Cleaved into the rolling bluffs of the Carolina countryside, The Country Club of Johnston County's 18-hole, Ellis Maples–designed course encompasses 6,573 yards of well-groomed fairways and greens. Dense tree lines guide clubbers across the picturesque par 72, obstructing shots as players attempt to keep orbs on fairways that dog-leg and kitty-purr their way toward distant greens. Ponds dot the emerald landscape on four different holes, threatening ill-struck orbs and foreshadowing eventual retreats to the Club's outdoor pool. The stately complex keeps guests energized with a menu of savory grill fare, while outdoor tennis courts sate appetites for loose yellow fuzz. A dazzling banquet hall stands at the Club's epicenter, where reunited friends and wedding parties can enjoy a warmly lit ballroom, dance floor, and bar.
Course at a Glance:
Course architect David Postlethwait designed the dramatic fairways of the course at Riverwood Golf Club to reward both distance and accuracy. Nestled alongside the Neuse River, the course’s Bermuda grass fairways lead to newly renovated bentgrass greens, and golfers aim away from two ponds, a smattering of water hazards, and the ball-hungry salamanders that lurk in sand bunkers. The 27-hole complex has served as the host course for a handful of tournaments, including the 1999 National Junior Golf Championship and the Annual Riverwood Amateur. Before hitting the fairways, players can warm up at one of the driving range’s 36 hitting stations.
Course at a Glance:
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.
Pine Hollow Golf Club's 18-hole, par 71 course winds through 6,503 yards of Bermuda fairways hemmed by proximate waters and tucked in the shadows of mature arbors. Though players may be intimidated by the course's tight, tree-lined fairways, the round's real test awaits at each green, where Crenshaw bentgrass surfaces coalesce with subtle undulations to form breaks more difficult to negotiate than a peace treaty between long-competing golf carts and caddies. Water comes into play on six different holes, including the signature 17th hole, a 473-yard par 5 that doglegs gently to the left, setting up a treacherous forced-carry into a green guarded by water on the right and front and flanked by a left-side bunker. Four tee options temper the difficulty of this moderately challenging course, providing an enjoyable outing for players of all abilities and those attempting to complete a round with modified mannequin legs instead of clubs.
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:
Seaduction Dive Services imparts both technical and recreational scuba instruction upon phalange-equipped fins of all experience levels. Schools of Seaduction swimmers follow founder Michael Ange, a dive training and safety expert who has written six diving textbooks and served as an editor for Scuba Diving magazine.