The Western half of North Carolina has become well known for its collection of mountain golf courses. It never hurts to have a leg-up on the competition, and Linville Ridge can cite itself as featuring the highest-altitude golf on the eastern side of the Mississippi River.
The hole that gets the most credit for that claim is No. 13, a par five that begins play just a hair under 5,000 feet; although that kind of altitude will not quite get you Colorado distance from the tee, you may be tempted. If you are to find any hazards while playing the hole, it won’t be a dramatic cliff face but rather a pair of large bunkers placed strategically to gather ambitious approach shots that try to reach this green in two.
Despite the altitude mark being attached to No. 13, many will consider No. 16 to be the most mountainous of the holes at Linville Ridge. Playing 200 yards from the back tees, players can take up to 30 yards off of their club choice thanks to more than 110 feet in drop...the equivalent of an 11-story building.
This course was originally designed by George Cobb, but Bobby Weed swept through during 2008 to restore some of the luster lost over time.
Linville Ridge is the highest golf course east of the Mississippi at almost 5000 feet. Linville Ridge has generous fairways and large undulating greens, but make no mistake, this is mountain golf.
The first hole is downhill left leaning par that is reachable for big hitters. The green is surrounded by bunkers and short is better than long. The 2nd is a good birdie oppty, slight dogleg left. A high draw is preferable off the tee, you may consider laying up as you can drive thru the fairway. The multi-tiered green is perched above several bunkers. The first par three is mid-length but downhill. I would take one less club. The 4th is another birdie oppty and is a dogleg right with several bunkers on the inside elbow. The approach is downhill to a green with bunkers right and the back half slopes hard front to back. The 5th while not long plays tough. A dogleg left with an uphill approach to a well protected green. The 6th is the longest and most demanding par three. A water carry to a green with 3 bunkers right and one back. The short uphill 7th is a fun driveable par 4. I was found wanting. A stream runs in front of the green and down the right side. This is one of the smallest greens with a bunker front right and half dozen behind the green for appearances sake. The long uphill dogleg right is the number one handicap hole. Favor the left side off the tee and the right on the approach to avoid the left bunkers. The right to left 9th is an uphill par five that is potentially reachable. Certainly, not by me. A high draw is best off the tee. There is a creek greenside left and front as well as a deep cross bunker.
On the 10th tee box check out the large driver sculpture. Something I had not seen before. The 10th leans a little right. Aim at the left fairway bunker off the tee. Whatever you do, avoid the deep bunkers right. The 11th also tilts right and has a marvelous view of Grandfather Mountain. Fairway bunkers right and left and a BAB left and a more reasonable bunker right greenside. The 12th is a tough hole. Trouble all the way down the right. The bunkers may actually save your shot from rolling off the ledge. Left is best on 12. Greenside bunkers right and front to a green that needs an escalator. Be below the hole. The 13th is the shortest par 5, uphill tee shot and then downhill. It is reachable, but another hole with trouble right. The 14th is the shortest and easiest rated hole on the course. The15th is not long but it is tight. While the hole lists right the topography rolls left with a large fairway bunker on the left. Favor the right off the tee. The 16th is a picturesque downhill par three. Depending where the pin is take one to two less clubs. The short dogleg left 17th is a reachable par 5. The tee shot is semi-blind. If you are going for it favor the left side, there is a ravine short right along with bunkers.
The 18th is a dogleg right, favor the left side off the tee to void the fairway bunkers on the inside elbow. Also the green tilts left to right and there are some deep nasty bunkers right. Good finishing hole.
A lovely mountain course that I heartily recommend.