Par 35 and 3,154 Yards
#1~Par 4~366 Yards
The modest length opening hole demands a precise tee shot into the left side of the fairway, between a hidden creek left of the fairway and the large pine tree that guards the right front of the green. The large green complex slopes from left to right and back to front with classic Donald Ross features of a false front, back, and right. An opening par is a successful beginning.
#2~Par 4~390 Yards
The ideal tee shot here is straight away, down the middle. Trees and O.B. are right. Trees and a deep bunker in the landing area left make par a chore from the ill-placed drive. After an ideal tee shot, the approach here is severely uphill, usually requiring an extra club. A false front repels any shot not carrying into the green’s belly. A large green that slopes back to front allows for a variety of pin positions.
#3~Par 5~534 Yards
The first par five on the course should be attacked aggressively off the elevated tee box to a generous fairway below. One must avoid the bunker in the left landing area, and the tree grove on the right. A well struck and placed drive sets the golfer up to hit this green in two as the hole plays downhill through the green. A false front, back, and right at the green reminds the player not to fall asleep with regard to distance and direction. A word of caution: homeowners down #3 on both sides are well-stocked with ProV1s from errant tee shots.
#4~Par 4~398 Yards
Guests typically call this the longest 398 yard par four in North Carolina. The perfect tee shot is right center as the fairway slopes from right to left. There is a severe slope downward just past the 150 marker down to about the 100 yard plaque. Trees right and left of the fairway, with OB looming in both directions just beyond, make this a nervy drive. Another large green awaits one’s approach with a long greenside bunker right and a false back that abuts the O.B. North Road. The green is sloped from back to front, is two-tiered with a false right in the back part of the green. When the pin is in position #1, on the back tier, this is regarded by most as the most challenging hole on the golf course. The effective putting area back there is only about fifteen feet deep and twenty-five feet wide. A shot two yards short of the shelf will trickle back leaving a difficult-to-judge 30-40 footer and a shot two yards long can easily send the ball O.B.
#5~Par 4~389 Yards
A short hole for a #1 handicap, there is plenty that can go wrong here. (But let’s try to not think negatively for a moment.) The perfect tee shot is down the right center of the fairway. To achieve perfection, however, one must flirt with the unforgiving North Road, which is O.B. right. Trees along North Road sometimes throw right-ward tee balls back into play, but that’s usually a bad bet. Moreover, because the fairway slopes right to left, a bunker guards the landing area left, and most ominously of all, overhanging trees from the left droop into the left fairway airspace, the effective landing area for the tee shot is only 15 yards wide. The green is large, sloped back to front, with a false front and right. A back left pin turns this hole into a real bear.
#6~Par 3~181 Yards
Deceptively difficult, especially for a #17 handicap hole, this downhill par 3 plays a half club short, but threading it through the trees is only the golfer’s first challenge. Greenside bunkers left, right, and short leave no bail out area. The green is one of the most demanding on the course as it slopes sharply from front to back and left to right. When running at 11 or more on the Stimpmeter, a back right pin (pin position #1) on #6 is diabolical.
#7~Par 4~418 Yards
The best driving hole on the golf course, this tee box is elevated and invites a towering fade to a gentle dogleg that moves left to right. One is invited to “let the big dog eat” on the generous fairway below, but one cannot get careless as O.B. loom both left (“Don’t hit the cart path!”) and right (“Give me a kick back!”). The green complex was designed as a run-up green with no barriers in front and a green that slopes from back to front. There is a dramatic drop off in the back which discourages over-clubbing. Many regard this green as the trickiest to read on the course, especially when the hole is in the back third of the green.
#8~Par 4~384 Yards
A new Black tee box makes this hole very different from its cousins at the up-tees (351, blue; 341, white; 289, gold; and, 272, red). The Black tee shot requires a fade that peeks at the creek on the left as it veers back into the fairway. From the up-tees, the shot is straightway but must avoid the aforementioned creek left while also finding a spot between the bunker and tree on the left and a large tree on the right which guards approach shots into the green. #8 green has the most pronounced false front on the golf course. A shot not carrying the top can easily peel back 10-20 yards into the fairway leaving a new challenge back up the slope from a tight lie. The green also boasts false sides both left and right, with sand-traps well-placed on both sides to swallow up any shots slightly off-line. Breaks on this green tend to be subtle and deceptive and this green is exceptionally long and narrow.
