Sometimes the decisions that homeowners have to make when a request for a zone change comes in the
mail are more difficult than others. In the case of Rose Hill Golf Club in South Kingstown, the decision
Located on the 18 acre plot of land that Tim Conley and Jim Manning wanted to turn into a Par 3 golf
course was a gravel pit that had been used since the 1950’s. Gravel pit or golf course? The decision was
easy, and the approval for the zone change was heartily accepted by the neighbors.
Conley and Manning own a development company and build single-family homes. They had purchased
the property in 1997 with the intention of building single family homes around the pond in the middle of
the property. As they walked the property after purchasing it, Jim Manning said to his partner, “Let’s build
a golf course.” He was only fooling, but Tim Conley, who also owns a small side business that does deep
drill aerifying and belongs to the Rhode Island Golf Course Superintendents’ Association, started mulling
the idea of a golf course in his head. “Are you serious about a golf course,” said Conley to his partner the
next week. Three years and seven months later, the course opened.
Rose Hill is a jewel. The pond in the center of the property has a causeway through it, and the water
comes into play on many of the holes. As you stand on the hill in front of the clubhouse, you can see the
entire course in front of you.
Conley and Manning needed a landscape architect and they contacted Michael Weremay of Wickford.
Weremay had done the design work for many of the courses in the area including Beaver River, Swansea’s
Par 3 and Windmill Hill. He looked at the property on a snowy winter’s day in 1998 and thought it would
be possible to put in a course.
Conley and Manning then contacted the National Golf Foundation to do a feasibility study on the
property. “They felt that a Par 3 golf course in the area would be a good fit and be successful,” said Conley.
After a year and one-half to finish the permitting process, the partners contacted Intergolf of New York.
Intergolf is a huge company that has built and shaped many golf courses around the world. Ian Futcher of
England is one of the principals at Intergolf, and he was with on the site throughout the earth moving,
shaping and seeding of the course. “We had a crew of about 15 using bulldozers, dump trucks, excavators,
and shaping equipment from August 1, 2000 to August 1, 2001,” said Futcher. He was back at the course in
September to check on the way the grass was growing. “We bought a turnkey golf course, when we hired
Intergolf, they take care of everything,” said Conley.
The golf course measures 1,206 yards from the back tees and 981 yards from the ladies tees. The holes
range in length from 74 yards to 178 yards. The course has L93 bent grass greens and tees, and a similar
pen trio bent grass in the fairways that is a little more durable. It truly looks like a professional course. The
tee boxes are large and the greens average over 5,000 square feet and are excellent to putt.
I played the course with Steve Holland, the former URI quarterback who teaches golf part-time in a
recreation program for juniors in South Kingstown. He was the first to get a hole-in- one at the course. “The
course is really fun, and you can get around it in about an hour,” commented Holland.
The first hole measures 144 yards downhill. There is a trap to the left of the green and the pond is
behind the green, so don’t go long. The second is 140 with water all the way down the right side of the
fairway. The third is the short one at 74 yards, but the green is quite slanted back to front.
The fourth is 101 yards over an edge of the pond with two small bunkers right and back of the green.
The course really starts to get tougher at the fifth. It measures 143 yards. The tee is on the causeway, and
your ball has to carry over the pond to reach the narrow but wide green. It is the most intimidating tee shot
you’ll have. The sixth hole is a long 168 yards with water down most of the left side and slightly in front of
the green. There is a bailout area to the right.
The seventh measures 129 yards with out-of bounds to the left and a large trap on the right. The eighth
hole is the longest at 178 yards. “It can play to 190 yards when the pin is in the back right,” said Holland.
There is a large trap front right of the green and a creek meanders across the fairway about 20 yards from
the green. The last hole is an uphill 129-yard hole that has a two-tiered green. There is a pot bunker in front
of the green.
Jim Lucia of Narragansett is the course superintendent. He had been the assistant at Point Judith for the
past 14 years, and he is doing an excellent job. For a new course, the greens were receptive of shots, but
still firm and fast. Being in the building industry has been a help to Conley and Manning. They did all the
landscaping and parking area, and built the clubhouse that will have seating for 50 as well as a patio that
seats 40 and overlooks the course.
You will like playing Rose Hill. With their professional greens and pretty layout, you will get a good
test of your golf game. Remember that seventy percent of all golf shots are played from within 100 yards of
To get to the course take Route 138 west from the tower on Route 1 for 2.5 miles to Rose Hill. Take a
left and the course is just less than a mile down on the right. From Route 95 take Route 138E past URI to
the sign on the right. This is a fun course to play and takes just about an hour. Close to the beaches, it
makes a nice change of pace and a chance to hit a few golf shots.