There have been some great golf courses built in New England during the past 10 years. We aren’t going out on a limb by saying that none are better than Newport National Golf Club in Middletown, Rhode Island.
Newport National was routed wonderfully on 200 acres of a former orchard and designed by Arthur Hills and his associate Drew Rogers. The course, which has a decided Irish or Scottish links flavor to it with wide open fairways, tall fescue that grows off the short grass, lots of bunkers and greens that allow for run up shots, offers sweeping vistas of The Sakonnet Passage, the Atlantic Ocean and Narragansett Bay. When fall arrives and the trees surrounding the layout turn colors and the tall grass glistens with the slanting sunlight, Newport National is a treat for the senses.
The course, located only a few miles from the charming and chic town of Newport, features greens, tees and fairways consisting of 100 percent seaside bent grass. The wind often blows off the water, making Newport National play like a true seaside links course. The track plays 7,244 yards from the back and has a slope of 138, which tells you something about the challenge you will face here. By the way, PGA Tour star and Rhode Island native Brett Quigley holds the course record of 67. There are four other sets of tees that make the course playable for golfers of all abilities.
Every hole here is unique and memorable. It starts right away with a 550-yard par-five that sweeps to the left around a large natural area. The third hole, a 198-yard par-three, is reminiscent of early 20th century designs, with a raised green surrounded by bunkers.
The fourth hole is the best short par-four on the layout. It plays just 327 yards from the tips and big hitters can cut off more distance by taking the tee shot straight over bunkers and high grass that guard the left side of the fairway.
The eighth hole is a dogleg right, 567-yard par-five that finishes at a rectangular green that makes one think of the classic Scottish courses and their quirky shaped putting surfaces.
Number 17 is a monstrous par-four, measuring 489 yards from the back markers. A long and deep snake bunker guards the left side of the fairway, and if the wind is in your face it’s almost impossible to get home in two.
Says Matt Adams, Golf Channel commentator, contributor to Golfing Magazine and course general manager, “I like to say that the land Newport National was built upon was the canvas Arthur Hills and Drew Rogers created their masterpiece on,” said Adams, who has worked as a commentator for the Golf Channel and has authored several books.
For après golf, the nearby restaurants, shops and historic sights of Newport beckon, and the beaches are close by. There are plenty of great hotels and bed and breakfast establishments in the area.
Newport National Golf Club