Treyburn is a residential country club in the Durham area, with significant forest to defend the pricey homes in the neighborhood from golfers (and preserving the isolated feeling of the course).
Tom Fazio created the course during 1998 for members, with emphasis on its planned commitment to competition. Many of the greens are guarded by creeks at the fore, the decision to cross which may be the deciding factor for any given match. All of those creeks pale compared to the forced carry at No. 12, however, where players will need to hit over the Little River on their way to the green (every river is “little” until you need to hit a golf ball over it). At 476 yards from the back tees, two perfect shots will be needed to think about birdie. The carry across a gulch on the next hole, a par three, will seem simple after No. 12.
The par five at No. 4 features a similar idea but will require more thought, as the creek running down the fairway will be crossable for far more players who want to get closer to the green for their third shot. Although “no laying up” is a popular phrase among eager golfers these days, Treyburn will give them plenty of opportunity to reconsider.
Admittedly, Tom Fazio does not fall among my favorite course architects. When I think of the Fazio courses I have played, there are few that stand out as being truly excellent; on the contrary, there are also none that stand out negatively.
Among all of those Fazio designs, Treyburn is certainly one of the best, primarily thanks to its natural fairway contours and standout par threes.
The entire Treyburn property is impressive. Laid in a sylvan, bucolic setting well north of Durham, the Treyburn community feels worlds away from civilization, even though many large commercial pharmaceutical buildings exist just minutes away. Those who can afford to live in this part of North Carolina must count their blessings as the natural setting for the golf course is so secluded while still providing access to an urban area 15 minutes away.
There are a handful of standout holes at Treyburn, including:
• #2: A stout par three that can play well over 200 yards. Fairly, the architect provides a wide front entrance to the green. I can imagine the superintendent varying the length of this hole for members significantly day-to-day which must be very fun.
• #4: This par five masterfully incorporates a natural creek near the green which adds significant interest to both the second and third shots on an otherwise flat site.
• #8: This par four has a deep drop from tee box to fairway and a very deep, narrow green that again, adds variety and interest for members’ daily play.
• #13: An almost extinct hole in the world of championship golf today, this par three is barely 100 yards from the tips, requiring a heroic shot over a vined canyon to a tiny, undulating green. Holes-in-one are just as likely as triple bogeys for the overly aggressive player who fails to use the natural contours of the green (or, who uses them too severely!). This hole is endless fun, and it is sad to not see more of these on other notable golf properties.
• #16: This par three also incorporates a beautiful bumbling brook down the entire right side of the hole, yet is also guarded by sand on the left.
• #18: Creeks abound, and yet again, the player is forced to confront rolling water on their second shot into this lengthy finishing hole.
The Treyburn property is further enhanced by a fabulous clubhouse and standout men’s locker room (the popcorn machine is a game changer!). I have attended weddings and other events at Treyburn which are all masterfully done. As a McConnell property, course conditioning is expectedly neat.
All this said, I am still held back from considering Treyburn to be a top notch golf course architecturally. For starters, having been a few times, I would not describe it as the type of place that I would be excited to play every day, unless one is a glutton for punishment. I personally find the hole corridors to be narrow, and the vegetation is so thick that any ball in the woods is a lost soul. Certain holes such as #12 are so incredibly difficult that they surpass the fine line of being a “par 4.5” to just being a “par 5 labeled as a par 4”.
Another slight knock against Treyburn are what I describe as ‘unnatural’ twists, such as the dogleg on the 9th, and to a degree, the hard forced turn on the 18th. The 1st and 10th holes are also very similar. Holes that are not lined by forest instead have mansions.
Overall, I am left with the same thoughts I mentioned at the beginning of this post. While certainly above average in the body of Fazio’s work that I have experienced, Treyburn lacks the ‘oomph’ I would expect on such a tremendous piece of land for golf.
Treyburn is a nice Tom Fazio design just north of Durham, North Carolina. He course is laid out among rolling hills and has some pretty significant elevation changes throughout the property. The course is set in a housing development but the houses are really very unobtrusive so the overall esthetics are very pleasant. I would say that in a good way this is a very typical Tom Fazio design. There is reasonable width to the fairways with enough twists and turns to demand accurate driving. The greens are modestly contoured but enough slope is present to provide a challenge. There is a nice mixture of short and long par 4’s that keep your interest up through the round. One downside would be that with the elevation changes this would be a hard course to walk on a regular basis. Overall a solid 4 ball course in the top100 scale and probably a 5 on the Doak scale. As a member of Holston Hills in Knoxville, Tennessee we hold a reciprocal membership with Treyburn and I always enjoy playing here.