Steve Pike Anywhere: Royal New Kent Golf Club

Royal New Kent Golf Club, designed by world renowned golf course architect Mike Strantz, is a one-of-a-kind Irish Links Style Golf course, built on the mainland of the United States & it was named to Golf Digest’s “100 Greatest Courses” list.

PROVIDENCE FORGE, Va. – Golfers at Royal New Kent Golf Club will be treated to a new and entirely enhanced playing experience here on this Mike Strantz design.

Located midway between Richmond, Va., and Williamsburg, along the gateway to Coastal Virginia and the Outer Banks, Royal New Kent was widely hailed as a masterpiece when architect Mike Strantz’s design debuted in 1997.

Consistently rated as one of the Mid-Atlantic region’s finest layouts, Royal New Kent is a Virginia original sprinkled with Irish seasoning. Strantz paid tribute to the fabled seaside links of the Emerald Isle, with an emphasis on the character and feel of two of the architect’s favorites — Ireland’s Royal County Down and Ballybunion.

But during the past decade, Royal New Kent began to lose its luster.

In mid-2018, Wingfield Golf Management Services purchased Royal New Kent and began performing a total overhaul on the entire golf complex, including an improved clubhouse, rebuilding greens and bunkers, updating the irrigation system for better coverage and turf conditions and repairing almost 200 inlets for better course drainage.

Royal New Kent Golf Club offers 7,4440 yards of windswept, rugged terrain with a tough 76.8/154 course and slope rating and the course has been called “the truest representation of an Irish links in America” reminiscent of the Irish Landscape such as Royal County Down and Ballybunion.

“At Royal New Kent Golf Club we are celebrating the dawn of a new day,” said new General Manager and Director of Golf Chip Sullivan.

Royal New Kent’s green complexes have been converted from bent grass to the more heat-tolerant Champion Bermuda. In addition, Wingfield Golf trucked in 2,300 tons of new sand to reconstruct the Royal New Kent bunkers, making the golf course more playable and easier to maintain. The upgrades to the irrigation system include a new pump station, and all 120 inlets were rebuilt for better drainage.

Royal New Kent’s renovation reinvigorates the legacy of one of golf course architecture’s most legendary figures. Strantz was a visionary golf course designer whose solo career consisted of just seven widely heralded original designs before his death from cancer at the age of 50.

“We are pleased and honored to play a part in preserving Mike Strantz’s legacy for golfers to enjoy for many years to come,” said Sullivan.

With Royal New Kent, Wingfield Golf now owns a pair of outstanding public access courses located within a short drive of one another. The other is The Club at Viniterra, a Rees Jones design that opened in late 2009.

Built upon nearly 1,200 acres of rolling, rugged terrain, Viniterra’s masterful routing incorporates many of the diverse, natural features of the site including frequent and dramatic elevation changes, various wetland areas and portions of mature, deciduous forest. A new golf house is currently being constructed at Viniterra.

“Invicta” tees means “unconquered” from the moto from Kent, England & the club tag line is “Golf Ireland in Virginia.”

Wingfield Golf owns eight golf courses in Florida, Mississippi and Virginia, including the South Riding and Pleasant Valley golf clubs in Northern Virginia.

“This area is easily accessible from most of the East Coast,” said Wingfield Golf Chairman Barton Tuck. “We believe there will be both local membership appeal and a lot of packaging business for golfers coming off the interstate. We’re very excited about what the future holds for premier, public-access golf in the area.”

Steve “Spike” Pike is a lifelong journalist whose career includes covering Major League Baseball, the NFL and college basketball. For the past 26 years, Spike has been one of the more respected voices in the golf and travel industries, working for such publications as Golfweek, Golf World and Golf Digest for The New York Times Magazine Group. In 1998, Spike helped launch the web site for the PGA of America. As a freelance travel and golf writer, Spike’s travels have taken him around the world. He has played golf from Pebble Beach to St. Andrews, walked the Great Wall of China, climbed an active volcano in the Canary Islands, been on safari in South Africa and dived with sharks off Guadalupe, Baja California. He lives in Delray Beach, Fla, and can be reached at

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