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by John Cardullo, sportswriter
Rolling Greens Golf Course
As the summer continues our group known as the “fantastic four” takes on their hardest challenge so far, Rolling Greens Golf Course in North Kingstown, RI. Built in 1962 during the height of the golfing boom when Jack, Gary and Arnie were lighting the golf world on fire. This 3,072-yard course has a course rating of 35.0 and a slope rating of 113. Rolling Greens is just that, greens and fairways that roll seemingly forever with trees lined on each side of every hole, where good shots are rewarded, and poor choices are punished.
The unassuming clubhouse and parking area are a little preview to Rolling Greens, to truly appreciate this venue, you have to get out on the course and start playing. The first hole is a 339-yard par 4 a straight-out hole with an out of bounds location along the right side, the green itself has a sand trap located on the upper front of the green. After my tee shot leaked to the right but stayed out of trouble, and my second shot landed on the left side of the green pin high, a chip and two putts later (my putting woes continue); I was a bogey 5 on the hole.
Hole #2 was a slightly longer 353-yard par-4, again pretty straight with an elevated green that was surrounded by trees and another trap mid-green right. Pulling my tee shot left, I was lucky to hit a tree which ricocheted onto the fairway, pulling another shot left and landing in the rough in front of the green, I pitched onto the green and two putted to record my second bogey 5 of the round. To this point I found the course to be green and plush, but the greens were slow and easy to read. Over-thinking on the greens could be a problem and not putting firmer could ruin your round very easily.
Hole #3 is the second hardest hole on the course, a 383-yard par 4 with a slight veer to the right. A fairway sand trap lies about 130 yards on the right side of the fairway on the right. Staying in the fairway and out of trouble to each side as in any golf course could be your best friend. Hole #3 had another elevated green. A short tee shot, found its way down a steep slope to the right of the fairway, my next shot did not fare any better and landed next to a stump on the uphill side of the waste area. Having no clean and clear shot to the hole, I decided to get creative by using my putter to whack the ball back onto the fairway, and it was a truly unique shot choice and I was back in business. My approach shot settled in the rough to the left pin high, a pitch onto the green and a two putt gave me a 7 on the hole, but considering the mess I made of the hole, I was willing to take my medicine.
The next hole was the first par-3 on the course, a 150-yard straight out hole with another elevated green with a sand trap on each side of the fairway. Under clubbing, my drive fell short and into the sand trap to the right on the low side of the green, blasting out of the trap my ball ended up on top of the hill but not onto the green. My pitch made a gallant effort to go in but stopped short of the hole for a tap-in bogey 4.
The 5th hole at Rolling Greens is the 550-yard par-5 with the tee box below the fairway as it rises and then levels out a bit before slanting downward. My tee shot landed off the fairway on the right leaving a 300 yard second shot up hill before the flat plateau, my second shot was a poorly executed 3 wood which was skulled and traveled about 100 yards, and with less than two hundred yards left my 3rd shot fell short of the green. My approach shot went long and over the green leaving me a down hill pitch shot that was hit a little too firm. Three greens were difficult to zero in on, and again, three putts later a double bogey 7 appeared on my scorecard.
Hole #6 is a par-4 325-yard that has a dogleg left, at the bend on the left is a big tree that makes you think twice about cutting the corner, and unfortunately for me my drive went right at the tree, however the ball hit off the tree and ended up on the fairway. A solid 3 wood and a 50-yard pitch later, and I ended up on the green to only two putts (what else was new on this day?) to escape with a bogey 5.
Hole #7 is another par 4 with 315-yards from tee to green, however you tee off and end up down hill into a valley before you have to hit to another elevated green that veers to the left. Pulling my tee shot left into the cluster of trees, I was able to find my ball sitting in the middle of the trees but with a clear shot straight out to where the 100-yard marker was. Slapping a 7 iron my ball ended up about 80 yards from the hole in the rough. Hitting a solid pitching wedge, I landed behind the pin and two putted out for a bogey 5. I was truly making this course harder by some sloppy shots, but I was able to recover well and was scoring as well as you could expect.
Hole #8 is the second par-3 on the course that was a long 190 yards with three sand traps surrounding the green. Even though I clubbed down, my tee shot still fell short to the right, about 5 yards from the right sand trap. A firm pitching wedge and two putts later, and I walked away with a bogey 4 leaving the ninth hole as my only hope to record a par on the day.
The 9th hole is a 440-yard par 4 with a slight veer to the right. I hit my tee shot long and straight leaving about 180 yards to the green which had a sand trap to the front right and the back of the green. My second shot landed short of the green to the right but far away from the sand trap so it would not be a factor. A clean pitch and two putts later I walked away from Rolling Greens with a par-less round and a score of 48.
I found Rolling Greens to be just that, the course flowed with rolling fairways and greens. There were enough twist and turns to keep you on your toes. The trees that lined the course shouldn’t be too much of a troublesome factor as long as you’re able to stay away from some wayward shots. The greens were clean and in good shape but played a little slow which I contributed to the fact that we had some rain and were most likely not cut and rolled recently. The greens were also easy to read with not a lot of mystery to them. They were straight with little breaks to the left or to the right but really no house of horror greens to contend with which unto itself makes it harder, because you have a tendency to overthink the putting surface.
Overall, the course was in particularly good shape, there were no dried out dead spots on the course and as bad as your shot may have been you always had a recovery shot available to you, plus spotting three deer running across the course gave you a sense of being in the country playing on their course. As it has been with every course that I have played this season, Rolling Greens observes Covid-19 protocols. I will give Rolling Greens an “A” – it is a beautiful course which makes a wonderful walk in the country. It is a must play for any traveling golfer who is looking for something different but be aware that there are a lot of hills and valleys which could make walking a bit difficult if you’re not used to it. Rolling Greens is located on Routes 2 & 102 on Ten Rod Road in North Kingston. Tee times are encouraged by calling 294-9859.