The very scenic Cliffs at Glassy golf course is a tough Tom Jackson-designed layout featuring some massive tee carries and tight-angled doglegs on fairways that sit on top of a 3,000-foot high mountain. It was the first course within The Cliffs private luxury residential mountain and lake club communities in The Carolinas to open in 1993 and six more were added over the following twenty-year period.
“The Cliffs at Glassy may not rate among the game’s architectural elite, but it is unquestionably among its most scenic,” writes Daniel Wexler in The American Private Golf Club Guide. “There is plenty of difficulty here but also some awkward moments in the form of huge tee shot carries and some very sharp doglegs – all perhaps unavoidable due to the terrain.
Most of the better holes fall on the back nine, including the 439-yard 12th (where water guards the left side), the 155-yard 13th (featuring the course’s most panoramic view – and a steep fallaway that can send overly aggressive approaches into oblivion), the 203-yard, downhill 17th, and the 606-yard pond-guarded closer.”
Just driving to The Cliffs of Glassy is an event. The course sits at 3000 feet above sea level. As you drive up the mountain you keep thinking that you should be there around the next curve, trust me, plan on an extra ten minutes. It will be worth it, a Tom Jackson design that opened for play in the early 1990s. It is not a long course at 6800 yards from the tips. There is a lot of topology, up and down, not the easiest course to walk.
The first hole is welcoming unless you block it right into the water hazard that runs down the right side. The green is protected front right and left with bunkers. The 2nd hole leans right and is shorter, but the big challenge is the 200 yard carry off the tee. The 3rd is the first par five. Another carry tee shot and the dogleg lefts on the third shot. Favor the right off the tee. Play it as a 3 shotter, and on the second stay right to avoid the left bunkers and choose your favorite wedge yardage into the green. The 4th is one of the sharpest doglegs I have ever played. It may in fact be more than a 90 degree angle. Don’t get cute, there is a large landing area, use it. The 6th is a tight dogleg left par 5. Know your yardage off the tee as there is a large bunker on the inside elbow and two on the outside. The 7th is also a dogleg left with a bunker on the inside elbow. Most players should be able to cut some of the corner, however, you can easily drive it thru the fairway of you are right of the bunker. The 9th is a sharp dogleg rightwith a water hazard right and fairway bunkers guarding the corner. Do not muck around with this hole, at the corner the fairway is only 25 yards wide. Hit your drive down the middle. If you are capable of hitting a 300 yard drive then by all means go for it.
The back stats with a dogleg left with a bunker on the inside elbow. I found this bunker easy to reach but hard to carry. The 11th is the shortest par five and is reachable. Dogleg right and it only has three bunkers but it is uphill. The 12th is a long par four albeit downhill. For my fellow hookers, there are four water hazards left. The 13th is a signature hole’s signature hole. A short par 3 with an infinity green to infinity. I was told on a clear day you can see up to 50 miles. The challenge when one has a signature hole like this one, what do you do next? The 14th is a short uphill par four with the green tucked right. Hit it straight to set up your flip wedge. The 15th is a long up then down par 4. It leans left with two bunkers on the left side in the landing zone. Miss right and you are gone. The16th is a long par four straightaway downhill. The fairway runs out at about 140 yards. The 17th is the longest par three, downhill with a water carry. The 18th is a 600 yard downhill par 5. Hopefully you are playing the correct tees as you will have a water carry and then a fairway bunker right in the landing zone. The fairway runs out at about 220 yards out and reappears about 170 out. On the right side a water hazard starts about 80 yards short of a green that nestled right up against it. Oh, I almost forgot to mention the three greenside bunkers left. A big boy par five, three average shots will leave you struggling for bogey. Super finishing hole.
A very nice course that I would pay to play again.