The championship course at Red Bridge Golf & Country Club undulates softly over 6,735 yards of manicured Bermuda grass fairways and MiniVerde greens designed by David Postlethwait, a protégé of renowned course architect Pete Dye. Solo golfers or twosomes can navigate carts across the links' rolling fairways and mine for gold in water holes carved by natural streams. Buckets of practice balls warm players up before rounds, or allow them to correct errors after 18 holes. Nestled on 500 acres in the Uwharrie Mountains, the scenic course doles out dizzying views of the surrounding landscapes and Red Bridge's fruitful vineyard.
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Designed by golf legend Arnold Palmer, Birkdale Golf Club’s course transforms natural beauty into challenging obstacles, with 200 acres of rolling hills intersected by streams and framed by mature pines. The course’s bermuda fairways lie beyond elevation changes that give way to greenscapes festooned with ponds and deep, stone-lined bunkers that test players to use every club in their bags before desperately reaching for the oversized soup ladle. Once approach shots find the green, golfers must putt precisely atop the firm and true crenshaw bentgrass greens.
Birkdale Golf Club pampers players before and after rounds with a practice range and onsite tavern trimmed with rich wood hues and green leather barstools. The club also staffs a team of PGA pro instructors who school pupils in the arts of swinging and scorecard penmanship with private lessons and group clinics.
Course at a Glance:
* Par 72
* Four sets of tees
* Length of 7,013 yards from back tees
* Course rating of 74.3 from back tees
* Slope rating of 138 from back tees
Not every shot at Crescent Golf Club is created equal. Though the usual requirements of distance, accuracy, and guts are necessary to score well throughout the 18-hole course, a few shots stand out and may even haunt players well after their round is over. On No. 8?a par 3?tee shots must sail over a pond before alighting on a shallow green, leaving little room for error. On the par 4 16th, meanwhile, a tricky approach onto an elevated green can provide some drama as competitors fight to sink shots without resorting to wizardry. If these holes trip players up, a 7-acre driving range rubs shoulders with the course near the clubhouse, providing plenty of opportunity for them to hone their swings in preparation for their next bout with the course.
Course at a Glance:
* 18-hole, par 72 course
* Total length of 6,822 yards from the back tees
* Course rating of 73.1 from the back tees
* Course slope of 130 from the back tees
* Four sets of tees per hole
Leatherman Golf Learning Center's driving range showcases a mastery of both utility and aesthetics. A double-decker driving range is the back porch of a handsome, colonial-style farmhouse. The sides of the top deck are bordered by white fences that match the walls of the building itself; underneath, players take aim at the target greens from sheltered hitting bays on the first floor. The range anchors a practice facility that also includes putting and chipping greens and a sand trap. PGA Class A pro Chris Leatherman uses the facility for private and group instruction.
The golf center also fosters whimsical play with an 18-hole miniature golf course. The course weaves through colorful landscaping, streams, and waterfalls that keep guests cool on a hot day or when putting with a soldering iron.
Whether golf finds you unsteady in your ill-fitting plus fours, or you're a seasoned veteran capable of nonchalant holes-in-zero, Ratcliffe's courses provide ability-appropriate challenges. The Charles T. Myers course is especially ideal for the inexperienced, but capable of providing challenges if you go in a mixed-level group. Sunset Hills offers a similarly nuanced but non-intimidating experience. Renaissance Park makes an especially verdant selection, featuring a professionally designed landscape stuffed to the brim with flora, expansive bentgrass greens, and rich clusters of foliage. With a rental cart shuttling you from hole to hole, you'll keep your legs fresh enough to compete in a youth soccer game after playing 18 holes.