...Carolina Golf News Line

 The Fayetteville Golf Trail                       

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11/17/2003  By JW Farquhar   (Fayetteville Golf Course Directory - 18 hole tours)

Fayetteville is termed America’s Patriotic Destination because both Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base combine to make the largest military installation in the country.  Here are the military heroes that defend our nation.    A number of museums pay tribute to president JFK, the 82nd Airborne, and the Airborne & Special Operations unit, where much can be learned about the contributions they have made to this country. 

But Fayetteville is also a golfer’s haven that has been overshadowed in the past by nearby golf Mecca’s, Pinehurst and Myrtle Beach.  Only 38 minutes North of South Carolina on I-95, Fayetteville is located geographically between the North Carolina Sandhills and the Carolina Lowlands. The golf courses combine both the characteristics of the Sandhills, and the black oaks, Spanish moss and cypress trees of the lowlands.  Add to this some dramatic elevation changes that neither Pinehurst or Myrtle Beach has, and you have a scenic variety of golf courses. 

A recent survey ranked the Fayetteville area at 95 out of 312 golfing destinations and 52 out of 312 for its value to golfers.  Fayetteville is rated in the top 17% in value nationwide. 

Since 9/11 and resulting problems of airline travel, Interstate 95 has been connecting more traveling golfers between North and South.  Located just off I-95, half way between New York and Florida, the Fayetteville area has been used as a golfer stop over.  Because it is convenient from the I-95 corridor, Fayetteville is the ideal golf stop, great for breaking up those long arduous drives.  The problem, however, is choosing only one course to play. Fortunately I did not have to make this decision when I reviewed four Fayetteville courses in October 2003. 

Anderson Creek, the winner of the ”Best New Course in NC” award in 2001, is the first signature course in North Carolina by 1997 PGA Championship winner Davis Love.  Reflecting all that is great in the North Carolina Sandhills, this traditional layout has manicured rolling fairways lined with mature longleaf pines.  Davis has taken full advantage of the natural terrain with strategically placed love grass mixed with natural grass and sand in the rough areas. Anderson Creek is under new management by Signet Golf with John Hockaday is the new head pro and General Manager. 

Each golf course has a golf hole that is typical of that course.  Sometimes it is not the most challenging or picturesque.  Maybe it is the hole I birdied or had a lot of trouble with.  In any case it is the hole that best represents the course to me.  For Anderson Creek the ninth hole fits that description.  A 433 yards long par 4 it has a sharp dogleg left after considerable length.  Sufficient length off the tee is necessary, because a trap, pine trees and underbrush guard the left side of the fairway and access to the green.  Two well placed shots are necessary to par this hole.  I had trouble in the underbrush on this hole. 

Cypress Lakes is the home of Ray Floyd, winner of 62 tournaments ($17 million) including all three American major championships.   Built in 1962 by Pruitt and L. B. Floyd, this course has tradition, beauty, and azaleas in the spring, class and above all, cypress trees, lots of cypress trees.  Here is a walk in nature with no housing developments except a few Floyd homes by the fairway.  Tom Pruitt, son of one of the original developers, can sometimes be seen on a tractor lavishing attention on his course.  He has a passion for golfer satisfaction, as does the Head Pro, Calvin Weber.   The unchallenged choice of a golf hole for Cypress Lakes is unquestionably the 9th.  Here is a par three, where one must gird up the loins to strike a solid iron over lots of water.  This is a par three that was resurrected from the cypress swamp, surrounded by azaleas, sand traps and water in front.  So spectacular is this golf hole, that it was made the signature hole on Golfholes.com for the I-95 Golf Stop Page

The original design of Gates Four Golf and Country Club by Willard Byrd was recently renovated by famed golf course architect Dan Maples.  Major changes were made to improve the playability of the course including reversing the nines.  One feels privileged to play here in this private gated (Four Gates) community particularly after entering the 26,000 square foot clubhouse.   18 holes of tree bordered fairways demand accuracy off the tee but the fairways do have generous width.  The 7th hole is typical for this course.  This is a straight par four 374 in length that has only a sand trap on the right of the green to cause any trouble.  It is the lake on the right that adds a nice view to this hole and makes it memorable. 

Kings Grant is a hidden gem.  Tucked away in the town of Fayetteville, this course is a must play and a great value.  Elevation changes mark the uniqueness of this course as it winds through a forest of longleaf pines and cypress trees.  “If I had to characterize the golf course, it’s more of a shot makers golf course,” said Ron Hall, the Head Pro that is part of the investment group that bought King’s Grant in 1998.  It is the 14th dogleg right, par 4 that really epitomizes the nature of Kings Grant.  The tee shot across a large expanse of a cypress dotted lake must favor the right side to minimize the length of the approach to the green.  Then the second shot, an iron assuming proper positioning, must clear the next section of lake and cypress trees.  This double water hole is a visual treat and a challenge to be remembered.  

JW Farquhar, Editor and photographer, Golfholes.com and Golfphotographics.com. 


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