Review: Silver Spring Golf Course

Course Name: Silver Spring Golf Course

Designer: Unknown (1963)

Location: Riverside, Rhode Island

History: Once an amusement park “Vanity Fair,” this land was sold to Standard Oil in 1910. An original golf course was built on the property in 1919 for their employees. The course changed hands several times before a new course was incorporated in 1963. Since then, it has operated in a semi-private manner.

Conditions: 3/10, A lot of the course was pretty burned out with slow greens. I was particularly disappointed with the 4th teebox, which was a mat.

Value: 8/10, For $10, you can play 9 holes, and for just $250 you can become a member. These rates are very competitive.

Scorecard:

Tee                     Par         Yardage         Rating          Slope

White                67           4533                61.4              102

Best Score: 25 (White Tees), 8/16/2013 by Myself (6 holes)

Hole Descriptions: I understand that there’s not much room to work with at Silver Spring, but I still cannot appreciate the 6-hole design that can play as 18 holes. Not only does the course get backed up when you play with only 6 greens, it is also confusing and dangerous as multiple people are on the same hole at once and different teeboxes are far away from each other. With that being said, I will review only the 6 holes and not the different variations.

The opening hole is a 302 dogleg right with a blind teeshot. The trees are overgrown on the left side near the green while the right side of this tiny green is guarded by two bunkers. The 2nd hole is probably the best hole on the course as a very short par 5 at 434 yards. There are certainly par 4 variations of this hole as well. The entire left side of this hole is OB and there are multiple mounds along this fairway where the amusement park used to be. Those going for the green in two will have to contend with the OB left and two strategically placed bunkers in front of this green. The 3rd hole can best be described at a patch of dirt with a green 172 yards away. Bunkers guard the back of this green on both sides. The 4th hole is another par 3, and a short one at 120 yards. This hole plays uphill and features a mat for a teebox. The 5th hole is another very short par 5 that offers a good chance at birdie with a solid teeshot. This hole plays only 410 yards but is uphill and to the right. This green is tiny and well-guarded by two bunkers. The “finishing” hole is a 121 yard par 3 with three bunkers surrounding it and a steep embankment on the back right of the green.

Best Par 3: 6th hole, 121 yards, 5th handicap. The best of the three par 3’s, the short 6th hole is well guarded by three bunkers and a steep embankment long right of this green.

Best Par 4: 1st hole, 302 yards, 3rd handicap. The only par 4 on this 6 hole course, the opening hole features a blind teeshot and is potentially drivable for longer players. Two bunkers protect this green to the right.

Best Par 5: 2nd hole, 434 yards, 1st handicap. My favorite hole on the course, this reachable par 5 features OB to the left the entire length of the hole and an elevated green. You can still see evidence of the Vanity Fair Amusement Park on this hole.

General Comments: Although this course is semi-private, it sometimes operates via honor box when there is no worker in the clubhouse. There is no range at Silver Spring, and I can’t recall if there are any other practice facilities. On the day I played, pace of play was pretty decent and somebody even let me pass through as a single, but I cringe when I think about how backed up a 6-hole course can be when it plays 3 different ways.

Verdict: While a decent course for beginners or those on a budget, Silver Spring’s confusing at best and dangerous at worst layout renders it a course to skip.

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