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November 2 — Don’t blink or you may drive past the modest clubhouse that fronts Rhode Island’s newly renovated Meadowbrook golf course, a Golfweek pick as one of the best new tracks in 2010.
While the criss-crossed fairways and lack of flow from many greens to tees underwhelmed this golf observer, the redesign caught the fancy of Golfweek, which tagged it the 29th best new course of the year. The original course opened in 1929, but Meadowbrook earned its “new” status because noted course architect Roger Rulewich completely revamped the layout.
New route. “Meadow Brook was totally rerouted, and while some hole corridors remain, much of it is newly sequenced and entirely new in turf and hazards,” Golfweek’s Brad Klein tells New England Golf Monthly.
Golfers may walk the public course for $50 on weekdays and $60 on weekends. You may also earn “loyalty rewards” good at other Rhody courses owned by the Hendrick family, Richmond CC and Exeter CC. Call 401-539-8491 for tee times.
Shining Rock. The other New England entry to the Golfweek list is Massachusetts’ Shining Rock Golf Club (Northbridge), which opened to play in April. At No. 40 on Golfweek’s roster, Shining Rock was the only Bay State course to make the cut.
Shining Rock, like many golf clubs across the country and in New England, suffered financial woes before new ownership bought the 146-acre property at a foreclosure auction in 2004. Now, golfers enjoy dramatic elevation changes, including an 80-foot rise from the sixth green to the seventh tee.
Multiple tees. Course superintendent Patrick Sullivan managed the construction of the semi-private 18-hole course that plays at almost 7,000 yards from the tips. While not quite 5,000 yards from the forward tees sounds short, the par-72 layout offers three to five tee areas on each hole.
The club offers 125 full annual memberships  ($2,950 for non-residents, plus a non-refundable $250 application fee). In addition to the usual amenities, members receive limited reciprocal golf privileges at nearby Massachusetts tracks Hopkinton CC and Sterling CC, as well as Norton (Mass.) CC and Quidnessett CC (North Kingston, R.I.). Call 508-234-0400.

(Emily Kay is a regular contributor to New England Golf Monthly. Check her out at the Boston Golf Examiner and National Golf Examiner websites.)

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