Course architect David Postlethwait designed the dramatic fairways of the course at Riverwood Golf Club to reward both distance and accuracy. Nestled alongside the Neuse River, the course’s Bermuda grass fairways lead to newly renovated bentgrass greens, and golfers aim away from two ponds, a smattering of water hazards, and the ball-hungry salamanders that lurk in sand bunkers. The 27-hole complex has served as the host course for a handful of tournaments, including the 1999 National Junior Golf Championship and the Annual Riverwood Amateur. Before hitting the fairways, players can warm up at one of the driving range’s 36 hitting stations.
Course at a Glance:
Pine Hollow Golf Club's 18-hole, par 71 course winds through 6,503 yards of Bermuda fairways hemmed by proximate waters and tucked in the shadows of mature arbors. Though players may be intimidated by the course's tight, tree-lined fairways, the round's real test awaits at each green, where Crenshaw bentgrass surfaces coalesce with subtle undulations to form breaks more difficult to negotiate than a peace treaty between long-competing golf carts and caddies. Water comes into play on six different holes, including the signature 17th hole, a 473-yard par 5 that doglegs gently to the left, setting up a treacherous forced-carry into a green guarded by water on the right and front and flanked by a left-side bunker. Four tee options temper the difficulty of this moderately challenging course, providing an enjoyable outing for players of all abilities and those attempting to complete a round with modified mannequin legs instead of clubs.
Kenrick Smith and his team of golf instructors are driven by one central goal in their eight-week lesson package: turn beginners into lifetime golfers. Kenrick’s academy, The Triangle Junior Golf School, provides a curriculum that focuses on building a fundamentally sound swing and a teaching environment that is fun, constructive, and does not force students to forage for their own bounty of wild golf balls. Though primarily geared toward junior golfers, the school offers lessons and clinics to clubbers of all ages and abilities. The Triangle School’s indoor facility fosters year-round practice, allowing players to hone their swings without fearing rain or dust storms created by rebellious sand traps.
Seaduction Dive Services imparts both technical and recreational scuba instruction upon phalange-equipped fins of all experience levels. Schools of Seaduction swimmers follow founder Michael Ange, a dive training and safety expert who has written six diving textbooks and served as an editor for Scuba Diving magazine.
From the very first tee shot over a lake to the pond protecting the left side of the 18th green, the course at River Ridge Golf Club pits players against the physical and psychological challenges brought by omnipresent water hazards, including the Neuse River that intersects the course on several holes.
Architect Chuck Smith’s 1997 design weaves course play through a 6,740-yard gauntlet furnished with a plush carpet of bermuda-grass fairways and rough that gives way to fast-moving G-6 bent-grass greens. The course's signature 5th hole rewards golfers who keep their tee shots on the fairway with a short-iron approach that must clear a large pond and any caddies sunbathing in the large greenside bunker.
As a semiprivate club, membership at River Ridge unlocks a slew of benefits not available to the general public. Though the practice area—composed of a driving range and putting and chipping greens—is open to everyone, only members may make use of the locker rooms, club storage, and handicap program provided at the clubhouse. Additionally, members are granted access to special events, tournaments, and PGA pro Tim Cockrell’s lessons, which help players calibrate putting strokes and find their swing after a long time away from the game to search for their favorite golf ball that got lost in the Neuse River.
Course at a Glance:
Named among Golfweek magazine's Best New Courses and Best Campus Courses in 2010, Lonnie Poole Golf Course tests players of all skill levels with 18 challenging holes spread over 250 acres of Raleigh woodlands. Designed by the Arnold Palmer Design Group—including two North Carolina State grads as architects—the landscape features several shifts in elevation as the greens meander around large buffer areas. In its abundant turf grass and stormwater runoffs, the course also facilitates research from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences while taking extra care to preserve the streams and wild golf balls native to the Neuse River watershed.
As both the NC State men's and women's golf teams can attest, Lonnie Poole challengers golfers from the very first tee, which taunts drivers with bunkers on both sides and a sharp fall-off past the green. From there, the fifth hole ups the ante with a dogleg to the right and tall trees, whereas the 12th hole sends shots hurtling down a downhill fairway that narrows as the green nears and primes its anti-air missiles.
Course at a Glance: