Founded by fifty respected Rhode Island residents in 1924, Warwick Country Club engaged Donald Ross to lay out a 9-hole course for the membership a year after it was formed. It then took thirty years until Geoff Cornish was asked to add another nine in order to fashion a full 18-hole layout.
The following decades saw modifications made to the clubhouse, the construction of a swimming pool, and the introduction of paddle tennis to the club's list of recreational activities. Ron Prichard was also called in at the end of the 1990s to complete a course restoration project.
Today, the layout measures around 6,500 yards from the back tees, playing to a par of 69, with views of Narragansett Bay from every hole on the scorecard. It really is seaside golf of the highest order at Warwick, where winds blow in off the estuary in a different direction on a daily basis.
I believe there are only half a dozen courses in the US where one can see the ocean from all 18 holes. Warwick is a recent addition to this select group, the result of cutting many trees that obscured views of Greenwich Bay.
The best views are from the front nine, the half of the course that also boasts the best golf. Donald Ross’s original nine boasts imaginatively contoured greens, aerial or running approach shots and risk/reward options from the tee. Ron Prichard’s bunkers are among the most attractive I’ve ever seen
Prichard’s bunkers also adorn the back nine, but Geoff Cornish’s 1955 interpretation of Ross’s design is not quite as interesting as the front nine. Nonetheless, I can only think of one course in Rhode Island I’d rather play.