Not up for a full round? Here are 5 9-hole golf courses in RI you should play this summer (2024)

There are good days on the golf course, but there are plenty of days when the idea of getting out there for a four-hour, 18-hole grind doesn’t seem like a good idea.

If you’re looking to not make golf an all-day affair, you don’t have to look far to find a place to play half a round — and we’re not talking par-3 courses either. There are quite a few nine-hole tracks located around Rhode Island, giving people a chance to get a few swings in without eating into all your summer plans.

Where are they? They’re north, south, east and west, but here are five, not including MetLinks in East Providence, which we covered already, that you should check out if you’re looking for a quick nine.

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Not up for a full round? Here are 5 9-hole golf courses in RI you should play this summer (1)

Coventry Pines Golf Course

Coventry

This family-owned course has been around since 1959 and there are more than a few people whose first swings were out at the Pines.

Golf ruins plenty of good walks, but the solitude the Pines provides is tough to match. Coventry is God’s country, and when you’re out on the course, you’re given a chance to soak it all in.

The Pines is a playable golf course for all levels. It tips out at 3,018 yards and provides ample opportunities to score, notably on the two short par 4s that start your adventure.

If there’s one hole you won’t forget, it’s the par-5 sixth. At 504 yards, it’s not oppressively long, but you have to navigate your tee shot around trees if you want a chance at reaching in two. The hole also offers two greens, giving players options if they turn their nine-hole round into a full day.

The Pines’ conditions depend on the weather. The rainy spring has certainly helped it stay beautiful this year. The greens are spongy and teeter on the slow side, so get aggressive with your putts.

When it comes to pricing, the Pines does it right. It’s $23 to walk nine during the week, $25 on weekends and holidays, and a cart will run you another $13. If you want to walk another nine after your first go-around, just add $10.

If you’re going to play Coventry Pines for everything it offers, the sunset rate, after 5 p.m., is $15 to walk nine. Pack some bug spray and let your surroundings make up for the bad shots.

Not up for a full round? Here are 5 9-hole golf courses in RI you should play this summer (2)

Goddard Memorial State Golf Course

Warwick

I’d heard plenty of stories about Goddard Park but I wanted to experience it for myself. I ended up finding a course that provided the type of golf just about all players need every now and then.

The state’s lone municipal course — it’s owned and operated by the state — isn’t going to overwhelm you with it’s layout. The conditions are what they are. But sometimes that’s what you need.

I went to Goddard Park for the first time on a Monday in late June and it wasn’t easy. The phone number the website gave me didn’t connect and explicitly stated “No Walk-Ins.” I figured I could plead ignorance — and also that the tee sheet wasn’t going to be filled.

The employees couldn’t have been nicer. While the website also states “exact change only,” they were able to break a 20 (there’s a 3 percent fee for credit card use), paired me up with another single and I was on my way.

What sold me on Goddard was the simplicity of the course. The fairways looked exactly like you’d expect a $15 course to look like. The greens were slow and spongy. It was hardly tournament conditions.

But it was entertaining golf. I played with a 75-year-old gentleman who shared stories of his playing days. Behind us, two gentlemen were in gym shorts and polo shirts and when we were downwind from them, there was an unmistakable pungent odor that’s become more commonplace on courses. Later in the round, I saw two young teens lugging their bags as they navigated a green.

Not every golf course has to be about scoring or conditions or all the amenities that come with a full day. Goddard Park offered me a nine-hole walk during which I hit some good shots, some bad ones and a lot in between.

If you’re learning the game, this is your course. It’s a stress-free playing environment and, honestly, everyone could use a round at Goddard Park. It’ll be the best $15 you’ll spend this summer.

Harbor Lights Golf Course

Warwick

The first time I played Harbor Lights was completely by accident. I had no idea where or what the course was, saw a deal on GolfNow, booked it and showed up with zero expectations.

My one mistake was how I experienced the course. If you’re going to play Harbor Lights, my best advice would be bring a crew because the vibes at the course are unmistakable. It’s fun first, golf second and it’s not hard to do both.

