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Royal New Kent - Slideshow
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Royal New Kent is a Mike Strantz designed golf course in Providence Forge, Virginia
Photo © Jay Flemma, A Walk in the Park; used with permission

Royal New Kent opened in Providence Forge, Va., in 1997, and has grown in stature ever since. It was named Best New Upscale Public Course in the U.S. the year of its opening by Golf Digest, and has made that publication's Top 100 list. Golf Magazine has praised Royal New Kent, too, named one of the Top 100 You Can Play.

Royal New Kent tips out at 7,374 yards, and those tees carry a 152 slope and 76.5 course rating. Jay Flemma writes of those tees that they can only be played by golfers who "leave their driver's license or credit card at the pro shop. These are returned in exchange for the players' scorecards upon completion of their rounds. Scorecards are displayed in the clubhouse grill room for the amusement of all."

Architect Mike Strantz fashioned Royal New Kent after inland links courses in Ireland. While much of the course is surrounded by tree, almost all of them are well outside the playing areas. Royal New Kent features deep bunkers, windswept fescue and dunes. There are blind but open approaches to large, multi-tiered greens, and forced carries.

Writes Flemma: "Everything at RNK is huge - the bunkers, the greens, the forced carries - everything. The end result is a fierce and intimidating behemoth of a golf course ... players (make) the pilgrimage for a true and unique test of their talent and psyche. When you think you are good, come to Royal New Kent."

Photo: No. 5 at Royal New Kent is another par-5, this one measuring 576 yards from the Gold tees (which are just under 7,000 yards total).

Photographer: Jay Flemma

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