Established by founding members in 1910, the original course at Charlotte Country Club was redesigned by Donald Ross in 1926 and subsequently reworked by Robert Trent Jones Snr in the 1960s. In more recent times, Ron Pritchard, an architect with an excellent track record of sympathetically restoring old Ross designs, remodelled the layout.
Today, the course measures more than 7,300 yards, with tree-lined fairways routed across pleasantly undulating terrain. Notable holes include the 430-yard 4th, which plays to a slender kidney-shaped green and the 475-yard 8th, a long par four that crosses the Briar Creek on its way to the green. On the back nine, the 420-yard 16th and 445-yard 18th are both strong par fours played at the end of the round.The course has hosted three USGA tournaments in its recent history: the US Amateur in 1972 (won by Vinny Giles), the US Senior Men’s Amateur in 2000 (when Bill Shean Jnr was the victor) and the US Women’s Amateur in 2010 (won by Danielle Kang for the second successive year).
North Carolina has no shortage of rolling topology, which provides a great canvas to design golf holes. It’s no surprise that Donald Ross continued his legacy across a State that heralds many of his best efforts.
The course at Charlotte has recently improved by leaps and bounds due to the restoration work by Ron Prichard, and in some cases he added new green locations (e.g. 16th) and a new par 3 17th hole, which made part of his project a renovation, rather than a restoration. The shaping of the green-contours is hugely impressive and in a state with so many Donald Ross courses, I hadn’t seen contours like this before (e.g. 2nd and 3rd greens).
The change in elevation is more significant than first glance, and really punishes approach shots that fall short (e.g. 6th hole) so don’t hesitate to take an extra club.
While there are picture-perfect oak tees within the grounds, the beauty of this course is wonderfully accentuated by the tree removal. In fact, my host brought me to a very special spot on the course. If you stand in the back-right hand corner of the 8th green, from that specific vantage point you can see a portion of every single hole on the property. It’s absolutely true, and a really enjoyable fun fact.