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By Design


hen the owners of the

Foxwoods Country Club

in the village of Wyoming,

Rhode Island, decided to build a

new 36-hole complex closer to their

casino resort, the course was closed

and lay fallow for six years.

It was then bought by the

developers of The Preserve at

Boulder Hills, whose vision was to

create a four-season sporting retreat

and game reserve. This was to

incorporate numerous recreational

elements, including fly fishing,

rock climbing, off-road biking, bird

hunting fields and a range of cabin


Once these elements had been

designed into the rugged property,

60 acres remained for golf. The

owner hired Robert McNeil, ASGCA,

to provide a solution that would

complement their vision for the resort.

Having considered a number of

executive and nine-hole layouts,

McNeil proposed an 18-hole par-three

championship course. “It fit perfectly

with the varying elevations of the

property,” says McNeil, “embracing

the natural rock outcroppings and

flowing meadows of the site. Each

hole would be memorable and rest

within its own setting—with no two

holes having remotely the same look.”

Although some of the logistical

elements of the previous routing

were utilized, all the course work was

new, with construction developed

from hand-drawn sketches and field

directives moving the work towards

the final product.

In order to achieve the design

objectives to produce a sustainable,

indigenous golf course, all materials

were generated from the existing

site. Rootzone mix from the existing

tees and greens was harvested,

screened and reused. Bunker sand

was obtained from a large sand vein

within the property where a new

fishing pond would be located. And

gravel from the site provided all green

and course drainage material.

The result is a course that

completely embraces the sporting

character of the property. To get to

the first tee, golfers embark on a

10-minute cart ride that encounters

rock climbing faces, natural

meadows, a roaming range and fly

fishing ponds. These other uses

were deeply integrated into the golf

course development. For example,

vegetation was introduced to create

big game feeding meadows and

small game fields which are part of

the golf experience as players travel

through the property, while fly

fishing ponds also serve a function as

strategic features on golf holes and

a self-sustaining water resource for

irrigation of the course.

In its first few months of operation

The Preserve at Boulder Hills attracted

a healthy membership and much local

and national attention. It hosted the

Benrus Open in 2015 and is set to

welcome the PGA Seniors Legends

event in 2017.


Wyoming, Rhode Island

Golf course architect:

Robert McNeil,

ASGCA, The Northeast Golf Company

Project summary:

With developers

wanting to incorporate a wide range

of leisure and sporting activities on

their property, an existing golf course

was converted to an 18-hole par

three course, constructed entirely from

materials that existed on site.


NMP Golf Construction

The Preserve at Boulder Hills

A unique experience

Rhode Island resort celebrates outdoor life

Photo: The Preserve at Boulder Hills