Review: Pinecrest Golf Club

Course Name: Pinecrest Golf Club

Designer: Beckman Weremay (2002)

Location: Carolina, Rhode Island

History: Described as “South County Rhode Island’s Best Kept Secret”, Pinecrest opened in 2002 and is one of the top public 9 hole courses in the state.

Conditions: 7/10, With fast greens, lush rough, and rolling fairways, the conditioning at Pinecrest is one of its best assets. My only complaint would be that some of the bunkers are in terrible shape or under repair.

Value: 6/10, $18 for twilight and $22 on the weekends, Pinecrest offers pretty solid value. Carts are extra, but Pinecrest is not an overly difficult walk.

Scorecard:

Tee                     Par         Yardage         Rating          Slope

Blue                   35            2891              34.3                130

White                35            2611              33.1                123

Red                    35            2309              35.0                122

Best Score: 40 (Blue Tees), 6/14/2013 with Ryan S.

Hole Descriptions: Don’t be fooled by Pinecrest’s short length; there are some very challenging holes out there, and even the short holes are made difficult due to elevation changes, dense pine trees, and undulating greens.

At 320 yards, the short opener is a very fair uphill par 4. Trees line the right side of this fairway while the left side slopes steeply down a hill. The most difficult part of this hole is the approach due to three surrounding greenside bunkers and a severe back-to-front slope.

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The short opening 1st at Pinecrest

The 2nd hole is one of the best holes on the course and certainly one of the most difficult. At 385 yards, this hole is a sharp dogleg right and plays quite a bit downhill. Dense trees line both sides of the fairway and misses off the tee will inevitably lead to bogeys or worse. The 2nd green is very tiny and guarded by a pond on the left. Any misses long of this green will make getting up and down to a back pin impossible due to the back-to-front slope. The 3rd hole is another fantastic design. At 348 yards, this hole plays straight uphill and is lined by OB left and thick trees on the right. Beware of the false front on this tiny green.

IMG_3755
The uphill 3rd from the Blue Tees

At 540 yards, the 4th hole is the only par 5 on the course. This dogleg left is a brute with a narrow fairway surrounded by dense forest on both sides. The fairway narrows even more on as you get near the green, making approach shots very difficult. If there was one critique I have of Pinecrest, it would be that the par 3’s are fairly bland. With the beautiful topography, it’s a shame there isn’t a forced carry long par 3. The 5th hole is the first par 3, playing only 120 yards to a difficult green.

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The short par 3 5th

The 6th hole is the number 1 handicap hole as a 382 yard dogleg right. While I’m not sure this is the most difficult hole on the course, it is still a challenge as trees line both sides of the fairway and the approach shot plays uphill. The 7th hole is another one of my favorites at Pinecrest. At 337 yards, this straightaway par 4 plays straight downhill and is framed by tall trees on both sides. It’s really just a beautiful hole and certainly a good scoring opportunity if your drive finds the fairway.

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The picturesque par 4 7th

The 145 yard 8th hole is the second bland par 3. This hole plays uphill and features a tiny sloping green. The 314 yard finishing hole is sort of a letdown after so many strong par 4’s. Straightaway, this hole is narrow but any drives that find the fairway will leave only a wedge in.

Best Par 3: 8th Hole, 145 yards, 8th handicap. As I mentioned above, the par threes at Pinecrest feel like afterthoughts with so many good par fours and fives. The 8th hole is the longer of the two par threes and plays difficult with a tiny, shallow green.

Best Par 4: 2nd Hole, 385 yards, 3rd handicap. This picturesque dogleg right par 4 plays downhill from an elevated teebox to a wide fairway framed by tall trees on both sides. The dogleg occurs about 260 yards from the tee, and the approach is fairly challenging with a creek short, pond left, and bunker behind this heavily undulating green.

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The par 4 2nd from the tee

Best Par 5: 4th Hole, 540 yards, 2nd handicap. The only par 5 on this relatively short course is a behemoth dogleg left lined tightly by trees on both sides. This firm, sloping fairway narrows as the hole proceeds, making accuracy on the layup a must. Like most greens at Pinecrest, this one slopes hard back-to-front.

General Comments: I didn’t know Carolina, Rhode Island was a thing but it’s fitting that this course is located there, as its tall pine trees resemble courses in the Carolinas. On a related note, Pinecrest is located on Pinehurst Drive and I was only a bit disappointed when I didn’t drive up to Donald Ross’s masterpiece…There’s no driving range at Pinecrest but there’s a tiny, well-kept practice green to warm up on. Pace of play has always been good at Pinecrest, and it very well might be South County RI’s Best Kept Secret.

Verdict: Fun, challenging, and always in great condition, Pinecrest is easily one of my favorite 9-hole courses in the state and one that I highly recommend if you only have time for a quick nine.

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