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Rhode Island Donald Ross design reincarnated as a 9-hole muni

Rhode Island Donald Ross design reincarnated as a 9-hole muni

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. — I was ready to play MetLinks Golf Course, but I wasn’t ready for the emotional journey.

Metacomet Country Club is dead, never to return. MetLinks will never be able to replicate it, but it does a great job encapsulating what the course was and keeps its spirit very much alive.

But for someone who grew up on the course and spent his formative years there, seeing it in person was quite a shock to the system.

My history

I wasn’t a member at Metacomet Country Club. I grew up a few streets away and, when I was 15, started working as a caddie. I learned the game there, fell in love with golf there and whenever I was in between jobs or needed some extra money, it was there for me.

While not every employee had the same experience that I did, there were countless people there, both employees and members, who affected my life in ways they don’t even understand. Many of these people are the same ones who congratulated me when I got hired at The Journal or offer praise about my work when we run into each other because they remember me as a kid chasing a dream.

The year that Metacomet closed, I tried to squeeze in as many rounds as possible. I planned to play the final day it was open, but that was until I rolled a downhill 15-footer on the 18th hole — a putt I’d seen hundreds of times in my life — for birdie a few days earlier. I decided that would be my last golf memory at the club.

A member invited me to be his guest the final night the club was open. It felt very much like a funeral. People told stories, shared memories and celebrated a club that provided so much fun for so many people.

When it came to private golf courses in Rhode Island, many people wanted the status that would come with being a member at Rhode Island Country Club or Wannamoiset. But more wanted to be at Metacomet, because you could play good golf and have a party at the same time.

Heading to MetLinks last Thursday for its grand opening, I took the left-hand turn off Veterans Memorial Parkway and entered the property. You could have put a blindfold on me at that point and I would have been able to park my car without an issue. I might have been better served because what I saw hurt more than I could have ever expected.

It’s one thing to drive around the property and see the overgrown fairways, downed trees and missing greens. It’s another to roll up the driveway and see it up close. I parked my car along the hedges on the left side of the lot, my…


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