. The 6th hole is the second par 3 in a row, but this one is much more difficult at 206 yards. A creek drains into a small pond just right of this green while the end of the driving range guards the left. The par 4 7th is only 310 yards made difficult by a ridiculous large tree in the middle of the fairway. Another extremely short par 4 at 303 yards, the 8th hole is so tight it’s not even clear where you should be aiming off the tee box. A large bunker guards the front of this green and makes driving the green pretty much impossible. The finishing hole at Harbor Lights is the best designed hole on the course but is unfortunately a par 5 at just under 450 yards. Had this dogleg left been a long par 4, it would have been a great hole. As a par 5, however, players can go iron – wedge -wedge, making it a fairly weak hole.

Best Par 3: 5th hole, 143 yards, 17th handicap. Slim pickings here, but this short hole is well-protected by four bunkers at the corners of this skinny green.

Best Par 4: 1st hole, 329 yards, 7th handicap. There are some horrendous par four designs at Harbor Lights, but the opener is the best of the pack. At 329 yards, this hole runs uphill and plays longer than the scorecard indicates. A creek runs through this fairway at 220 yards forcing players to choose on their first shot of the day whether to challenge it or lay up. This green also runs hard back-to-front.

Best Par 5: 9th hole, 446 yards, 11th handicap. This is not a terrible impressive short par 5 but it’s by far the visually appealing with the green running right to the clubhouse and Bay. Three short but accurate shots should get the job done here.

General Comments: There is a tiny range, and the workers in the proshop have been nothing but friendly. This course is usually not super busy, making it a quick 9 holes.

Verdict: While in a beautiful location right on the bay, this course is one of the poorest designs in the state. Coupled with the mediocre conditions and average value, Harbor Lights is not a must-play.

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