Royal New Kent golf course - no. 7
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Royal New Kent golf course - no. 7
The Tradition Club at Royal New Kent is a prime example of the imagination of the late architect Mike Strantz. Pictured is the par-4 seventh hole. Courtesy of Lester Poole/Royal New Kent
Images
Royal New Kent golf course - no. 1
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Royal New Kent golf course - no. 1
The first hole at Royal New Kent is a sharp downhill dogleg left par 4. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Royal New Kent golf course - no. 3
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Royal New Kent golf course - no. 3
A look back on the green of the par-3 third hole at Royal New Kent in Providence Forge, Virginia. Courtesy of Lester Poole/Royal New Kent
Royal New Kent golf course - no. 4
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Royal New Kent golf course - no. 4
Fairway bunkers loom off the tee on the long par-4 fourth hole at Royal New Kent in Providence Forge, Virginia. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Royal New Kent golf course - no. 5
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Royal New Kent golf course - no. 5
The fifth at Royal New Kent is a lengthy par 5 with plenty of trouble along the way. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Royal New Kent golf course - no. 7
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Royal New Kent golf course - no. 7
One of the prettiest holes at Royal New Kent is the 199-yard par-3 seventh. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Royal New Kent golf course - no. 8
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Royal New Kent golf course - no. 8
Here's the tee shot on the quirky dogleg right par-4 eighth hole at Royal New Kent in Providence Forge, Virginia. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Royal New Kent golf course - no. 10
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Royal New Kent golf course - no. 10
The back nine begins with the longest hole at Royal New Kent, the 618-yard, par-5 10th. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Royal New Kent golf course - no. 11
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Royal New Kent golf course - no. 11
There's lots of trouble on the uphill approach shot of the par-4 11th at Royal New Kent in Providence Forge, Virginia. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Royal New Kent golf course - no. 12
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Royal New Kent golf course - no. 12
The par-3 12th, like much of Royal New Kent, has a difficult green. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Royal New Kent golf course - no. 13
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Royal New Kent golf course - no. 13
Three large greenside bunkers loom left of the green on the par-4 13th at Royal New Kent in Providence Forge, Virginia. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Royal New Kent golf course - no. 16
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Royal New Kent golf course - no. 16
The par-4 16th at Royal New Kent requires a right-to-left tee shot. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Royal New Kent golf course - no. 17
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Royal New Kent golf course - no. 17
From the upper tees par-5 17th at Royal New Kent presents a great birdie opportunity. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Royal New Kent golf course - no. 18
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Royal New Kent golf course - no. 18
The approach shot on the par-4 18th, the no. 4 handicap hole at Royal New Kent in Providence Forge, Virginia. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor

Classic Mike Strantz magic: Royal New Kent golf course near Richmond, Virginia

PROVIDENCE FORGE, Va. -- Opened in 1996, The Tradition Club at Royal New Kent was created from the vast imagination of the late architect Mike Strantz. This link-style course -- which was built at the same time as the Strantz-designed sister course, Stonehouse Golf Club -- provides twists and turns at every corner. There are blind shots, unusual angles, dramatic greens and a rolling landscape that provides a different test from every set of tees and every time you play it.

Speaking of tees, it can be stretched to nearly 7,500 yards from the "Invicta" tees, but unless you play golf for a living or will, it's a test most mortals should never undertake. The reason is that this course is challenging, no matter what tees you play, which is why golfers here should think shorter rather than longer. Because of the course's many nuances, there are no easy shots, yet there's nothing unfair about the layout. You just have to think your way through it.

There's also ample room off the tee in most cases, so the magic is in the second shots. Each hole provides a variety of options on how to attack it. In many cases, a more aggressive approach can be rewarded, but that's not always the case. Often the conservative approach, especially off the tee, is by far the best option.

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.
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