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Sean_A

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Cuartro Carolina Courses: RALEIGH CC New
« on: October 20, 2015, 04:30:58 AM »
Located a few minutes due east of downtown, Raleigh CC is one of ten clubs in the Carolinas owned by McConnell Golf and it is no stranger to fairly big events.  Since the 2005 renovation, Raleigh CC hosted the North Carolina Open twice and the North Carolina Amateur once.  Routed by Donald Ross in 1948, one month prior to his death, Raleigh Country Club was then constructed by Ellis Maples; who later became the club’s first Director of Golf.  The Maples name was well known due to the legendary Pinehurst Greenkeeper, Frank Maples, father of Ellis; and the Maples influence in golf is still felt today.  The opening of the course was celebrated by a match between Sam Snead and Lloyd Mangrum in July of 1949.  In 2005, Pinehurst based architect, Richard Mandell, oversaw a significant restoration plan for Raleigh Country Club.  Richard came to the golf business through an indirect connection with Ross for he trained under Dan Maples, grandson of Frank.  A well known golf writer and historian, Richard recently published Pinehurst: Home of American Golf.


The first sets the tone for what is an interesting and good set of greens even if many don't feel like Ross greens...I have no insight or proof to this vague feeling...just a gut feeling.  Ross balanced the effect of slope and contour in an excellent manner.  Unusual for a Ross design, water is introduced on the first hole; a down and up three-shotter.



In typical Ross fashion, there are many plateau and knob greens.  The 2nd is particularly difficult to hold not least because the grassing lines reduce the width of the fairway to an unreasonable degree.  Successfully taking on the bunkers offers a reward of thick bermuda rough ::)


More is the pity because this is a very good hole. 



A longish and very difficult short hole follows.


More to follow.

Ciao






 
« Last Edit: May 11, 2016, 04:23:56 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Bruce Wellmon

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Re: Cuartro Carolina Courses: RALEIGH CC 1-3
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2015, 09:17:05 AM »
In typical Ross fashion, there are many plateau and knob greens.  The 2nd is particularly difficult to hold not least because the grassing lines reduce the width of the fairway to an unreasonable degree.  Successfully taking on the bunkers offers a reward of thick bermuda rough ::)


Sean,
         You had a nice trip with Mimosa, Roaring Gap, and RCC. 3 of my favorites.
         I must say I'm not a big fan of the waterfall "feature" pictured above on a Ross course but considering McConnell, I am told, saved RCC, they get a pass............
         
         



Philip Hensley

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Re: Cuartro Carolina Courses: RALEIGH CC 1-3
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2015, 09:32:15 AM »
Sean,

What were green speeds like? The first time I played RCC they were the fastest greens I have ever played and were much too fast for slope and tilt of the greens. Being above the hole was a nightmare, but being pin high was even worse on many of the greens, because if was impossible to match break to speed, and once you missed the hole the putt would go by another 5-7 feet, even putts that almost died at the hole. We even had one guy that putted from the back of the green, through the green, and into a water hazard! Never seen that before!

The 2nd time I played the speeds were still fast. Although on the same hole, wil ample warning, we had another putt go into that same water hazard!

Sean_A

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Re: Cuartro Carolina Courses: RALEIGH CC 1-3
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2015, 10:09:08 AM »
Philip


The green speeds were quite reasonable.  I expect high summer humidity and heat limits the speeds to some degree.  As it was, they were maybe 9ish and perhaps a tad slow, but fine.  My playing partner said he had never seen the greens so slow, but that at top speed they were way too fast for the slope and contour...to the point of making a nonsense of the game. 


I have seen guys putt into water hazards...tee hee.  The 13th at Grosse Ile (a Ross course with some serious slope and contour on the greens...makes Raleigh look like child's play).  Many, many years ago rocks were placed between the green and the water to block off the watery grave  :D   I wonder if by the time RCC  was built green speeds were already quicker than say 1920.  It just seems like some of the earlier Ross courses had more adventurous greens, but then I know to never make generalizations about Ross greens.


Bruce


I was surprised by how much water Raleigh has...too much if you ask me.   


Ciao
« Last Edit: October 20, 2015, 11:07:21 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Philip Hensley

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Re: Cuartro Carolina Courses: RALEIGH CC 1-3
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2015, 11:03:56 AM »
The first time I played the asst pro there told is the greens were running at 14   ::). I was skeptical they could be that fast, but they were noticeably faster than any other greens I have ever played.

I think you are correct about the heat and humidity. They still have bent grass greens (everyone in the area is switching to Bermuda) so they have to make sure the greens stay alive in the summer. I played it in late spring and they were firm and fast (too fast).

I suspect a long-bomber could go into the water on the first hole since it isn't visible off the tee and the fairway slopes into it.

I'm not a big fan of the 2nd hole, for the reasons you stated.

