If you haven’t quite found your golf legs by the time the second tee comes around, a par three green perched along a pond can be an intimidating sight. That said, Kilmarlic Golf Course gives you a reminder why you should work to have your game in working order by later in the round. From the same teebox, you’ll be able to see the island green in the same lake, which you’ll tangle with at hole 11.
It’s a slight mislead, however, as Tom Steele’s ample bunkering will provide the bulk of the challenge throughout your round. The hole immediately following the island par three serves as an example. Although there is salt marsh to carry off the tee, and it remains lurking down the right side of the par five, the true strategy revolves around the large bunker that juts in from the right side, starting perhaps 150 yards out from the green. Many players can consider going for it in two with a strong drive (the hole is just 495 yards from the back tees), but the sand will mess with the scorecard much more so than the water on the hole.
Kilmarlic is a strong public golf option in the popular Outer Banks tourist region.
When heading to the Cape Hatteras area the level of golf courses are wanting but there are a few options well worth checking out. I have already opined on The Currituck Club; a fine layout by architect Rees Jones.
Kilmarlic is situated just off the causeway that takes you onto the Outer Banks and is carved out of deep woods and tidal marshlands. Those who focus on the scorecard may chuckle at the lack of length from the tips -- just under 6,600 yards but when you read the fine print, you'll notice a slope rating of 144. That number is hardly overstated. The main determining factor for one's success at Kilmarlic is securing the short grass. Failure to do so can mean a healthy set of numbers on one's scorecard.
Like many courses near to the Atlantic seaboard there's very little elevation changes throughout the round. Fortunately, architect Tom Steele crafted plenty of diverse holes and the routing constantly keeps moving about.
There are issues -- the severe dog-leg left 4th is a bit over-pronounced in the way it bends severely at the back portion of the hole. The same can be said for the par-5 12th, which is literally shaped like the letter "C."
Kilmarlic does have an odd balance of par-3 holes -- five total -- and three feature water penalty areas to avoid. Candidly, the layout would be better served if two of the five par-5 holes were reduced to lengthier par-4s to provide a much more dynamic presentation of two-shot holes.
The presentation of the greens is sound but a bit more detailing in terms of internal contours and the manner by which the grounds falls away from the putting surfaces would have added a bit more sophistication to the proceedings. Given the nature of the daily customer who comes to Kilmarlic the layout is certainly entertaining and fun to play.
The Tar Heel State has a rich mixture of courses inhabiting its broad east-west swath. Those coming to the Outer Banks area will definitely find their time spent well in scheduling a round at Kilmarlic.
M. James Ward