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Our weekly review of golf courses brings us to King’s Crossing Golf Club in North Kingstown
by John Cardullo, sportswriter
This week’s golf course review is 2,994 yards with a slope rating 124 and a rating of 68.5 – King’s Crossing located at 655 Old Baptist Road in North Kingstown Rhode Island. With my regular group, I kept pushing King’s Crossing back in our run to play all Rhode Island’s nine-hole courses. It had a reputation of being a poorly laid out course that is not maintained very well and was in poor shape. I would like to say that what we heard was inaccurate, however it was exactly what we found. I honestly have to say it was not in that great of shape and ranks among the worst courses that I’ve played in my 25 years of hacking up a golf course! RINewsToday doesn’t often give poor reviews, but we hope it will be taken in a constructive way to do better for 2021.
Our experience began when I called three days in advance to set a tee time and was greeted with a person on the other end of the phone who was abrupt and as one of my friends said, “snippy”. I did manage to set a Friday mid-day tee time, and I thought for us to get a noontime tee-time the place must be popular and busy, so I brushed off the employee on the other end of the phone as being overwhelmed with tee time requests.
The next surprise was on arrival. The parking area was small and not very well laid out. We went into the clubhouse to pay our green fees and was met with a grumpy attendant whose humor was more sarcastic than amusing. “Dude, don’t quit your day job”, came to mind to say, but we didn’t. So far, the King’s Crossing experience was not very good, and we hadn’t even teed up yet.
Hole #1 is a straight out 360-yard par 4 that has a slight decline to the green. Trees line both sides of the fairway but is spacious toward the right side; the left side the trees line to a tight out of bounds. The tee box was beat to the point where you had very little if any grass on them. I’d like to say that this was the only tee box in this condition but as it turned out, this was the best tee box on the course. It was apparent that the hot summer that we have been experiencing had taken its toll on the course, with fairways being brown and burnt throughout the course.
This made any second shot an adventure. I managed a bogey 5 on the hole and moved onto the next hole, knowing that this was going to be a long day. Onto hole #2, was a par 5m 439-yard roller coaster with a dogleg left, pulling my drive out of bounds to the left and electing to re-tee and take the penalty stroke and distance my next shot was still pulled left but stayed in bounds. The dry burnt out fairway was like playing on a dirt surface with clumps of dead grass, giving you a feeling that no matter how well you hit your ball it was going to end up very unpredictable. After taking an 8 on the hole it was off to the first par three on the course.
It was at this point where I started to wonder if this was a golf course being taken over by a developing condo complex or a development that was going to eventually take over a golf course. It was my opinion that the golf course was going to be taken over and fade away as the development of the condos expanded.
Hole #3 was a long par 3 at 212 yards, with the tee box as the previous two, dried out with little green, was slow. My tee shot fell short of the elevated green, a chip and two putts later and recording a one over 4 we went to the second par 5 on the course.
Hole #4 is a long 485-yard par 5, the advantage of teeing off on a dried-out fairway is that your ball will continue to run along the burnt-out fairways. Getting a long run off a poorly hit ball off the tee, my second shot was a well hit 3 wood, a pushed to the right 7 iron left me short of the green a short pop on the green with my wedge and two putt to hole out with a bogey 6.
Hole# 5 was a shorter than the first par 3 at 169 yards, another pull left off the tee and a wedge shot that fell short of the green. I wedged the ball onto the green and two putted, making a parable hole into a double bogey 5. At this point I admit to being frustrated, at first with the poor conditions of the course but an admittingly haven’t been playing well. I did notice that there was a pond on the course and that usually meant that it had its own water source, but it was obvious by the condition of the course that it has not been used in sometime.
Then on hole #6 something amazing happened, call it frustration, call it anger at my play, or whatever, something happened on the tee on the 349-yard par 4 hole #6. I unleashed a 249 drive (aided by the dry fairway that had a downward slope) then hit a perfect 7 iron onto the green about 5 feet from the hole. Like a ray of light, I holed out with a birdie 3! To be honest here, me and birdies have been occasional friends in my 25 years of playing golf; basically, I can count on two hands the number of birdies I have holed, and this was number nine, not that I’m not counting.
My good feeling was short lived on hole #7, a 307-yard par 4, which happened to be the 2nd easiest hole on the course. A pull to the left off the tee a miss hit with my 5 wood which helped with a run along the dirt burnt fairway. My approach shot drifted left a 50 yard “pitch” shot and two putts later I once again walked away talking to myself with a double bogey 6 on the hole.
Hole # 8 was the third par 3 on the course, the longest at 225-yards, once again I duffed my drive but was the fortunate beneficiary of a nice roll which left me about 80 yards away from the green, a pitch and two putts later I holed out with a bogey 4.
The final hole was rated the toughest hole on the course, a 438-yard par 4 which brought us back to the clubhouse. Another mis-hit off the tee and a poorly connected 2nd shot with my 3 wood pushed to the right, a strong wedge rolled through the green and ended up off the green and against the edge of the rough around the green and higher grass, another short pitch and two putts later another double bogey ended my misery for the day with a surprisingly score of 47!
Respectable, but I could not help wondering if I let the poor conditions course dictate my poor play or if I let it become my excuse for just playing badly. I concluded that it was more me than the course.
The course itself as I mentioned does not know if it wants to be a condo development or a golf course. I suspect that the development will overtake and eliminate the course in time. It seems to have a faithful following that enjoys playing the course and more than likely the grumpy attendant behind the bar is “charming” in his own way to regulars. However, for someone new to playing on this course and compared to all the other 10 9-hole public courses that we’ve played and reviewed, I have to say this was in the poorest conditions of them all. The condition of the course was awful and the price that they were charging to walk this version of Death Valley was questionable. The flow from green to tee was all over the place, a little water on the fairways could help a lot. I would like to say that I was disappointed but in all honesty someone in our group, who played the course earlier in the year did give us a warning as to what to expect. Even with his scouting report and soft sell, he was even shocked by the conditions that we encountered. I would have to rate King’s Crossing a “C” and all that was missing here were tumbleweeds rolling through! We’re happy to come back and revisit next year when, if King’s is open, we’re sure things will have improved.