#9~Par 3~ 210 Yards
With the pin in the back (pin position #1), this hole can stretch out to 230 yards from the tips. Ouch. A long kidney shaped green with creek and bunker left, make par here is a successful conclusion to the front nine. The optimal tee shot is a draw into the sharply back to front sloped, two-tier, green. Bail out area is to the right, but an up-and-down here from the tight pitching area tests even the best’s short game mettle.
Par 36 and 3,453 Yards
#10~Par 4~382 Yards
Two bunkers on the right and a severely sloping fairway from right to left make this a demanding tee shot. A drive that carries 250 yards can airmail the right bunkers, but for the mortal golfers among us, a well-placed fade down the middle will leave a short to mid-iron approach to a green that is guarded by a front right greenside bunker. Too far right and one is either bunker bound or in a forest of trees. A drive too far left, in the fairway or the rough, leaves a punch shot under the overhanging branches or a risky hook shot around them. There is a severe false left to the green with a creek over there to boot. The green also has a penal false back discouraging aggressive approaches to back pins. The green divides into four quadrants, two front and two back, each with its own subtle breaks, mostly from back to front and toward the creek. Most wonder why this is only the 16th ranked handicap hole. Maybe the good lunch in the grill room at the turn colored the course raters’ outlook here.
#11~Par 4~ 410 Yards
Holes 11 and 12 are typically upwind and thus play as the longest par fours on the course. #11 has the most bunkers on the course and golfers must place their tee shots with care to avoid them. A well-struck tee shot leaves a mid to short iron into a green protected on the front left by a bunker and false sides, both left and right, as well as a drop off along the entire back. The green is sloped from back to front and slightly from right to left, though there are subtleties throughout this green surface.
#12~ Par 4~ 415 Yards
This is regarded as one of the more difficult holes because of length, but also because hitting it in the wrong places here seems to pay worse dividends than elsewhere. A short-ish bunker down the left side of the fairway captures and punishes poorly hit drives with its steep face. Another bunker down the right side catches well-struck tee shots that are slightly off line. The optimal line is left center of the fairway. Trees left and right of the fairway leave few options for recovery. If one negotiates the tee shot successfully, a mid to short iron approach leaves good birdie options on one of the course’s smaller greens. There is a false left, back, and right with a fairly simple greenside bunker also on the right. O.B. encroaches down the entire left side of this hole and a creek behind the green can catch approach shots struck strong. The green slopes from back to front and can be surprisingly quick when cut close and rolled.
#13~ Par 5~ 560 Yards
The second par 5 on the course stretches out straight ahead and typically downwind, tempting longer hitters to reach it in two. Grant’s Creek runs all along the left side of this hole (as well as behind the 14th green and the 15th tee box). Two bunkers left threaten offline tee shots. Trees right require the golfer to aim right down the pipe and stripe it. The second shot must carry, or thread between, a bunker left and one (very deep) right, yet come up short of a middle-of-the-fairway bunker 70 yards short of the green. Ordinarily the second shot is a strategic lay-up to about 90-100 yards from the green’s center. A long drive can set up a second shot carry over the fairway bunker and lead to an eagle pitch into the green. This green is generous, sloped from back to front, and has a bunker on the right side. False front, left, and back force the golfer to land the ball squarely on the green surface. Definitely a birdie opportunity if played wisely.
