At dawn, just as the sun breaks the horizon and the morning dew is still a fragrant glaze blanketing the freshly mown lawn, golfers find solace in the pinging sound of golf balls that soar across the beautifully landscaped terrain. The 18-hole course at Northwoods Golf Club is a welcoming oasis for golfers of all stripes, summoning players to traverse the immaculate grounds. The course was designed to emanate southern charm with rows of towering pine trees and the tranquil waters of Moores Pond, a prominent feature on multiple holes. Designed by P.B. Dye, son of famous course architect Pete Dye, the track stretches 6,800 yards for a par of 72. PGA professionals Greg McBride and Burke Cromer oversee the club's lessons, making use of the lighted driving range to help students improve their iron play and no-look reverse drives well after the sun goes down.
Course at a Glance:
Measuring 6,074 yards from the tips, the course at The Club at Rawls Creek doesn't demand extreme distance off of the tee to score well—but it will challenge golfers' short game and putting skills. Installed in 2006, the course's mini-verde Bermuda grass greens create an ultra-fast surface, requiring a touch more delicate than a headcover made from a pink feather boa. The layout also features numerous par-threes with elevated tees, where tee shots drop as much as 60 feet to reach the flagstick.
After their round draws to a close, golfers can refuel at the Creekside Grille. There, four flat-screen TVs broadcast the day's sporting events, and porch seating lets guests look out onto the grounds and discover constellations from the divots in the grass.
Course at a Glance:
Sculpted into 160 acres of rolling hills and forests of oak, pine, and dogwood, Oak Hills Golf Club provides a scenic challenge for golfers skilled and novice. The course designed by Steve Melnyk and Davis Love III features manicured Tifway 419 bermuda-grass fairways and elevated, undulating greens. Players might want to keep a still-life painter in the bag for when they reach the elevated tee box on the par 5 hole 18, where a viewing of nine different holes manifests itself in a verdant panorama of course and countryside. The Oak Hills staff of veteran PGA professionals amends swings during private lessons for adults and youths.
With certifications in golf instruction and club fitting and a degree from the Golf Academy of America, assistant pro Adam Sanford fosters smooth swings and improved skills in each club-toting trainee. Adam imparts hard-won golf wisdom at the Club's comprehensive practice facility, which features areas to hone full swings, putts, chips, and scissor-kick approaches. The 45–60 minute lesson helps iron out on-course kinks by giving special attention to short-game fundamentals, the most critical facet to holistic golf improvement and overcoming the taunts from rival fans sitting in the sand-bunker bleachers.
Lake Murray Golf Center appeals to both putt-practitioners and full-scale iron swingers by placing a miniature course alongside nine regular holes. Quartets can take to the 18-hole miniature-golf course as many times as they desire to send spherical associates caroming toward their targets. Golf balls navigating the littler links must dodge fountains, streams, and a 15-foot waterfall that churns fresh Arnold Palmers.
As golfers stand over teed-up golf balls, staring down the fairway of Indian Trail Golf Course’s 370-yard 14th hole—the course signature—they may be perplexed by its ranking as the round’s most difficult hole. Though the scorecard reads “short par 4,” the hole packs a good deal of hardship into its diminutive stature. Golfers must aim for the top of the fairway hill off the tee, while steering clear of the boulder on the right side and the large pond just beyond. Players are forgiven for going the conservative route with a long iron off the tee, as opposed to risking the driver or a retrofitted t-shirt cannon. If they leave themselves a decent lie on the approach, a two-tiered green awaits just over the water, making three-putts an all-too-common occurrence.
While not every hole features boulders, uphill fairways, and the ever-present threat of boogeyman attacks, the course is characterized by the ubiquitous threat of hazards. In all, nine ponds and more than 40 bunkers haunt players along the 6,272 yards of Bermuda-covered terrain, lending an air of hostility to the otherwise pristine surroundings.
Course at a Glance: