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Sean_A

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Cuatro Carolina Courses: LONNIE POOLE GC New
« on: September 25, 2015, 07:40:45 AM »
Opened during the summer of 2009, Lonnie Poole originated as an ambitious project to include a golf course, hotel and alumni hall located on the Centennial Campus of North Carolina State University.  The project eventually became more simplified to merely a course and practice facilities.  The large, mainly square, hilly and beautiful property serves as the NCSU course and is open to the public.  The architect of record is Arnold Palmer, though I seem to recall that associates Brandon Johnson and Eric Larsen (no longer with Palmer), both graduates of NCSU, were heavily involved in the design process.  The project was finally finished in 2014 with the opening of a rather grandiose and heavily clad in red clubhouse.

It would be interesting to know if a reasonably easy walking course could have been created.  The back nine is a tough, but decent walk. The front nine is a walking nightmare with several very long walks between greens and tees.  It may be that the site dictated that the game would primarily be played in a cart. Be that as it may, the poor walk is a major negative tick which is difficult to overcome.  The shame is that there are many good holes highlighted by a very fine trio of 16-18.  Other than the poor walk, being someone not at all used to Bermuda, I find the rough, even cut at 2-3 inches, very burdensome.  It seems every shot has to be dug out, making fairway width an especially important feature.   For the most part, Lonnie Poole does offer generous fairways except for around the greens.  Perhaps the rough near greens is kept lower outside of summer months, but on this August day, it was sticky and extensive. 

After inspecting a course map and checking the thermometer which read 92 Fahrenheit...with predictably high humidity, we decided to pull up to the first tee on wheels. Like much of Lonnie Poole, the 1st is expansive. This par 5 is a relaxed if an unremarkable start to the round.


After what seemed like a half a mile drive, right past the 8th and an oddly placed practice area we arrive (one should never arrive at a tee like its been a journey  :-\ ) at the par 3 second.  I really liked the huge front to back two tier green which drastically effects club selection. 


#3 is an awkward hole not only due to its forced carry to a raised green with a false front, but also because its the second par 5 in three holes.  This signals to me that there may be a fistful of three-shotters, something which doesn't sit well with me.  The hole swings sharply left around a large bunker.  Below is the approach after a 6 iron lay-up. Not a bad hole, but not one to note.


We played the 298 yard Wolfpack Tees on #4 because of the awkward length.  The fairway gradually funnels to the green making the long drive susceptible to trouble left and right. Although, over the brow, there is rough to hold up a ball leaked right.



More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: July 22, 2016, 04:45:48 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Peter Pallotta

Re: Cuatro Carolina Courses: Lonnie Poole GC 1-4
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2015, 08:41:24 AM »
You can take the boy out of the rolling, inland course, but you can't take the rolling, inland course out of the boy!

Thanks, Sean. Look forward to more.

(I'm determined this winter-February to make my first ever golf trip down south, and the Mid Pines, Pine Needles, and Dormie threesome looks ideal. This may be the 4th, even though it takes me out of the Pinecrest Inn!)

Peter

Brad Tufts

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cuatro Carolina Courses: Lonnie Poole GC 1-4
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2015, 09:23:56 AM »
Interesting...I remember #3 being a "par 4" on the card originally, I think played from the 501 tee as the championship marker.  Never understood why it would be a par four, it makes way more sense as a par 5...
So I jump ship in Hong Kong....

Philip Hensley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cuatro Carolina Courses: Lonnie Poole GC 1-4
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2015, 12:19:47 PM »
Interesting...I remember #3 being a "par 4" on the card originally, I think played from the 501 tee as the championship marker.  Never understood why it would be a par four, it makes way more sense as a par 5...


You are correct. When the course first opened it was played as a par 4. After 2-3 years it was changed to a par 5. Unfortunately, the hole doesn't really work well as either. As a par 4 it's impossible to reach the green in two except for long-bombers. As a par 5, there's really no strategy and/or reward for a good tee ball, and it doesn't really matter where you hit it (within reason). No matter what you do off the tee, you're laying up. So if you hit a great tee ball you're laying up with a PW or so. If you hit a bad tee ball, you're laying up with a short iron.

Sean_A

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Re: Cuatro Carolina Courses: LONNIE POOLE GC 1-4 New
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2015, 05:38:09 AM »
Philip
I agree.  #3 isn't a brilliant hole.  It would probably work better from the "Gray" tees of 468...still a par 5. 

Pietro
I strongly encourage you to make it down to Pinehurst.  Mid Pines and Dormie are obvious candidates...so should Tobacco Road. If you need a 4th round call Ran and insist on a game at Southern Pines  :D

LONNIE POOLE TOUR CONT

A decent hole, the 5th is a longish par 4 bending right.  There is the opportunity to kick balls in around the large fronting bunker in drier conditions, but today the course was all carry. A knob to knob short hole, the 6th hints at Redan-like qualities.   


I rather like the 7th.  The fairway of this par 5 is split by huge bunkers, effectively creating a dogleg for most.


A good drive will offer an opportunity to reach the blind green in two.  After cresting the brow of the rise I was immediately reminded of the approach to 4.
 

Counterbalancing the five three-shotters are five one-shotters...all of which are fine holes.  The 8th is well worth the lengthy cart ride from the neighbouring county.  In assault like fashion, the golfer must play straight up the hill, but not make the mistake of over-clubbing.  The green is large and two-putting from the above the hole is quite a challenge.


The 9th too is very good.  At first glance there is a seemingly harmless right hand bunker off the tee.  Yes, its reachable, but plenty of space is on offer.  A second glance reveals water on the left....psychologically reducing the amount of space.  To further complicate matters, the more dangerous left side of the fairway offers the preferred angle for those happy enough to use slopes.