#14~ Par 3~ 180 Yards
The only forced carry over water on the course, this par three has an intimidating appearance from the tee. The green, though large and generous, looks like only a thin sliver of grass because of the deceptive perspective from the teeing grounds. The bail out area is short right. Long right is an especially bad option as a hidden greenside bunker lurks under the old oak tree. Short and left is in the creek. It’s best to suck it up, pick a club that will get one to the middle left of the green, and take dead aim. One of the more difficult greens on the course to putt, this one slopes dramatically from right to left, though near the water the breaks often fool golfers as they straighten out or even go the opposite of what is expected. A notoriously difficult green to newcomers, members are encouraged to press, if possible, on this tee box.
#15~ Par 5~ 490 Yards
The third, and final, par five on the course invites visions of birdie. A dogleg left, the last half of which plays uphill, this hole ordinarily plays downwind. The typical golfer must avoid the two bunkers down the left. The long driver takes it over those bunkers, yet risks some gnarly rough in doing so, and trees and even O.B. if they get too aggressive. The longer tee shot toward fairway risks reaching two bunkers long and right. A good tee shot in the fairway leaves a second shot into the green that must carry a bunker 35 yards short of the green in the middle of the fairway. The typical entry into this green is front left, where the green breaks toward the right. A false front on the greenside left provides defense as does a right greenside bunker. Bailing out left is no bargain as mounding there makes for difficult pitch shots. A severe backstop on the back middle/right of this green repels approach shots back down into the green and makes for especially interesting drama when the pin is cut back right or middle. A ridge runs through the middle of this green left to right, making for difficult putts from above the hole when the greens are fast. A good rule here: never go over this green, especially right. Short left makes for a tidy up and down.
#16~ Par 4~ 385 Yards
Like #5, this is not a terribly long hole for a #2 handicap designation, but it earns its reputation because of what can happen. The tee shot is to a turtleback fairway that runs off left and right. The tee shot must carry a ridge at about 230 yards, then run downhill towards the green. Left is unforgiving and easily O.B. Right is better only because there are no penalty shots, but one is rewarded for one’s over-cautiousness with a side-hill shot from the rough and under trees. A well-placed drive leaves a short-ish iron into the green, but the approach is no bargain. In fact, no approach on the course requires greater attention than here on 16. There are greenside bunkers left and right, but these are more friend than foe since an approach shot that misses the green and the bunker left will likely end up O.B. Approach shots long are almost always O.B. Best to be precise here, and if not, at least short. There is a false front, and a drop off left, back, and right. The green is sloped back to front and tends to play fast. Grab your par here and run to the next tee.
#17~ Par 3~ 205 Yards
Don’t let the #14 handicap rating fool you; this is one of the most difficult holes on the course. The tee shot is through a chute of trees to an elevated green and quite often plays into the wind—easily playing a club longer most days. There is a deep greenside bunker right and the false front repels short shots back down the slope. The green is ample, but undulating, and a ridge runs up the middle from front to back, breaking from left to right. The slope of the green is fairly severe from back to front. Bail out left and you’ll have a tight lie and tough pitch into a downhill, fast green. There is a backstop on the back left of this green and if the pin is cut into the back left, you can get a rebound back down the slope to the hole, as well as a roll back to the right back if one catches the slope just right. When birdies happen here they will frequently shake up a match.
#18~ Par 4~ 395 Yards
A great finishing hole. A dogleg left, the tee shot is downhill and the approach to the green is uphill. Unless you carry completely over the left corner of the dogleg, you’ll have some sort of side-hill lie. One must avoid the trees left as there are almost no windows to the green from there. Drive right, over the firs and pines and you’ll land on the maintenance shed for a 2-shot re-tee. The optimal drive here is at the big pine with a draw. After that the golfer is left with a short iron into a green that slopes sharply from back to front. The green is protected with a deep bunker on the right and a false front left where short shots can roll thirty yards down the bank. When the green is rolling fast, a middle pin is probably the most difficult since there is a sharp slope running across the green’s center. Players have routinely putted off the green from above the hole when the pin is cut front left. Not a pleasant way to finish one’s round, but the grill room and bar is only about 40 yards away. It’s best to keep the ball below the hole, for sure, but if you play it safe and deeper into the green then you must putt defensively here or pay the consequences.