3 RI Courses Ranked Inside Top 200 in America

While no Rhode Island courses made the top 100 in America list, three courses made the top 200 list, or the second hundred, published by Golf Digest. 

“These are all great courses—and will likely be contending for a spot on our America’s 100 Greatest ranking for years to come,” writes Golf Digest. 

As you would expect, Newport Country Club leads the way at 126th overall, moving up 11 spots from the previous ranking of 137th. 

Newport Country Club PHOTO: Joe Calabro

Golf Digest ranks Newport CC as the best golf course in the state. 

“History was made here in 1894 when the nine-hole Newport Country Club, one of five founding members of the USGA, became America’s first championship venue, hosting both the inaugural U.S. Amateur and, in the fall of 1895, the inaugural stroke-play U.S. Open Championship. Twenty years later, Donald Ross extended Newport to 18 holes, stretching it out to the Atlantic shoreline, and almost 10 years after that, A.W. Tillinghast remodeled the entire thing, resulting in the most authentic links experience Tilly ever created. Over the past 20 years, consulting architect Ron Forse has faithfully restored many Tillinghast greens and bunkers lost over time. Newport is the rare nationally-ranked course that’s never had a fairway irrigation system. Weather dictates how firm and fast it plays,” writes Golf Digest. 

Following Newport is Shelter Harbor Golf Club, which comes in at 156. 

About Shelter, Golf Digest writes, “Though the late club founder and northeastern financier Finn Caspersen was not an avid golfer, he was intrigued by the idea of building a club near his summer home in Rhode Island. But the property he had was challenging and quite severe in places, strewn with wetlands and studded with huge boulders. He ultimately determined that Hurdzan/Fry was the firm that had the environmental chops and creative juice to make the most of it. Though the holes were limited in where they could go, they achieve a desired “old New England” flavor that mixes well with the more historic courses in the neighborhood and possess a dynamic range of strategic lines, carry options and green sizes. The early 1900s bunkering, crafted by Coore & Crenshaw shaper Jeff Bradley, is icing on the cake.” 

And the last course to make the rankings, coming in at 163 is Wannamoisett Country Club. 

Wannamoisett PHOTO: Joe Calabro

“Built on just 89 acres, barely room for 18 holes, no room for even a small practice range, with lots of bunkers and tiny greens, the Donald Ross-designed Wannamoisett has long held the reputation of the Sugar Ray Leonard of golf courses, compact but carrying plenty of punch. A few years back, consulting architect Ron Forse and his associate Jim Nagle restored Wannamoisett’s gnarly, knobby bunkers that demand respect on every shot, and they somehow also managed to lengthen a few holes. The par-4 second, for example, is now 505 yards long. A long-time host to one of amateur golf’s premier events, the Northeast Amateur Invitational, Wannamoisett is considered today the best par 69 layout in the land,” writes Golf Digest. 

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