Review: Triggs Memorial Golf Course

Course Name: Triggs Memorial Golf Course

Designer: Donald Ross (1932)

Location: Providence, Rhode Island

History: As the best public Donald Ross design in Rhode Island, Triggs is regarded as one of the finest public courses in New England and is ranked #2 in the state by both Golf.com and Golfweek in 2016. Triggs hosts the Providence Open annually and at one time this tournament attracted top professionals; in 1941, Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead played.

Conditions: 7/10, For the amount of play Triggs gets, I am always pleasantly surprised by the conditioning. It is certainly one of the best kept public courses in Rhode Island.

Value: 7/10, Triggs is one of the better values in the state and will cost you $42 at peak hours. Twilight rates in the summer are $18 after 5:00 P.M. and this is a great deal.

Scorecard:

Tee                           Par         Yardage         Rating          Slope

Blue                         72           6522               71.8               131

White                      72          6302               70.6              127

Red                          72           5320               70.7              122

Best Score: 80 (White Tees), 9/1/2011 with Dad and 2 Others

Front 9 Best: 38 (White Tees), 9/1/2011 with Dad and 2 Others

Back 9 Best: 42 (White Tees), 9/1/2011 with Dad and 2 Others

Hole Highlights: In typical Ross fashion, you can expect some difficult par 4’s at Triggs. The first hole is a 402 yard straightaway par 4 with OB on the left and bunkers that straddle the fairway on both sides about 210 yards out. This green is quite large, but a bunker to the left and fescue on the right makes it difficult to get up and down. There is a bunker about 60 yards from the green on the right side that serves as a visual illusion the first time you play the course. The 2nd hole is a long 425 yarder that slides to the left the entire length of the hole. The drive is fairly open but balls too far left might be blocked out from the green by trees. There’s a series of bunkers on the right side of this fairway near the green that makes laying up difficult. The number 1 handicap 3rd hole plays an intimidating 457 yards from the back tees. This tee shot is more or less blind with OB far left and trees and a mound on the right. The approach to this green narrows and plays considerably downhill, making club selection difficult. The 4th hole is the first par 3 and a difficult one at 196 yards. This hole plays uphill and bunkers short of the green and a false front make this hole visually confusing. To avoid these bunkers and account for the uphill, local players will take at least one extra club.

The 5th hole is the shortest par 4 on the front side at 327 yards. This hole is a slight dogleg right with a blind teeshot. The difficulty with this hole is that the green is elevated and small with bunkers surrounding it on three sides. The only par 5 on the front, the 6th is reachable in two at 502 yards. This elbow shaped dogleg right begins to turn about 250 yards from the tee with a bunker conveniently placed at the joint of the elbow. About 100 yards from the green, this hole slopes severely downhill and this tiny green is guarded by hazards behind and to the left. At 195 yards, the 7th plays similarly to the 4th but plays much more uphill. This great par 3 features two bunkers to the left and right of this green and the green itself slopes from back to front. The 8th hole is another scoring chance at 341 yards. Straightaway, this hole features a pond and bunker left of this fairway that requires 200 yards to carry. Like the short 5th, this green is tiny and well-protected by bunkers. The front side finishes with a strong straightaway 402 yard par 4 lined by trees on both sides.

The first of three par 5’s on the back, the 10th hole plays straightaway at 513 yards. Both sides of the fairway are lined by trees and the right side drops off hard, making an accurate drive imperative to a good score on this hole. The layup on this hole is fairly difficult, as there is a bunker right in the middle of the fairway about 75 yards from the green. Those going for this relatively tiny green will need to contend with two bunkers short right. The 11th hole is a straightforward par 4 that plays only 350 yards. Both sides are lined with trees and your drive must carry 180 yards to reach the fairway and avoid a creek that bisects this hole. Like many other holes on this course, there are bunkers on both sides of the front of this green. The 12th is a really solid par 3 at 200 yards. Unlike the first two par 3’s, this one plays severely downhill with a creek running right before the green. The 13th is an interesting short par 5 at 462 yards. Despite it’s length, this hole is kind of funky and requires some local knowledge to do well on. There is a pond right in front of the teebox that you have to carry to reach the fairway. A large bunker about 200 yards out collects plenty of balls on the left side of the fairway. From here, the hole snakes for about 245 yards and culminates in an elevated green.

The collection of par 3’s at Triggs is top notch and perhaps my favorite is the 158 yard downhill 14th. Five bunkers surround this oval green and the extreme downhill nature makes club selection again very important. My track record on the 508 yard par 5 15th is pretty poor but it’s not actually that challenging of a hole. The drive is undeniably claustrophobic as trees line the entire right hand side and OB/a high school track are behind these trees. The drive is also uphill and anything too far left is no good on this dogleg right. The hole narrows as you get closer to the green and 3 bunkers surround this tiny back to front green. At 331 yards, the par 4 16th is a fun little risk/reward hole. From the teebox you are probably only about 290 yards from the green due to a big dogleg left. Big hitters that hit the ball high can get over the trees but the ideal play for average players is a straight drive of about 240 yards leaving a wedge in. Don’t think too much about the drive here; the main priority is to avoid the pond directly in front of this teebox that local kids fish in. The 17th and 18th are strong finishing holes at 412 and 410 yards respectably. Both are slight dogleg lefts that are fairly open. The pond from the 8th hole comes in play on the right side of 17 just before the green.

General Comments: Like most other old, urban courses, the range at Triggs is short and you can only hit about 200 yards. With that being said, the chipping/putting green is very well-kept and large. The two worst things about Triggs in my opinion are the pace of play and rude rangers. A five hour round isn’t unheard of here, and some of the rangers and starters I’ve encountered power trip hard.

Verdict: While not as good as Ross’s nearby private courses, Triggs is easily the best public course in the Providence area. Its solid conditioning, classic design, and affordability make it well worth a play.

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