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:
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
A staff of golf experts roams the grounds at 401 Par Golf Inc. ready to help beginners taking their first shot on the nine-hole par 3 course or seasoned veterans shoring up fundamentals on the lighted driving range. Head pro Mike Sullivan conducts lessons for any golfer committed to improvement, evaluating areas such as fitness, short game skills, and equipment before designing a lesson plan geared toward the player’s personal goals. Inside AA Golf Clubs, the onsite fitting and repair shop, Tom Miller fits golf clubs to each player’s body type and natural swing motion. After working up a sweat, players can head in for New Orleans-style snoballs and ice cream at Pelican’s – a better method for beating the heat than punching a thermometer.
Staffed by experienced coaches and computers who’ve sworn allegiance to the three laws of golfing robotics, GolfTEC takes pride in helping green gurus perfect their pendulum arms. During 30-minute and 60-minute evaluations, motion sensors and high-speed cameras monitor swings and break down each individual’s form on a high-definition video display. Sensors chirp with approval whenever they detect the perfect stroke or an especially witty golfing joke, and certified personal coaches point out flaws and strengths while providing golfers with tips on how to permanently improve their game.
As one of the oldest courses in the Raleigh area, Raleigh Golf Association’s 18-hole course retains the same expanse of lush greenery as its 1929 prototype while benefiting from a number of refinements made during a 1998 renovation overseen by David Postlethwaite. Fairways arch over emerald waves of grass, connecting to form a 6,088-yard course dotted with mature trees and waterways. The club also encompasses a nine-hole course that is occasionally open to the public and always open to Arnold Palmer doppelgängers. A pro shop stocked with the latest golf gear and accessories beckons to golfers in need of new equipment.
Course at a Glance: