Review: Alpine Country Club

Course Name: Alpine Country Club

Designer: Geoffrey Cornish (1962)

Location: Cranston, Rhode Island

History: Alpine CC began as a social club for Italian-Americans in 1948, and relocated when it opened a Geoffrey Cornish-designed championship golf course in 1962. Today, Alpine is known as a family-centered club with some of the best amenities in Rhode Island. Long-time PGA professional Ed Kirby has been pro there for decades, and notably played with Greg Norman in the final round of the 1989 U.S. Open.

Conditions: 8/10, Alpine is always in very good condition, with quick greens and thick rough lining the fairways.

Value: N/A, This is a private course.


Tee                                 Par         Yardage         Rating          Slope

Gold                               72           6864               73.2               129

Blue                               72           6627               72.0               128

White                            72           6317               70.7               127

Red                                 72          5964               73.1               117

Hole Descriptions: If you’ve read any of my other blogs, you know that I’m generally not fond of designer Geoffrey Cornish. I find his courses very mundane, with tree-lined fairways and back-to-front sloped greens on nearly every hole. How he was able to get so many commissions, especially for private courses, is beyond me. With that being said, I have to say Alpine CC is certainly one of his better designs. Nothing about the course sticks out in particular in a good or bad way, and for Cornish, that’s a success in my book.

Alpine starts you out with a warm-up hole on the downhill 1st playing only 326 yards. A pond guards the left-hand side of the hole near the green, and the green itself is further protected by three bunkers. I don’t really see the benefit of going for the green in one here; a nice hybrid or long iron to the wide part of the fairway suffices.  The 2nd hole is a strong, narrow par 5. At 510 yards, this hole is reachable in theory but any ball that misses the green will likely find one of several large bunkers starting 80 yards short of this sloped green.

Another short par 4, the dogleg left 325 yard 3rd is most notable for its bunkering. You have to avoid a tiny bunker at 210 yards on the left side of the dogleg and the entire green is surrounded by a moat of sand. Furthermore, the back of this green slopes off hard into the woods, so don’t go long! The 4th hole is another tight S-shaped par 5 with OB left and dense trees right. Like the 2nd, this 522 yard hole is reachable, but it would take two heroic shots to navigate this dual dogleg around the trees. Like the first three holes, a vast bunker short of this green requires you to carry your approach shot onto the surface.

The par 4 5th is the first long hole at Alpine, measuring a stout 442 yards from the Blue Tees. This is a classic Cornish hole – tree-lined, completely straight, with a back-to-front sloped green. Another long hole follows in the 221 yard par 3 6th hole. This hole is wide-open and flat, but most golfers will be forced to take out wood here to reach the putting surface. Two bunkers guard either side of this circular green. Another interesting hole, the 353 yard par 4 7th plays very similar to the 3rd as a short dogleg left with plenty of bunkers to navigate. This is a tight driving hole, with bunkers on either side at about 190 yards. The left side of this green slopes off hard, leaving delicate pitches uphill.

The 8th plays as the longest hole at Alpine as a formidable 540 yard par 5. A tree-lined dogleg right, this is almost certainly a three-shot hole considering the dogleg doesn’t occur until 300 yards. This green is long, narrow and slopes hard back-to-front. The 160 yard 9th hole is a cute little uphill par 3 with a two-tiered green and three bunkers surrounding the front. The clubhouse in the background frames this hole nicely.

After three par fives in the first eight holes, the 10th hole is the final par 5 at Alpine at 505 yards. This is a pretty dogleg right that is completely open off the tee but gets tighter at the dogleg around 260 yards. In particular, this fairway narrows to almost nothing for the final 80 yards courtesy of a cavernous bunker I would imagine makes par very difficult. At 371 yards, the 11th is a solid downhill par 4 with a hidden pond on the left at 260 yards. I wasn’t aware of this hazard and was unfortunately punished for a good drive. The 12th also plays downhill as a 177 yard par 3. Two diagonal bunkers reminiscent of pincers just short of this green, necessitating a complete carry.

Playing 407 yards, the 13th hole is no doubt a tricky hole. This fairway is initially generous but a dual cross-bunker on the left at 220 yards forces you to lay-up or try to carry it. At 270 yards, water creeps into the right fairway, leaving you pretty much no room. A bit tricked-out, but pars will be celebrated here. The 14th is one of my favorite holes at Alpine, with a memorable island teebox sitting in the pond. The hole itself is a strong 391 yard dogleg right with trees lining both sides and a two bunkers on the left between 240 and 270 yards.

My favorite par 3 was the 15th hole, a 173 yarder with 5 bunkers covering the front and both sides. This strong hole is followed up by the signature hole at Alpine, the 388 yard the 16th. A quasi-Cape hole, this straightaway par 4 features an exceedingly narrow fairway lined by a water down the entire left side and trees on the right. The fairway juts out a bit between 200 and 250 yards, but not nearly enough to stop many balls from being lost. This green juts out into the water as well, forcing the golfer to hit both accurate drivers and irons to avoid a big number. Holes 17 and 18 are two strong finishing par fours, at 397 and 428 yards respectively. Both greens are well-bunkered, and pars are especially impressive on the closer, which plays uphill and somewhat blind.

General Comments: Alpine features a well-maintained grass driving range and a large practice green. I can’t comment on pace of play, but the club is always bustling, especially the pool and tennis courts. Alpine also takes pride in its food and event-planning, hosting many weddings on the patio overlooking the course.

Verdict: Alpine CC is a nice, well-conditioned course I consider one of Geoff Cornish’s better designs. The amenities here are fantastic and you get the sense that the club is thriving and always packed. While the course itself isn’t one I’d go out of my way to play, I’d gladly play here when given the opportunity.

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