A strong starting hole with the Blue Ridge Mountains as a backdrop sets the tone for the rest of the course. At 455 yards from the back tee and playing slightly uphill to a well-bunkered fairway, Hole 1 begins the series of challenges inherent in this course for the golfer. With bunkers both short and long on the right side, a complex of five strong bunkers on the left is to be avoided at all costs. The green is perched into the hillside with a large, deep bunker guarding the left front. The slope to the right of the green allows players an option of letting the ball feed in from the slope to the green.
At just under 200 yards from the back tee and carrying great views of the valley, Hole 2 plays much shorter than Hole 1, due to the large elevation change from the tees to the green. The difficulty in this hole lay in judging the effect the wind may have on the ball’s flight, thus making the correct club selection critical. Bunkers on three sides defend the green complex.
Fairway cross-bunkering on this medium-short par 4 requires the player to decide his shot in one of three ways from the tee: play short of the cross-bunkers, play to the left of them, or take the heroic shot of playing over the bunkers to gain the best position from which to attack the green. The green is set atop a ridge and has multiple pin areas, the most difficult being to the left, which is protected by the bunker fronting the green.
This short par 4 plays from the top of the ridge over a small lake and onto the side of the adjacent ridge. The fairway doglegs left around a steep slope, with three bunkers in between. Golfers have the option of “biting off” as much fairway as they choose. Balls straying too far to the right of the narrow fairway may be collected in the right fairway bunker. The small green is protected on the left by a lake and a dramatic waterfall. A shot out of the right green-side bunker to the shallow green, with water beyond, will test the mettle of even the best golfers.
A beautiful yet strong 229-yard par 3 plays slightly downhill to a shallow, well-bunkered green. Almost any pin position makes for a challenging shot. Most golfers will be happy to walk away from this hole with a par. Those with birdies may pat themselves on the back.
The first par 5 of the course offers a birdie opportunity for those who can place their shots well. The tee shot on this short par 5 plays from an elevated position to a fairway guarded on the right side by a lateral water hazard. A well-placed tee shot near the left fairway bunker will avoid the stream and feed the ball toward the center of the fairway. As the fairway narrows beyond the landing area, the stream crosses the golf hold to create a real challenge for longer hitters. After having successfully negotiating the tee shot, the golfer is faced with a number of options. With a deep bunker dividing the high, narrow fairway to the left from the lower, wider one on the right, the player is given the choice of trying to feed the ball left of the bunkers, down to the green, or to the right for a more direct (and difficult) shot into the shallow green defended at the front by two strong bunkers. The third option: play short of the green and attack the pin with the third shot.
This long par 4 plays into the prevailing wind and is a true test of skill. A demanding tee shot over the two cross-bunkers, just short of the landing area and framed by two bunkers on the left, is required to set up a good shot to the green. Golfers do have the option of playing their tee shot short or right of the cross- bunkers; however, such a plan will leave a difficult second shot to a green that juts out into a lake. The green is large and has a lot of movement in the surface. Shots played away from the water may find the right green-side bunker or the fairway to the right of the bunker, leaving a difficult shot back to the green, with water looming all around.
This medium-length par 5 plays from an elevated tee shot to a landing area well framed by bunkers. A well-framed tee shot sets up this 568-yard par 5. The fairway is plenty wide; however, the best line of play is over the deep bunker on the right side of the fairway. This risk/reward situation will leave the golfer with either a difficult shot out of the deep bunker or in a position to attack the green on the second shot. The green is set on a peninsula guarded in the front by a deep bunker and on three sides by steep slopes cascading from the green. The safe second shot is to play out short to right of the green and use the length of the green to assist with the shot to the putting surface.
A medium/short par 4 with a narrow fairway and a small green will require two well- positioned shots. A complex of bunkers on the left sets up a demanding tee shot, where the good land is close to or over the bunkers. The green is perched in the face of the slope and is framed behind by a grove of 200+-year-old live oak trees. Short approaches to this green will be found either in the front bunker or at the bottom of the hill.
A strong dogleg right makes the position of the tee shot important on this 412-yard par 4. The golfer will want to position the tee shot close to the right fairway bunker to shorten the distance to the green. Short drives, or those drifting too far to the right, will have to contend with a tree and a bunker that defend the right side of this green, which is tucked into the slope. The spring-fed stream in front of the green is only inches deep but requires the player to make a calculated approach shot. Positioning on the putting surface is important in order to master the two-level green.
The strongest of the five par 3s, Hole 11 measures 246 yards from the back tee. Playing slightly downhill into the backdrop of the enveloping Pisgah National Forest, this is a very challenging tee shot to a large green. Angled around a large, left-side bunker, the green contains a back half falling away from the hole.
Bordered on the right by Pisgah National Forest, this uphill hole is the toughest of the par 5s. For most players, Hole 12 is definitely a three-shot effort to reach the green. A deep fairway bunker on the left side threatens on the inside of the dogleg. Short of the green and running at an angle across the golf hole is a deep- stream channel that requires the golfer to decide how to position the second shot. Most players will have to decide which fairway to hit to and whether to carry the creek on the second shot. It's an important decision, as the perched green is tucked into the corner of the woods, awaiting only accurate approaches.
Probably one of the most dramatic tee shots on the course, this long par 4 plays down over 70 feet from the tee to the landing area. With no bunkers in the fairway, the golfer can play a shot off the slope on the right side and watch it funnel to the center of the fairway. Avoid the left side of this hole, which pitches down into the trees. A stream crosses the fairway beyond the landing area and is only in play for longer hitters. A large bunker protects the long green along the right side.
At 207 yards from the back tee, this par 3 is no pushover. In front of the tees, a stream crosses the hole from left to right and continues along the right side, adjacent to the green complex. With bunkers on all sides of the green, little room is left for error on this hole.
Hole 15 is a long par 4 that plays into the wind and requires two very good shots to reach the green. Avoiding the fairway bunkers off the tee, a pot bunker in front of the green makes the 15th especially difficult. The ball can be fed in over the pot, from the right down to the green. If the pin is tucked in the back left behind the bunker, however, a very accurate shot will be needed to get the ball close to the hole.
The last of the five par 3s provides a peaceful woodland setting with a meandering stream crossing between the tees and the green. With a strong slope to the back of the green, defended by bunkers on all sides, a high, soft shot is the best way to attack this green.
On this last of the par 5s, aim at the big tree at the end of the fairway off the tee. With no bunkers, the safest route is down the right side of the narrow fairway. Tucked hard left, the green is well protected by bunkers, trees, and the stream that flows behind. Many golfers will be tempted to go for this hole in two shots. The available options leave little room for error; however, the reward for a birdie is well worth the risk.
This long par 4 provides a stiff challenge for the finish of an incredible round of golf. Draw the ball off the tee to take the row of bunkers on the right out of play. Hit a high, soft fade into the long green, which is set next to the stream. Be happy to walk away from this hole with a par.
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