Unfortunately for the golfing public, you’ll need to know somebody to get on the Jones Course at Rock Barn, the private route at this 36-hole complex northwest of Charlotte. Most agree that this loop, which hosted the Champions Tour’s Greater Hickory Classic for more than a decade, is both the better and tougher of the two courses.
The meticulous upkeep at Rock Barn is certainly visually appealing for the everyday golfer, however it also serves to emphasize the precision required for a match-winning round of golf. The fairways that run around multiple water hazards are well-groomed to the point that a tee shot even slightly at the wrong angle will continue its momentum down into the drink, rather than slowing into a protective layer of rough.
Those who manage to avoid the water will face equal challenge in avoiding the many bunkers that Robert Trent Jones II (the title Jones) sprinkled across the playing corridors. At least one can take solace knowing that if they land there, the play out will be considerably more manageable than the beckoning ponds.