Review: West Warwick Country Club

Course Name: West Warwick Country Club

Designer: McGregor (1941 or 1925 depending on source)

Location: West Warwick, Rhode Island

History: Designed in 1925 or 1941 by a man named McGregor, West Warwick was originally private, but recently became semi-private.

Conditions: 7/10, Conditions at West Warwick are usually very good. The rough is thick and the fast, smooth greens clearly stand out.

Value: 5/10, I can’t comment on membership fees, but West Warwick’s price is fairly steep for public players. It will cost you $25 to walk 9 and up to $56 to take a cart for 18.

Scorecard:

Tee                     Par         Yardage         Rating          Slope

White/Blue       35           3001               34.2               131

Red                    36           2733               35.8               126

Best Score: 42 (Blue/White Tees), 7/17/2014 with Ryan S.

Hole Descriptions: Don’t let the short length of 3001 yards fool you; West Warwick is a challenging course due to its elevation changes and tight fairways; I have subsequently had very little success playing here.

Objectively, the opening hole is very difficult at 419 yards. This number 1 handicapped hole features OB to the left in the form of a driving range and dense forest to the right. This fairway slopes considerably, giving you some awkward lies. Without a doubt the hardest part of this hole, however, is the approach shot. The elevated green here is quite shallow and guarded by bunkers in front and behind. Hitting this green requires great distance control, even if you only have a wedge in hand. I’m not sure if the 338 yard 2nd hole is a great design, but it’s easily one of the most memorable and fun holes on the course. This hole runs straight downhill with trees lining both sides of a tight fairway. The fairway runs out at about 225 yards to give way to a pond. Longer hitters can carry this pond (270 yards), but I’ve always played it safe and only need to hit about a 6 iron due to the downhill. After the pond, this hole turns left and features a large green that runs hard right-to-left. The 140 yard 3rd hole is a lot more difficult than its distance implies. This hole runs straight uphill and features a very tiny back-to-front sloped green. A bunker guards the front of this green and is actually an easier up-and-down than over or left/right of this green due to the slope. The 4th hole is objectively one of the more difficult holes at West Warwick at 375 yards uphill, but somehow I’ve birdied this hole both times I’ve played the course. The teeshot on 4 is straight uphill and completely blind, although the landing area is quite generous. The approach shot to this narrow green is also runs uphill and three bunkers flank the sides of this green.

At 365 yards, the par 4 5th is a tight, tree-lined hole. The drive is definitely the hardest aspect here, as the green is fairly large and flat. The 360 yard 6th runs parallel to the 5th and is also quite narrow. Trees run the entire length of the hole and finding this fairway is a necessity if you want to make par. This green is extremely narrow and features two tiers, making putting quite a challenge. The 333 yard 7th is arguably the easiest hole on the course. This slight dogleg left is fairly open and only made slightly difficult by the fact that this green is guarded on all sides by bunkers. Like the 6th, this green features two tiers and can have some nightmarish pins. Unlike the 3rd, the 8th is a great par 3 at 162 yards. The backdrop of trees behind this hole frames this green gorgeously and it is well-designed as well. You must carry your shot to this green to avoid a small pond. There is a tiny, deep bunker just to the right of this green that leaves a very difficult up-and-down. At 509 yards, the finishing hole is a dogleg left par 5. I know someone who has double-eagled this hole, but I’ve had very little luck on it. A huge tree in the middle of the fairway interferes with drives and needs to be taken down. After this tree, the hole essentially runs straightaway for 300 yards with trees on either side of the fairway. This box-shaped green is guarded by bunkers to the left and in front and also slopes back-to-front.

Best Par 3: 8th Hole, 162 yards, 17th handicap. By far my favorite hole at West Warwick, this strong par 3 is as picturesque as it is well-designed. The green is large and receptive, but any miss will lead to a big number, as multiple hazards surround it.

Best Par 4: 1st Hole, 419 yards, 1st handicap. A classically designed long par 4, this intimidating opener plays downhill from an elevated teebox to a sloping fairway. This green is exceedingly difficult to hit, especially considering many players need long iron or more to reach it.

Best Par 5: 9th Hole, 509 yards, 7th handicap. The only par 5 at West Warwick, I’m actually not the biggest fan of this dogleg left hole for one reason: a large tree in the middle of the fairway about 200 yards from the tee. There’s no reason for this tree to be here, and good drives are sometimes punished by it.

General Comments: While I have never used the range here, the putting green is fast and the chipping green is over 30 yards long! Unfortunately, pace of play has been very poor both times I’ve played here.

Verdict: Relatively underrated, West Warwick features private course conditions and a challenging 9-hole set-up. It’s on par with nearby Midville and is definitely a course to try if you’re looking to play somewhere new.

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