In 1895, the founding members of Misquamicut Golf Club engaged Tom Bendelow to fashion their original golf facility. Over the next couple of decades, it’s said that both Willie Anderson and Seth Reynor made modifications to this rudimentary layout before the purchase of additional land enabled Donald Ross to completely redesign the course in 1923.
The front nine is set out on undulating terrain, with most of the back nine occupying much flatter ground. The par threes at the long 3rd and short 8th are excellent one-shot holes on the outward half but the round really comes to life on the way home, with the strong par fours at holes 13 and 14 of particular merit. A long, uphill par three ends a round here in somewhat unconventional style at the 18th hole.A number of the fairways at Misquamicut are routed close to tidal inlets that run along the Atlantic coastline, weaving in and out of wetland areas teeming with all sorts of wildlife. The course extends to a very modest 6,214 yards from the back markers so Misquamicut can certainly be described as a short, but very sweet, Donald Ross classic.
The biggest impression Misquamicut left on me was how shocked I was with how different the holes across the street look and feel compared to those on the main paddock. I just wasn’t prepared for it. The first 11 holes or so are laid out on incredible rolling topography equal to many of the greatest courses in GB&I. Donald Ross found green sites that made my jaw drop and certainly made me think two or three times about what club I was hitting. Steeply elevated greens with merciless surrounding slopes are as much golf as you can handle for a course that (on paper) tips out at just over 6200 yards.
After 11 holes, I was wondering what took me so long to see this layout, but holes 12 to 17 answered that question. You cross the street to a dead flat marsh reclaimed land. They aren’t “bad holes”, but relative to the opening half, they are hugely underwhelming and throw the entire experience out of whack. The Cape style 12th is a fun tee shot over the marsh, but that’s about it for me. There wasn’t one hole close to the ocean that I ever wanted to play again. You cross back to the main paddock to play the fabulous uphill par 3 18th hole which is an “all of nothing” shot into a beautiful setting.
The old school New England charm stops and starts too often at Misquamicut for my liking, which is a shame as so much of the course is remarkable.
Many people describe the course as schizophrenic due to the substantial differences between the front 9 and back 9. The front has wild, rolling terrain, which I found unique and fun. The back is on the water and is completely flat. The course finishes on a rare par 3, but it is a strong uphill shot back on the side of the course with elevation changes.