Review: Jamestown Golf Course

Course Name: Jamestown Golf Course

Designer: Unknown (1895)(1901, Redesign)

Location: Jamestown, Rhode Island

History: One of the oldest public courses in the country, Jamestown Golf Course originally opened as Conanicut Golf Club in 1895. The course was moved to its current location.and redesigned in 1901. A new clubhouse was erected in 1951.

Conditions: 7/10, Jamestown GC is always kept lush and green. The greens here were having some issues in 2018, but usually roll fast and true. The bunkers, rough, teeboxes, and fairway are all well-kept.

Value: 7/10, An easy walk, Jamestown GC costs about $20, with minor discounts for town residents.

Scorecard:

Tee                     Par         Yardage         Rating          Slope

Blue                  36           3058               34.4               108

White               36            2761               33.5               105

Red                    38           2431               33.3               107

Hole Descriptions: I imagine Jamestown GC hasn’t undergone many changes over the last century. This is a prototypical classic design, where strategic bunkering and the wind act as the main defenses. Many of the holes here are short and straightforward, but there’s something refreshing about having holes where what you see is what you get.

A prime example of this is the opening hole, a short, downhill, drivable 300 yard par 4. Out of bounds lines both sides of this generous fairway, adding a bit of danger to an otherwise simple hole. A trio of bunkers guard long right of this large two-tiered green.

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The reachable par 4 opener

The longest hole on the course, the 541 yard par 5 2nd is a true three-shotter. This hole plays straightaway the entire way, but features a tight fairway guarded by water and fescue down the right. This green is also one of the most undulating on the course, making golfers work for their birdie.

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The par 5 2nd

The 3rd hole is another short uphill par 4 at 293 yards. OB lines the entire righthand side and the small green is well-protected with three bunkers.

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The approach on the 3rd

The 4th hole is one of my favorites at Jamestown. Wide open, this medium-length 403 yard par 4 contains no bunkers and relies on the crosswind, length, and difficult green for its defense. You absolutely cannot go long here, as the back of this green slopes off steeply. This green is the wildest and best on the course, featuring numerous swales.

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The par 4 4th
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The downhill approach on the 4th

The par 3 5th hole plays short at only 130 yards, but features four prominent bunkers strategically placed around this hard-to-hit back-to-front sloped green. Like any good short one-shotter, birdies are plentiful here but golfers will be penalized at least one shot for missing the green.

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The short and sweet 5th

At only 450 yards from the Tips, it almost feels like cheating playing the 6th as a par 5. With a generous driving area, the danger on this hole arises near the green with two large cross bunkers just short catching any runners. Two additional bunkers on the back side of this green require golfers to have pinpoint distance control.

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View from the 6th teebox
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The 6th green is large but well-protected

The par 3 7th plays 161 yards and is essentially a longer version of the 5th with 4 surrounding bunkers and an undulating green.

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The par 3 7th

The 405 yard par 4 8th is the number 1 handicap and self-proclaimed “best hole at Jamestown GC”. Although the driving area is fairly wide, you’ll want to cut the corner on this dogleg left to avoid a long shot into a protected green. A bunker 230 yards out on the left side of the fairway tests golfers cutting the corner and leads to many bailouts right. This narrow green is difficult to hit, with three bunkers flanking the right and one on the left.

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The dogleg left 8th
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Approach on the 8th

The closing hole plays uphill as a 375 yard dogleg left. After a difficult drive from the Tips, this hole straightens out with OB right. This green is guarded by bunkers on either side and slopes hard back-to-front. This hole is notable for spectacular views of the Claiborne Pell Bridge that connects Jamestown to Newport.

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Walking up the 9th

General Comments: Like most old courses, there are limited practice facilities at Jamestown. There is no range and only a tiny practice green near the 1st tee. Pace of play is always a problem at Jamestown, especially on summer weekends.

Verdict: Although Jamestown GC’s straightforward set-up might bore more advanced golfers, its rich history and prime location make it the best public 9-hole course in Rhode Island. I recommend this course to Newport tourists who want a cheaper, quicker round than Newport National.


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