Review: Richmond Country Club

Course Name: Richmond Country Club

Designer: Geoffrey Cornish/Brian Silva/Mark Mungeam (1992)

Location: Richmond, Rhode Island

History: Built in 1992 by the trio of Cornish, Silva, and Mungeam Richmond CC is owned by the Hendricks Family (also owners of Exeter and Meadow Brook).

Conditions: 6/10, The times I’ve played the fairways and rough have been in good shape, but the greens tended to be bumpy and slow and several were even under construction or completely burned out.

Value: 7/10, Richmond is well off the beaten track, but the prices here are very good. At peak hours, you can play for about $50, but walking after 3 P.M. in the summer is only $22.

Scorecard:

Tee                           Par         Yardage         Rating          Slope

Blue                         71           6817               72.1              121

White                      71           6262               69.5              116

Red                          71           4925               70.4              113

Best Score: 81 (White Tees), 7/3/2013 with Sam P., and Evan S.

Front 9 Best: 43 (White Tees), 7/3/2013 with Sam P., and Evan S.

Back 9 Best: 38 (White Tees), 7/3/2013 with Sam P., and Evan S.

Hole Descriptions: Given that there is over a 600 yard difference between the Blue and White tees, I feel it’s imperative to emphasize that I have only played from the Whites here and will be reviewing the course from these yardages. Most of the holes at Richmond are very tight and lined by tall pine trees; good long iron players will routinely be hitting irons off the tee to guarantee hitting the fairway. The 1st hole is no exception; this 381 yard dogleg left requires a draw to avoid running through the fairway. This green is well-protected with deep bunkers on both sides and woods behind the hole. The 2nd hole is another par 4 considerably shorter from the White Tees. At 388 yards, this narrow hole plays straightaway with bunkers on the right side of the fairway about 200 yards out. The 3rd hole is a monstrous par 3 that plays 230 yards. While the length here requires a wood for most players, there are relatively few hazards and the green is large and receptive. The following par 5 4th is another difficult hole that plays a tight 557 yards. Accuracy is the key to this dogleg right, as the fairway twists and turns and even features a tree right in the middle of the fairway before this green.

The 5th hole at Richmond is the shortest par 3 at 155 yards. This hole is fairly straightforward, but is a well-designed hole that features duel bunkers in front of this green complex. In my opinion, the 6th hole at Richmond is far and away the best hole on the front 9 and it’s not even close. At 420 yards, this is a strong dogleg left with trees occluding your view of the green from the tee. A strong drive here will leave you a short iron into a plateaued green with a bunker guarding the left side. The finishing three holes on the front side offer great chances at birdie. The 7th hole is a straightaway 475 yard par 5 with no bunkers or hazards until you get near the green. The 8th and 9th holes are very short, playing at 310 yards and 315 yards. The 8th is straightforward and definitely drivable for the longer hitters. The main hazards here are bunkers jutting out at different points along the fairway that affect you whether you’re hitting 6 iron or driver. The 9th hole is a fairly goofy dogleg left. A tree blocks the right side of the fairway while a large set of bunkers block the left side and require a carry of 260 to carry. A conservative drive here is a 200 yard shot just left of the tree but short of the bunkers. That is bad target golf right there ladies and gentlemen.

While the back 9 is the superior side, the opening 10th hole is also somewhat goofy as a 378 yard dogleg left. This hole is tight to begin with but a tree on the right side of the fairway makes this the second hole in a row you’re playing target golf. At 460 yards, the par 5 11th is a memorable hole that can yield some great scores and also some abominations. This hole features a sharp dogleg at about 215 yards. You must carry your drive over a ravine and bunkers to get to the fairway, but not so far to run through the fairway into thick pines. Longer hitters can attempt to carry driver over the left trees, but this play brings some big scores into consideration. Another thing to keep in mind on 11 is that the right side of this green is somewhat hidden by trees that overhang it. The 12th is the first of three par 3’s on the back 9. This hole is fairly narrow for a par 3 and plays a solid 181 yards to a sloping green. The 13th hole is one of the more difficult holes on the course due to its length (410 yards) and relative narrowness. If your drive finds the fairway here, though, it is not too difficult of a hole.

The 14th hole reminds me a lot of the fantastic 6th hole and is not surprisingly one of my favorite holes on the course. At 399 yards, this too is a strong dogleg left that requires an accurate drive over a bunker on the left side of the fairway. To me, the 15th is the strongest of the five par 3’s at Richmond. It plays 198 yards from the Whites but considerably longer and over the driveway from the Blues. This large green is always hard for me to hit, and a deep bunker short right is a popular destination for many players. At 520 yards, the 16th is another strategic par 5 that bends to the right. The drive here tempts you to cut some corner as a large bunker guards the left side of the fairway. The approach to this green is quite uphill and one of the few elevation changes you need to account for at Richmond. After a quaint little 154 yard par 3, the finishing hole at Richmond is another memorable one. While only 331 yards, this hole (pictured below) features one of the only water hazards on the course about 250 yards from the tee. Length certainly takes a backseat to accuracy on this hole, as good drives will leave a wedge shot over the pond to a large green.

Best Par 3: 15th hole, 198 yards, 8th handicap. The best of five par threes at Richmond, this is also the most challenging at just under 200 yards from the White tees. From the Blues, this hole plays over a driveway at a beastly 249 yards. Laying up short of this green is okay, but danger looms on either side with a steep embankment on the left and a deep bunker on the right.

Best Par 4: 14th hole, 399 yards, 6th handicap. A strong dogleg left, this lengthy hole is tight off the tee but gives players the option to cut the corner. A bunker about 220 yards on the corner is all you need to clear to give yourself a wedge in. This green is guarded by a bunker short right.

Best Par 5: 16th hole, 520 yards, 4th handicap. One of several sharp dogleg par fives, this one is my favorite because it’s challenging but also fair. From an elevated teebox, you need to carry your drive over a valley to a fairly generous fairway. This hole turns sharp right and uphill at about 265 yards, so driver shouldn’t be too much club. This elevated, narrow green is intimidating as it slopes hard back-to-front in true Cornish fashion.

General Comments: Compared to similar courses, pace of play has always been average to above average at Richmond. The range here and practice green are also pretty standard. While there are only three sets of tees here, they vary considerably and will really impact the way the course is played. Not surprisingly, there were several incidents like the one pictured below when I played here.

Verdict: Enjoyable but a tad bit goofy, Richmond truly feels like a course taken from the Carolinas with tall pines lining the fairways. It is in decent shape, affordable, and should be in any Rhode Islander’s public course rotation.

IMG_0756.jpg
Guess/Hope there was a big difference between the Mens and Ladies Tees
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