The course is incredibly playable and, while it has two par 3s that are listed well over 200 yards, they’re more like linksy par 4s and should be treated as such. Your scorecard will thank you.

Harbor Links’ most fun hole is No. 4, a dogleg right par 5 that is reachable in two if you have some accuracy and distance off the tee. There’s no room to miss left, but if you can carry the corner you’ll give yourself a mid-iron in. Making eagle there was the highlight of my round.

I enjoyed the ninth hole, which lists at a 440-yard par 4. I pulled my drive and it found a gap in the trees, accidentally giving me a better angle and shorter distance to the green. Converting a birdie on the final hole is always a fun way to end a round.

The fun shouldn’t have stopped there.

Harbor Lights provides a unique post-round atmosphere. The larger restaurant and bar on property is a wedding staple in Rhode Island, but the outdoor bar and patio area that is engulfed by the course is a must. Few things are better than post-round food and cold co*cktails. Throw in a terrific view and it’s the perfect way to spend a summer’s day.

Not up for a full round? Here are 5 9-hole golf courses in RI you should play this summer (3)

Jamestown Golf Course

Jamestown

Hands up — I didn’t get to Jamestown to play and haven’t been on the course in nearly a decade, which is something that needs to change soon.

Any list about nine-hole golf courses has to include Jamestown, which provides the most scenic nine-hole experience in Rhode Island golf.

Five years ago, former Journal sportswriter Kevin McNamara wrote a terrific feature on Jamestown, its ownership and its incredible views as it serves a community as one of the country’s oldest nine-hole public courses. His story does more justice to the course than my brief on it ever would.

Everything I needed to know about Jamestown happened when I went looking for a tee time. It said to check the course calendar, then it was first come, first serve. There was something going on until 5, so I asked if it would be OK to show up after 5 p.m. for a twilight round.

The woman on the phone responded, “Of course! Come on down. We look forward to seeing you.”

I can’t speak to the current conditions or the layout, despite what I saw from a 2:53 drone video on YouTube.

But a course that has someone answering the phones with that type of positive energy to a random customer on a Monday morning? Yep, I’m in.

Not up for a full round? Here are 5 9-hole golf courses in RI you should play this summer (4)

Louisquissett Golf Club

North Providence

Growing up, I always saw scores from Louisquisset Golf Club on the agate page of The Journal but had no idea where the course was.

After playing it, I’m still not quite sure where I was — but I can tell you it was one of the most fun golfing experiences I’ve had so far this summer.

The former 18-hole private course is now a nine-hole, semiprivate course surrounded by a housing development and provides one of the best nine-hole golf experiences I’ve ever had.

Let’s get the basics out of the way first — the conditions are the best of any nine-holer in the state and are as good as the top-tier public courses in Rhode Island. A Monday-night round with a cart cost me $39.52. I should have walked it but was intimidated by the gradual incline of the first hole.

That wasn’t all that was intimidating. With homes everywhere, Louisquisset can be a house of horrors for hack golfers because of that one thought we all get before we swing — “Don’t hit a house.”

But from the first hole, a longer-than-it-looks par 4, to the last, a nasty little dogleg-right par 4, Louisquisset forces you to think through every shot.

The third hole at Louisquisset is one of my favorite par-5s in the state. At 451 yards, its relatively short, but the fairway is as narrow as a bowling alley. Hit it left, you’re in someone’s backyard; hit it right, trees. On this day, I ripped driver — the hole shaped to my eye — and hit a perfect cut that left me a mid-iron in. What happened after that will remain off the record, but I finished with a par.

Course knowledge is crucial and after I was done, I immediately wanted to get another nine in with a different plan of attack. Instead, I went upstairs and had a terrific dinner at the club’s restaurant, Pub On One, and that had the best french fries I’ve had.

Bottom line — put Louisquisset on your Must Play List for 2024.

Not up for a full round? Here are 5 9-hole golf courses in RI you should play this summer (2024)
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