Providence Golf Club (Richmond, VA on 07/27/13)

I ended up killing a bit of time after my first round with a stop for breakfast and then at Kohls to look at golf shirts. I got over to Providence and got paired with a couple other folks. I played the Gold Tees which play 71.2/134/6529. The course does a nice job of blending into the surroundings as there are many pine trees that come into play and some minor elevation changes. In many ways the course reminded me of something that would be found in North Carolina. There are wetlands that the course requires a forced carry over and it has many fairway and greenside bunkers which line the holes. The course plays as a par 71 with four par 5’s which I think is the better option for a par 71. Some par 71’s have the standard four par 3’s, but only three par 5’s. When I play a course with that configuration of holes I always feel like I am losing a scoring chance. That said, I think the first three par 5’s here are the weakest holes on the entire course so they could have done away with one and I would have been just fine. Even though the course is a shorter course, it still has a good mix of holes. The par 3’s range from 158 to 215 yards and the par 4’s range from 311 to 448 yards so it is a place where someone will likely use every club in the bag.

The course has a few tricks, like the tee shot at the opening hole. The 1st is a mid-length par 4 with a tree to the left of the fairway. Off to the right of the fairway is a low area that looked like trouble, but the starter didn’t even answer my question about it and said that I couldn’t get to it. I missed left and it was a good thing because I could have lost a ball if I had hit it over there. The 3rd is another mid length par 4 that is the hardest hole on the course. It plays 409 yards with a long carry over trouble and then has an uphill approach. If someone can get through the 3rd hole with a decent score going it can be improved upon on the 4th and the 5th. The 4th is a short par 4 and the 5th is the first par 5 on the course. The tee shot on the 5th plays to a rise before the layup will either need to be played short of a creek that cuts across the fairway or over it. The tough part about the layup is that if the tee shot doesn’t get far enough up the rise then it is blind and just a guess how far to hit the next one. The 8th is a 525 yard par 5 that was one of my least favorite holes on the course. It is a dogleg left around a lake that is in play on the tee shot and the layup. There is a steep hill off to the right of the fairway so any miss right will end up with a hook lie and trouble left. The water cuts the layup off at an odd angle too and I was lucky to escape with a bogey.

The back nine starts out with a shot, position par 4. The a layup needs to be hit solid to avoid the fairway bunkers and a longer club needs to thread another set of bunkers. That is the hardest part and then it just a wedge into the green. The 11th is a 186 yard par 3 that has a big slope that divides the green into two sections. I hit my tee shot right over the top of the flag and ended up with a speedy putt down the hill. The 12th is the third odd par 5 on the course. It is 558 yards but I think that something less than driver is the play off the tee to avoid the trouble left of, and through, the fairway. The 2nd shot then is played to avoid a couple trees that guard the green. What is strange is that because the hazard pinches in on the left side, the layup needs to be played towards the two trees. I think it is one of those strange holes like the 12th at the Diablo Grande Ranch course where I would just have to take my medicine if I played here regularly and try for just a par every time. The 13th and 14th are par 4’s that need a tee shot in the fairway for a decent score while the 15th and 16th are long par 4’s. The 17th is a 158 yard par 3 that is wonderful hole. It is short enough that it just a mid iron, but there is water right of the green which guards any flag on the right half of the green. The designer gives a bailout area left of the green which is where I ended up hitting it. I had a tricky, but possible, chip shot down the hill to the hole.

The course was in very good shape for this time of year.  I think the course has been trying to keep enough water on the greens so that they don’t burn up in the summer heat. So, considering that the greens were softer and held some footprints and spike marks they rolled pretty well. On the other hand, the fairways rolled out enough that I had to give some thought to the line and carry distance in order for a ball to end up in the short grass. Plus, the fairways were in great shape and I had many perfect lies. On many different levels I enjoyed the course and would definitely recommend it. I think it is the type of course that is worth the hour drive a couple of times a year.



#1 green:






#3 approach:


















#11 looking back:




#12 approach:






#17 green:




#18 green:



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