Location: Providence Forge, Va.
Architect: Mike Strantz
Tee — Yardage / Rating | Slope:
Invicta — 7,440 / 76.8 | 154
Gold — 7,159 / 75.5 | 153
Black — 6,733 / 73.6 | 149
White — 6,194 / 71.1 | 142
Member — 5,497 / 67.8 | 134
Green — 4,937 / 65.3 | 128
White — 6,194 / 77.5 | 149
Member — 5,497 / 73.5 | 140
Green — 4,937 / 70.6 | 134
Saturday morning green fee: $$ [$50-$99]
Caddie service: No
Walker friendly: No
Greens: Champion Bermudagrass
Starter: This is one of seven Mike Strantz designs. Strantz was a promising architect whose life was cut short by cancer in 2005 at age 50. Royal New Kent underwent several ownership changes before closing for eight months and reopening in March after a $2 million upgrade, which resulted in 18 new greens and extensive work on the bunkers and irrigation system.
Play because...: Royal New Kent was an instant hit when it opened. Golf Digest declared the course the Best New Course of 1997 and it was listed No. 84 on the magazine's America’s Top 100. Strantz, who had worked under Tom Fazio before venturing out on his own, wanted an Irish-style links course patterned after Royal County Down and Ballybunion. Though Strantz passed awat before Royal New Kent was revived, several members of his original team were involved in the restoration work.
Takeaway: There is a particular look to all of Strantz’ courses, the most popular of which are Caledonia and True Blue in South Carolina, Tobacco Road in North Carolina and Monterrey Bay in California. Strantz had been an artist before going into golf design and he brought his artistic values to his courses. Those who play one of his courses will want to play more of them. They are a mental challenge as much as a physical one.
THE RATINGS [1 to 10 scale, 10 being the highest]
Food | Beverage: 9.0
Pro shop: 9.0
Pace of play: 10.0
THE COURSE | Scorecard
Best par 3: No. 7 [199 | 186 | 167 | 160 | 135 yards]
This is the designated signature hole, though there could be some debate about that. One of the course’s many forced carries begins the challenge from the tee box, but the winding creek front and left of the green provides character for the hole. A Juniper tree on the far left also contributes to the unusual look, though it’s no factor as far as playing the hole goes.
This is the course's toughest hole, and that’s saying something because there are lots of difficult holes. Length is just one factor in judging its degree of difficulty. The hole features a dogleg left with a creek in front of an elevated green that is protected by five bunkers. The fairway is wider than most but has lots of hills that play into club selection.
Best par 5: No. 2 [605 | 582 | 561 | 539 | 425 yards]
This hole grabs attention early. The hole is a dogleg right with precision shot-making required on each swing. Top players can hit this green in two, but the second shot would be about the same distance as the tee ball. Forced carries are factors on both the drive and approach. Also, the thick fescue is intimidating and the landing areas leading to the green are stringent.