Course Review: The Aquidneck Club, May 26, 2023

I had the opportunity to play at The Aquidneck Club in Portsmouth just prior to the Memorial Day weekend.

The Course and complex was former known as The Carnegie Abby Club. The Club was founded by British businessman Peter de Savary in 2000 on land leased from the Benedictine monks, who run the nearby Portsmouth Abby School. 

In addition to the golf course, the club includes a lounge, golf shop, clubhouse with a fitness center and spa rooms, tennis courts and an equestrian center with seven miles of riding trails.

The Carnegie Tower, a 22-story tower, which opened in the summer of 2009, turned out to be a losing prospect for developer J. Brian O’Neill. The club was in financial distress. 

Carnegie Tower PHOTO: Course Reviewer

It was purchased by several members and became known as The Aquidneck Club as it is to this day.

Sometimes timing is everything and the Tower has reestablished itself as a prestigious Rhode Island residential address with 7 units currently listed for sale – from a 1,325 sq ft unit listed at about $465,000 to a 8,235 sq. ft. unit listed at $5,900,000.

I arrived at the course for an early tee time and, with few people around, my initial impression is that the course would not see a lot of use today. I was incorrect and as we were finishing up, the lots were full.

We were warmly greeted by all and received a cart and directions to the driving range.

Aquidneck Club Driving Range PHOTO: Course Reviewer

The range, although relatively short, is in pristine condition with useful targets.

After a 20-minute warm-up, we took the very lengthy ride to the first tee. I’m guessing about ¾ of a mile in length.

The starter gave us the lay of the land and introduced us to Mike, our caddy for the day. Mike is extremely knowledgeable about the course and its history and filled us in on the changes.

I had played the course years ago and really wanted to focus on two holes that I clearly remembered ~ the 1st and the 18th.

The first is a challenging par five that really takes driver out of your hands on the tee shot. I vividly remembered that I did not take my caddy’s advice the first time I played the course and tried to fit the driver into too tight of a spot. 

Hole 1 at Aquidneck Club PHOTO: Course Reviewr

This time I paid attention and hit 3 wood, 6 iron and PW ~ and voila  ~ a par.  

We found the course to be in terrific condition.  It is not a long course, and the defense is primarily in the greens. I hit a few shots on the wrong side of the green and three putted. On 16, I hit a nice tee shot, hit my approach pin high but had a downhill putt that was extremely difficult and led to a three-putt.

The course has two what can be described as signature holes. The 17th is a beautiful par 3 facing the ocean. 

Aquidneck Club, 17th hole PHOTO: Course Reviewer

Unfortunately I missed the green to the right and did not get up and down for the par.

The 18th is also a beautiful and memorable hole. It is a short par 4 with bunkers to the left and the ocean to the right. 

I messed up this terrific hole last time I played and made up for it with a nice drive, a short chip on the green and a two putt par.

My foursome left the course with a the same opinion ~ The Aquidneck club is a true gem of a course; a great, attentive staff that welcomed us as outsiders, great conditions and terrific views.

I really cannot wait to play it again.

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