Jeremy Qualls has taken a somewhat atypical path toward teaching the game of golf. Unlike many teaching pros, his career didn’t start in earnest until he was in his mid-20s, after serving for eight years as a marine in Iraq. Since military life didn’t leave much time for practice, nearly all of Qualls's improvement as a player came post-deployment. With hard work, he was able to whittle his scores down from the 100s to the 70s, earning certification from the Titleist Performance Institute and becoming a Stack & Tilt network instructor along the way—all while studying Golf Management at Campbell University.
Qualls's relatively late start serves him well as the director of instruction at The Golf Warriors. He knows from firsthand experience all about the difficulty of picking up the game and the most effective methods for serious improvement at any age. He takes a calm, understanding approach and identifies with golfers’ frustrations, particularly when balls won’t fly straight or learn how to swim. With each student, Qualls conducts an initial evaluation so as to understand the state of his or her game, and then designs a custom plan for improvement, paying attention to the full swing, the short game, the mental game, and physical fitness.
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.
Jan Wellendorf’s passion for karate began in 1963, when he first studied techniques from Japan, China, and Korea. Now a 10th-degree black belt, Jan has molded these experiences into his own style of karate—sanshinkai. At Karate International, more than 70 black belts teach Jan’s methods at five locations, where they help students use Eastern-inspired skills to control themselves mentally, physically, and spiritually. Geared toward pupils of all ages, Karate International’s programs also emphasize cross-training, which can incorporate everything from judo’s throwing techniques to the pizza-eating regimen of ninja turtles.
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: * 18-hole, par-72 course * Total length of 6,740 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 72.2 from the back tees * Course slope of 138 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
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:
18-hole, par 72 course
Total length of 7,358 yards from the back tees
Course rating of 74.8 from the back tees
Course slope of 145 from the back tees
Five sets of tees per hole
Prolific course architect David Postlethwait sculpted Hedingham Golf Club's 18-hole course, artfully integrating the area's naturally undulating terrain, dense tree-lines, and rippling waterways into a seamless and scenic layout. Wooded areas loom at the edges of multiple fairways, forming natural boundaries that reach out twiggy arms to snag golf balls and plant them in the ground to one day bloom into argyle socks. Newly installed bermuda grass greens await at the end of every fairway; their smooth, slick surfaces ready to complicate putts with tricky breaks. Sequestered in the middle of the Hedingham Community near the scenic shores of the Neuse River, the club also encompasses an expansive practice facility, where players can warm up or enlist the expertise of one of the Club's resident instructors or immortal three-irons.
Course at a Glance * 18-hole, par 71 course * Total length of 6,529 yards * Course rating of 71.6 * Course slope of 124