With the butt of a 12-gauge shotgun pressed against his shoulder and his eyes searching the skies for game, Bobby Kilgus's solitary hunting expedition was interrupted by something of an epiphany: suddenly, he had the impulse to transform his family farmland into a golf course. Though the instinct may have been dismissed by most people of his ilk—he had only played golf once in his life—Bobby and his wife set to work, researching the ins-and-outs of course design and enlisting the help of construction company owners to clear and sculpt the rugged earth. By 2003—a mere four years after he first saw visions of splendid fairways dancing atop the barrel of his shotgun—the Kilguses opened a 9-hole course, only to see it grow it into a full 18-hole course in 2007, hastened by tireless work and a steady diet of pureed fairway smoothies.
Eight years of toil culminated in a 5,822-yard, par 72 course that embodies down-home charm and challenging course play. With water in play on six holes, Bobby's grassy brainchild presents players with a number of tricky shots, including a 131-yard, blind tee shot into a completely hidden green at the par 3 13th hole, where it can be said that players—not unlike the course's architect—must take a leap of faith.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Length of 5,822 yards from the farthest tees * Course rating of 67.5 from the farthest tees * Slope rating of 116 from the farthest tees * Three tee options
Winding through a dense assemblage of mature hardwoods and vibrant carolina pines, Hidden Valley Golf Club's 18-hole course spans 6,757 yards of immaculate greenery. The rolling midlands terrain challenges golfers with testy sand traps, drive-impeding tree lines, and shape-shifting greens. Though the pristine par 72 takes the form of a relatively difficult layout when played from the tips, the course graciously sprouts four tee options to cater to players of all abilities. Groups hunt birdies and eagles from the comfort of a golf cart, which nimbly navigates the cart path, fueling itself by absorbing the life forces of discarded tees.
Course at a Glance:
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: * 18-hole, par 71 course * Length of 6,074 yards from the tips * Four tee options
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.
Charwood Country Club's three nine-hole courses wind through acres of thick forest, their manicured greens sticking out from the trees like polished emerald jewels. On any 18-hole combination, golfers will find plenty of challenges as they contend with sharp curves, sand traps, and roving gangs of golf carts. Speaking of carts, groups can claim one before heading out to save time and stamina on the course. Some of that extra time can be spent on a post-game detour to LC's Grille for breakfast or lunch.