Talk about incredible makeovers!
Those driving along Route 138 in Rhode Island are stunned when they glance over and see Meadow Brook Golf Course, the region’s hottest new addition to an already remarkable golf cache.
Taking a quite pedestrian and well worn nine-hole public course, architects Roger Rulewich and David Fleury, along with hands-on owners Pete Hendrick and son Jay, turned the land into a sweet 18-hole daily fee course that already rivals some of the best layouts in Rhode Island despite only being open since early 2010.
Meadow Brook is a true championship course in every sense of the word. It is perhaps the longest course in the region, topping out at around 7,500 yards from the tips, although four other markers and expansive teeing areas allow players of all abilities to test out this gem.
Located just 30 minutes from Providence, the Connecticut casinos and South County, R.I.. beaches, Meadow Brook was built to be a modern golf classic imbued with classic virtues, said Rulewich.
“This is truly something unique in my career,” said Rulewich, who helped create such luminescent courses as Fox Hopyard Golf Club in East Haddam, Ct. and Crumpin-Fox Golf Club in Bernardston, Ma. “At Meadow Brook we had a property that was begging to become the golf course we designed. Playing golf is a special time for people and it should be played in a place that is special.”
The architects routed Meadow Brook over rolling terrain and through large stands of pine trees, the latter feature dominating holes on the simply sensational back nine, where water also comes into play.
The front side is more open, almost linksland in character, and has a nice mix of long and short par-fours, medium length par-fives and strong par-threes. The ninth hole, playing 397 yards from the back markers, plays to an uphill fairway landing area with two small bunkers on the left that narrows the target area. The approach is to an elevated green that is hidden from view.
Number 10 is a great way to start the back side. The par-three plays 210 yards from the tips with the tees set into terrace of natural rock outcroppings and raised from the green that sits below, fronted by a pond.
Number 15, measuring a whopping 649 yards from the championship tees, may be the best par-five on the layout. The tee and second shots must be struck with extreme accuracy to thread the ball between tall pine trees left and right. A well thought out approach to around the 150 marker will leave you with a downhill look at a sloping green that sits near the site’s largest trees. It’s a very pretty hole, indeed, and looks like it could be in northern New England rather than South County.
Number 18 is a wonderful finishing hole. The drive must stay away from a pond on the left side of the fairway that runs all the way to the putting surface. A solid tee shot will leave you with a mid-iron to the green that is protected by water left and front and bunkers to the rear. Again, the setting is stunning and presents an emotionally satisfying finish to a round that builds slowly to a crescendo.
All in all, Meadow Brook is technically a very sound golf course, and also a very attractive one. The fairways are rather ample, the greens very large (prepare yourself for some monstrous first putts) to accommodate multiple pin placements, and the rough not too penal. This is a golf course where every shot you will face will be right in front of you with no gimmicks or tricks lying in wait.
Greens fees are quite reasonable, $75 with cart, $60 walking Monday through Thursday, and $90 with cart and $75 walking Friday through Sunday. There’s a modest temporary clubhouse located in a restored farmhouse where breakfast and lunch is served. A full bar is also available.
Meadow Brook Golf Course
Kingstown Rd., Richmond, R.I.