Review: Pawtucket Country Club

Course Name: Pawtucket Country Club

Designer: Club Members (1902), Willie Park Jr. (Redesign, 1923)

Location: Pawtucket, Rhode Island

History: Founded by five prominent businessmen in 1902, Pawtucket Country Club has stood the test of time even when the surrounding industrial city of Pawtucket hasn’t. Famed architect Willie Park Jr. completed the interstate design (Seekonk, Mass. too) in 1923.

Conditions: 7/10, Pawtucket Country Club was well-conditioned with especially superb greens. There were some bare spots here and there but overall it was nicely maintained.

Value: N/A, this is a private course, although declining membership makes it one of the best values as far as private courses go. I believe GolfNow.com also has begun to sell rounds at Pawtucket to the public.

Scorecard:

Tee                           Par         Yardage         Rating          Slope

Blue                         69           6500               70.9              123

White                      69          6247                69.8              121

Gold                        69           6055                68.9              118

Red                          73           5850                73.4              122

Best Score: 83 (Blue Tees), 7/28/2016 with Dylan

Front 9 Best: 43 (Blue Tees), 7/28/2016 with Dylan

Back 9 Best: 40 (Blue Tees), 7/28/2016 with Dylan

Hole Highlights: When I think of Pawtucket Country Club, the first thing that comes to mind is the superb hole design. Willie Park Jr.’s (Maidstone, Olympia Fields) deft skills are on full display here, with a collection of very strong par 4’s. The 1st hole at Pawtucket is just fantastic and a sign of what’s to come. At 389 yards, this blind dogleg left features an intimidating teeshot that requires a carry over the putting green and a pond. Water and trees line the far left, while a strategically placed bunker lines the left side of the fairway. Trees line the right side, but drives can carry these trees and leave a decent shot into the green. The 2nd hole offers another claustrophobic teeshot. At 416 yards, this long par 4 features OB on the left while a line of trees guards the right. This fairway swoons a fair amount, and hitting this well-protected green can be pretty hard given some of the awkward lies you’ll get. Par is a very good score on 2. The third hole plays only 379 yards, but was was definitely one of the most intimidating teeshots on the course. The first time you play this hole, you’ll have no idea what to do as this hole goes straight uphill, leaving you unable to see anything. OB lines the left side, while tall trees line the right. Once you reach the fairway, this hole is pretty easy. The 4th hole was easily one of my favorite designs on the course. At 380 yards, this hole runs parallel to the 3rd and is straight downhill. Hitting this tight fairway is a challenge but good drives will leave only a pitch to this back-to-front sloping green.

The first non par-4 comes in the form of a great long par 3. While the different teeboxes don’t offer much change in distance, they offer a great deal of change in elevation, with the lowest teebox playing quite uphill. Bunkers flank the sides of this green and lead to difficult up-and-downs. The 6th hole is another long par 4 playing 414 yards. This beautiful hole is straightforward with tall trees on both sides. The 7th hole is easily one of my favorite par 3’s in the state. At 173 yards, this par 3 features an elevated narrow long green surrounded by a moat of bunkers. The only par 5 on the course, the 8th hole plays 530 yards and slightly uphill. Trees line both sides of the fairway, but the drive is fairly open. At 449 yards, the par 4 9th is the number 1 handicap hole on the course. This slight dogleg right is fairly open, but its length and very difficult green make par a very fine score here.

After a long, arduous walk, the 10th hole is one of the finest designs on the course. At 435 yards, this is another brutal long par 4 that plays a bit uphill. This fairway is quite undulating and is extremely aesthetically pleasing from the teebox. OB lines the right side here and actually comes in play frequently for longer players. This green is well-guarded on both sides by bunkers but you’re almost thankful for the left bunker, which protects balls from tumbling all the way down a steep slope. While the 11th hole is designed to be a drivable par 4, I challenge that notion and easily think its the weakest hole on the course. This green is tiny with a large bunker in front of it, so I highly recommend taking iron off this tee to have a wedge in. At 451 yards, the par 4 12th is the number 2 handicap hole. A slight dogleg right, this hole features OB on the right and trees that block out your approach shot on the left. This green features two tiers and putting from one to the other is miserable. At 186 yards, the 13th is another strong par 3 with a pretty difficult sloping green. The par 4 14th plays uphill at 375 yards with OB on the right on a line of trees on the left. Like the 3rd, this hole features a blind teeshot and is also notable for its severe back-to-front sloping green.

After another solid par 3, the 16th hole is almost identical to the 6th. This long straightforward par 4 plays 432 yards with tall trees lining both sides of the fairway. When I say tall trees, I mean REALLY tall. A lot of these trees haven’t been touched in over a century, and trying to go over them is futile in many cases. At 434 yards, the 17th is another brutal long par 4 that is fairly open off the tee. This green is elevated, and your approach shot must carry the false front or your ball will roll back about 50 yards. This green is also very difficult, with many undulations. After plenty of long, difficult par 4’s, the 18th is a short par 4 at 379 yards. In addition to being a great scoring opportunity, this is also a great hole. The green is surrounded on all sides by tiny bunkers and the clubhouse and patio are directly behind this green. During tournaments, this patio becomes an amphitheater.

General Comments: Like many old courses, the practice facilities at Pawtucket are rudimentary at best. There is a putting green by the clubhouse, and a net to hit balls into. Pace of play is always great and the Proshop workers were extremely friendly.

Verdict: In an area saturated with fine private golf courses, Pawtucket is quite underrated in my opinion. This is a fun course with some fantastic designs courtesy of Willie Park Jr. I highly recommend playing this course given the chance.

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