Next up on the tee is the Always Time for 9 foursome! If you have never tee’d it up in front of a group of critical golfers, this may not be the spot for you. Jamestown Golf Course is a first come, first served facility, and you may find a long line to get out for a morning round. We found an hour wait on a weekday morning, so it must be a nice course if they line up to play. You need to check-in with the starter (today it was Bob), to determine the wait time. Then you proceed to the clubhouse to pay your $25.
As four mid to high-handicap golfers addressed their balls at Hole #1, a hush fell over the gallery. Twenty-five sets of eyes were watching our every move. Four tee shots were expertly placed in the fairway and the crowd erupted in applause and shouts of “in the hole”. We triumphantly marched down the fairway to our balls and proceeded to scuff them the rest of the way to the green. From the white tee box, this par 4 is only 280 yards but that yardage for four senior golfers to the green is a little out of our range. So no shots came close to “in the hole”. However, I’m sure over the years there have been a few aces at this hole. It’s a good opening hole to start your round.
Hole #2 is a par 5 of 484 yards with trouble down the right side. On our golf adventure yesterday all the hazards were to the left, today it appears we want to avoid the right side. The wide fairway will gladly accept any straight tee shot as will the water to the right that will swallow any wayward slice. At Hole #3 you can let the big dog out and let it fly. It’s straight and only 280 yards long. Birdie time? From the tee box, Hole #4 appears benign but as you round the slight bend to the left in the fairway there are three bunkers surrounding the green and the requisite bushes and trees to the right. The undulating green will continue to make this a very challenging par 4.
The par 3 fifth hole is a great example of choosing the correct tees for greater enjoyment of the game. Today the flag was placed behind an evil-lipped greenside bunker. You either had to hit a “moon shot” to clear the bunker and land softly in front of the cup or hit it long and have your shot dance back to the hole. Three of us had neither of those shots, so we hit and hoped. The fourth in our group, Armchair Piper, played from the forward tees and had a nice easy access to the green. Of course he wanted to talk “smack” about his par – we just wanted to smack him!
It was birdie time and my turn to talk “trash” at the par 5 sixth hole. Another nice wide fairway and your best approach is from the right to allow you to find the green in two. Somehow I did and missed an eagle putt. I like those holes where you have to “settle” for birdie. Let’s count the bunkers at Hole #7. At this par 3 there is one left; one front; one right-center; and one right. If my math is correct, that’s one for each of us. Luckily we found only two, but those of us that found the green, learned that this undulating surface was no bargain either.
Hole #8 is one of those par 4s that I would like to ask a local how they play. It is the first hole that has a decided dogleg to the left. There is a triangle of three large trees along with a bunker that guard the dogleg. Is there enough room to the left of those trees or should you drive it down the fairway to the right and have a safe shot to the green? A nice risk/reward hole that I would probably play differently next time around (I took route #2). Let me know how you play/played this number one handicap hole. Hole #9 is a fairly straight par 4 with a nice view of the Claiborne Pell Bridge in the background. Out of bounds runs up both sides and three large bunkers guard the entrance to the putting surface. Somehow I scored my second birdie of the round. Guys, let’s grab a beer and I’ll dissect my Two Birdies!
Rating – Birdie (48 out of 60): Just a fun course! It is links-inspired and located within Narragansett Bay. Designed and built in 1895, it is considered one of the oldest public courses in the country. The fairways are generous, many of the greens are undulating, and the course was in excellent shape. Even though the line to play was far-reaching, Bob kept it moving and was in constant conversation with everyone. For us it was well worth the wait, and as of 2021, it is the only 9-hole course Always Time for 9 has played in Rhode Island!
245 Conanicus Ave., Jamestown, RI 02835; 401-423-9930; www.jamestowngolf.com