Today is the day Royal New Kent reopened. I had the pleasure to play today. The renovation of the course followed the goal to replicate the course as Mike Stranz originally designed. They brought in Mike's widow and she had all of the original plans. They utilized much of the original team also for the work. The principle difficulty RNK had was drainage. Of the 2 Million spent on the renovation about half was for replacing most all of the drainage system.
The course came out grand. It is very much what it was originally. At this date it is not per se primary growth season in VA for grass. So my review is based on that. The greens are in phenomenal shape. The green complexes are bewitching. Precision is required with your entries.
The vast work on the drainage is readily noticed and seems to be working quite well. VA has had a very wet winter and early spring. The bunkers have been worked on extensively and the white sand is fine and diabolical.
Pick your tee box carefully. For the Male golfer there are 5 sets of boxes from 5455 with a 132 slope and 6132 with a 142 slope all the way to 7480 with a 77/154 rating. Good shots can end in precarious spots. A Mike Stranz feature is diagonal greens which require precise distance control based on the direction hit. With many elevated greens, a near miss can trundle down a slope to leave a 15 foot elevation climb bunker shot.
The par 3's are all unique and memorable. The 4's are varied and several are very reminiscent of the copied holes from Royal County Down and Ballybunion. The par 5's may be the strongest set of holes the course has. Each quite different and memorable.
Royal New Kent is a stellar course and should climb on all the ratings lists. It is a great thing that Wingfield Management did by recreating as best they could a true Mike Stranz original.
Date: March 30, 2019