The 10th is an interesting hole.  There is a huge bunker down the right which threatens the drive and the deceptively steep, uphill approach.   The long 11th features sand on either side of the fairway which gradually funnels to the green.  I like the idea, but visually it doesn't quite work. 


A common second shot. Notice the grass cuttings.  They give an indication as to the depth of the Bermuda.


Unless one earns prime position further right, the third can be quite a dicey shot.


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: March 15, 2018, 06:51:35 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Matt MacIver

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Re: Cuatro Carolina Courses: LONNIE POOLE GC 1-11
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2015, 02:05:29 PM »
Sean - I've not played Lonnie Poole but agree that summer Bermuda rough is a chore, even at just 2-3". I remind myself it's an outdoor, seasonal, game, but still....

Ryan Coles

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cuatro Carolina Courses: LONNIE POOLE GC 1-11
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2015, 02:41:02 PM »
Sean


I'm enjoying your few American tours, a nice contrast to the UK ones.


What strikes me is the amount of bunkers. Just seems like complete overkill to me.

Philip Hensley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cuatro Carolina Courses: LONNIE POOLE GC 1-11
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2015, 03:26:50 PM »
The green sized bunkers were "tamed"-up a bit a year or so ago when they reduced the size of many of the bunkers. That one in particular wasn't made much smaller, but used to have many rows of grass in the bunker interior. Now it's just a big bunker.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cuatro Carolina Courses: LONNIE POOLE GC 1-11 New
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2015, 06:17:25 PM »
Ryan

LP is a big, bold site that needs large bunkering.  I am not sure so many bunkers are required, but the number isn't nearly as important as the acerage of sand.  I would guess there are about 70 bunkers...maybe 15 are moon bunkers next to planet bunkers so that 70 number is a bit meaningless. 

Ciao
« Last Edit: November 09, 2018, 05:19:47 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Philip Hensley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cuatro Carolina Courses: LONNIE POOLE GC 1-11
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2015, 08:14:17 PM »
Not only that, but they reduced the size (sq ft) of the bunkers 25% last year after a big storm washed all the sand out of the bunkers. And they're still huge!

Sean_A

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Re: Cuatro Carolina Courses: LONNIE POOLE GC 1-11 New
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2015, 05:33:32 PM »
Philip

Thanks for the info on the bunkers.  Do folks you know ever comment on the size of the bunkers?

LONNIE POOLE CONT

Playing downhill, the 12th is a much tighter driving hole than it appears.


The green isn't a terribly large target either. 


Because the bunkers are so large, pin pointing cover yardage can be difficult to figure out.  On the 13th, though, it isn't necessary because one can play straight away and still be left with a short iron. 




Considering the amount of wetlands, the course doesn't heavily incorporate these areas into the design. Very surprisingly I found my ball in the soup on the 14th and made a decent recovery.


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: June 07, 2020, 03:09:05 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cuatro Carolina Courses: LONNIE POOLE GC 1-14 New
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2015, 03:08:14 AM »
LONNIE POOLE CONT

A flatish par 5 with covering water down the right and suspect bunkering left doesn't make the 15th endearing. Luckily, the best was saved for last.  The final three holes individually and as a group are nothing short of excellent. As on all the tees, there is a massive yardage spread.  The back tees being 7358 and the Pink tees set at 4869. There is a 170 yard difference between the markers on the 16th...and believe it or not there are holes with a larger spread!  We opted to play the Gray tees at 285 yards.  After turning around to look at the back tee I thought there was space for an excellent par 3  ;D .  The bunkering on 16 makes the hole even though several bunkers could easily be removed to achieve the same effect.  A centreline bunker is completely hidden by the terrain making the drive zone on this hole much less generous than it appears.   




The huge front right bunker does an superb job of eliminating visual clues as to distance.


A look at the green from the 17th tee.


I am like a broken record on this topic, but I firmly believe that nearly all courses could benefit from a very short par 3.  My overbearing opinion therefore led us once again to the Gray tee, a delicious par 3 of 104 yards.  Lord knows what the point of the rear bunker is.


The home hole is very difficult, but equally satisfying. 


If ever a long drive was needed it is on this hole.  Unfortunately, grabby bermuda reduces the effect of slopes on the left.




For me, its hard to take a blatant cart course such as this too seriously.  The huge gap in tee markers alone dictates that the course will be a rough walk for many golfers thus creating a disjointed playing experience. Carts make the course quicker to play, but they cannot solve the unconnected nature of the design.  That said, there are some excellent holes and many fine supporting holes.  Despite my strong reservations, I believe a great many golfers would immensely enjoy Lonnie Poole and find it well worth while to make the effort to play.  2015

Other courses on the Cuatro Tour:

Mimosa Hills G&CC
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,61874.0.html

Roaring Gap Club
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,61881.0.html

Raleigh CC
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,61993.0.html

Ciao
« Last Edit: September 25, 2020, 04:37:25 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Jerry Kluger

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cuatro Carolina Courses: LONNIE POOLE GC
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2015, 08:40:22 AM »
I played Lonnie Poole yesterday and enjoyed the course a great deal but 5 hours and 15 minutes is just too long to play a round.  There were some really good holes:


#2 is a long par 3 with a kick point on the left that gives the player an option other than challenging the deep bunker fronting the green.


#11 is a solid par 5 that visually is really cool with a panoramic view of downtown Raleigh beyond the bare green and flagstick which are open and exposed to the wind.


#16 is a great illusion with 3 centerline fairway bunkers that appear from the tee to be side by side while actually they are 30 or 40 yards apart.

Philip Hensley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cuatro Carolina Courses: LONNIE POOLE GC
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2015, 11:51:56 PM »
@sean

Yes, they do comment on the size of the bunkers! They are big, easy to find, and often hard to get out of.

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