by ANTHONY PIOPPI
KINGSTON, Rhode Island – Rhode Island’s drought when it comes to new golf courses is over.
South Shore Golf Club, a 9-hole design with a unique characteristic, opened in mid-October.
A par-35 layout, it’s the first new build the Ocean State has seen in over 10 years. There are five sets of tees tipping out at 3,047 yards and working down to 2,058 yards. In a twist unique to Rhode Island golf courses and a rarity across the rest of the country, the layout can also be played as a par-27 with every hole having a par-3 tee.
The course is available to residents of South Shore Village, a 55-and-over community that will have 303 homes when completed. There are 85 lots remaining, all with golf course frontage. The final phase of construction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2024.
Four miles from acclaimed Rhode Island beaches, the layout meanders through a coastal forest never coming close enough to homes for the layout to feel tight or claustrophobic.
Notable holes include the par-3 seventh with its wild two-tiered green, the beefy par-4 fourth with its angled, elevated putting surface guarded by multiple bunkers as well as the par-5 sixth with its double dogleg fairway and natural rock outcroppings.
There is also one of the finest practice facilities in the area with a driving range that has a 30,000-square-foot grass teeing area along with a chipping green, practice bunker and putting green.
The course was routed by course architect Ron Cutlip and built by Talent Golf Inc. It is managed by Doug Long of Momentum Golf.
Long calls it the addition of the par-3 tees a “flex design concept where you can essentially play multiple golf courses on the same property.”
The result is golfers will never have the feeling of playing the same layout over and over.
“Despite being just over 3,000 yards from the back tees, we have created the flexibility. The design gives you the opportunity to use every club in your bag whether just for fun, practice, or as part of a match,” Long said. “Different angles of play and greens that average just under 7,000-square-feet allow for so many different hole locations the golfer are assured virtually a new course every time they play.”
Those residents who have experienced South Shore for the first time have been effusive in their praise, according to Long.
“We’ve had players comment with words like, ‘fabulous,’ ‘wonderful,’ ’outstanding,’” he said. “The course was crafted for playability and aesthetics. Every shot gives you something to think about.”
Home prices range from $748,400 to $1,245,865. The four styles vary in size from 1,640 square feet to 2,028 square feet. All come with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, two-car garage, oversized deck, a full basement with interior and exterior access as well as maintenance-free landscaping. The largest model, the Nantucket, has a three-car garage.
Residents also have the use of nature trails that run throughout the property, a large community center with state-of-the-art workout equipment along with indoor and outdoor heated saltwater swimming pools.
(Anthony Pioppi is a Connecticut-based golf writer, historian and archeologist. He is the author of five books, The Finest Nines, North America’s Best Nine-Hole Golf Courses, released in 2018; Shoreacres, The First 100 Years: 1916-2016 (2017); To the Nines (2005, reprinted 2016); The History of The Minikahda Club Golf Course (2013); and Haunted Golf with Chris Gonsalves (2009). Pioppi hosts the Renovation Report for Turfnet.com and has written for such publications as the USGA, Golf Course Architecture (U.K.), MassGolf, New Jersey Golf and McKellar magazine. He is the Executive Director of the Seth Raynor Society. Pioppi is a member of the St. Andrews Golf Club, Scotland. He can be reached at email@example.com)