South Shore Shines in South County

By Joe McDonald

RIGA Senior Writer


SOUTH KINGSTOWN – Tucked away in the woods, this pristine landscape of South Shore Golf Club has emerged as a jewel in South County and beyond. 


The brainchild of owner Larry LeBlanc, the South Shore Village and Country Club is a 9-hole, 3,407-yard, par-35 course and is the centerpiece of Rhode Island’s premier 55-plus active golf community It’s also the first brand new course in Rhode Island in more than 20 years. LeBlanc has been a residential and commercial real estate builder and developer throughout New England since 1969. He believes South Shore Golf Club, and the surrounding property, is one of his best developments. 


Doug Long, the property’s manager/superintendent, has worked closely with LeBlanc to complete this project. 


“He has reached the achievement far greater than he had ever hoped for and the feedback and accolades that this golf course has received so far is beyond his wildest dreams,” Long said. “He’s hoping that’s going to parlay into the town understanding and realizing that impact this golf course can have on the greater community.” 


The club had a soft opening in the fall and is excited for its official grand opening in April for residents of South Shore Village and guests. In time, LeBlanc hopes to open the facility to the public. 


“We’ve received great reviews and people love playing the golf course,” Long said. “It has that private-club atmosphere and it’s just a unique piece of property.” 


Feedback has been positive for a few reasons, including its unique design and challenging playability. The course was designed by Ronald Stuart Cutlip and is a perfect facility for every type of golfer. It’s also been designed to play as a par-3 course that’s perfect for everyone, including players who live on the property and want to enjoy a relaxing round of golf, or the beginner who is looking to improve their game. 


“It was paramount and integral to the design, which is why I came up with this concept called ‘flex golf.’ So, basically it has the ultimate flexibility, depending on your skill level, and now you want to practice your game,” explained Long. 


Long has been asked several times to pick his favorite hole on the new course. It’s difficult for him to answer because of the track’s unique design. 


“We basically have nine golf holes that are like nine children. You can’t really pick one better than the other, because they are so unique to each other,” Long said. 


However, the course’s signature hole is No. 9. 


“It’s a great golf hole,” Long said. “People love No. 9 and they can’t wait for the waterfall feature to be active. They love the ambiance of the bridge, the bunker and the stream. They also loved the variety of the tee boxes.” 


The golf course is also a non-profit operation with proceeds being divided between two charitable organizations – St. Jude Children’s Hospital and South County Hospital. In fact, SSGC has already donated $1,700 to South County Hospital. 


Giving back is LeBlanc’s “mission in life,” Long said. “I’m right behind him on what he wants to achieve.” 


The practice range is expansive, and the clubhouse is in the final planning stages. Residents of South Shore Villages have preferred tee times, and the course is also open to the public.


“From the time you drive into the beautiful homes within the complex, with the golf course just ahead, you know you are in for a very special playing experience,” said URI men’s golf coach Gregg Burke. “The layout is so well designed that it is a challenge for a high handicapper to the Division I golfer and top amateur. The two hallmarks of the course are the challenge of the tight fairways, tee shot with challenging bunkering to access the green, and the incredible green complexes themselves. 


“The size of the greens and the devilish slopes and tucked areas allow for more pin placements than virtually any course around. This is not a golf course where you look at the yardages and think birdies; it is one you look at the holes and think respect. Along with Whitinsville Golf Club, the Par Three Course at Shelter Harbor, South Shore is a top three, nine-hole layout in New England.” 


South Shore is a perfect challenge of course management and learn to hit every club in the bag.


“This golf course will help them become better golfers,” Long said. “Even if you’re having a bad day, it looks pretty and it’s exciting to play. It’s interesting and uniquely different. It has all the elements in it and a lot of time and effort went into what we have here.”