Jerry Kluger

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Re: Cuartro Carolina Courses: RALEIGH CC 1-3
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2015, 03:20:40 PM »
I have recently played some Ross courses where they have softened the green contours in order to keep up the green speeds.  Raleigh has kept the contours and usually has the green speeds pretty high.  They also keep the Bermuda rough pretty deep.  I really like the course although if you play it too far back it will be too difficult to enjoy.  The second hole needs to be played far enough forward so that you can go at the top of the hill or right of it and get some roll otherwise, the second shot is really difficult. 


It is hard to show in a photo how much that 3rd green slopes from left to right and how deep that bunker on the right is. 

hhuffines

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Re: Cuartro Carolina Courses: RALEIGH CC 1-3
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2015, 09:11:08 PM »
The second hole used to be a great short par 4 but was lengthened.  I don't like the waterfalls much either but that area used to be a nasty swamp with trees.  Looking forward to pictures and comments on the rest of the course.  #13 used to be a cool dog leg left until one of the hurricanes knocked some trees down.

Jeff Shelman

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Re: Cuartro Carolina Courses: RALEIGH CC 1-3
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2015, 11:36:46 AM »
As a onetime member of Raleigh CC, I'm looking forward to this. I was a member there before Richard's work and have only played it once since then.
 

Tommy Williamsen

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Re: Cuartro Carolina Courses: RALEIGH CC 1-3
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2015, 12:45:54 PM »
I am a McConnell member and have played RCC a couple dozen times.  While the scorecard indicates an easy time of it the greens are some of the more difficult to figure out that I have ever played.  For instance, the third hole is severely tilted from left to right and back to front.  Prudence would indicate a miss to the left.  From the left side, however, up and down is really difficult. Ideally, you want to be on the right side of the green but a miss to the right falls off the earth.  It is great fun for those of us who hit the ball relatively straight and love the challenge around and on the greens.  Most of the time the green speeds hover right on the edge of playable and too fast.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2015, 12:57:39 PM by Tommy Williamsen »
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

"Deep within your soul-space is a magnificent cathedral where you are sweet beyond telling." Rumi

Sean_A

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Re: Cuartro Carolina Courses: RALEIGH CC 1-3
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2015, 04:46:11 AM »
HHuffines

How did they lengthen the 2nd? Was the pond enlarged?  I still like the hole, only I would ignore the bunker and play left. 

Yes, the third hole is a very difficult par 3 whose green dictates that it should be a shorter hole...more like 150 not 175.  Next time back I will push to play the senior tee on this hole...it looks a lot of fun.

RALEIGH CC CONT

The 4th is a dead straight par 4 of modest length, however, the green is very tricky...one of the best on the course. 


Legging sharply right between towering trees, the 5th is a good hole, but water once again makes an appearance....three holes in five. I did not care for the 6th in the least.  A longish par 3, the tee is stuck back behind the water with the hole playing between trees.  Once again, it looked to me like the senior tee was a better looking hole.  Another straight hole, the longish par 4 seventh plays uphill for the approach...to once again, a very good green. 

Things improve on the 8th.  There is slight movement to the right for this short par 5.  Trying for the green in two requires a pair of mighty blows given the hilly terrain.  Trees are a bit of an issue.  Some could be cleared out here and there; most especially behind the green which would offer tantalizing views of the 9th. 


Perhaps the best hole on the front side, the 9th is about 300 yards of fun.  The tall trees on the left side of the fairway are used to great effect in making the right bunkering more prominent.  Because there are just a few trees, the driving space doesn't look nearly as tight as it is.  Not surprisingly on a short two-shotter, the green runs very hard from back to front. 



Ciao

More to follow.




« Last Edit: October 25, 2015, 06:38:00 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

hhuffines

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Re: Cuartro Carolina Courses: RALEIGH CC 1-9
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2015, 06:32:21 PM »
Sean_A,


Sorry, didn't see your question until today.  The tee used to be behind the first green and yes it was moved into the woods behind the pond.  I'm guessing they added at least 50 yards so instead of a finesse shot to the fairway you now have to bust it to get there.  Thanks for the spread!

Sean_A

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Re: Cuartro Carolina Courses: RALEIGH CC 1-9 New
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2015, 05:50:19 AM »
hhufines

Yes, I noticed a little platform behind the green and thought that it must be a tee not in use for the day. 

RALEIGH CC CONT

Much like Mimosa Hills, Raleigh's back nine is of considerably higher quality than the front nine.  Downhill, the 10th doesn't play as long as the card suggests.


The 11th is a bruising par 4 with a non-descript green site that somehow manages to showcase a terrific green.  A par 5, the rather odd looking 12th is a good hole.  The drive is played between a series of hollows which I suspect are meant to be filled with sand.  Further up the fairway, several bunkers guard the optimal left side.  Without fail, this is another excellent green generally leaning toward the fairway. 


We now head into the meat of Raleigh CC.  The hills on this part of the course are used in a more oblique manner compared to the front 9 and this difference magnifies the character of the holes.  Turning left, the drive on 13 needs to stay well right, though this isn't obvious on the tee.  The raised green poses splendidly in a horseshoe of stately trees. 
   

Essentially, a knob to knob par 3, the 14th feels as if it sweeps across a broad valley the way a par 4 would. The green is large, yet elusive and tricky two putt. 


A short par 4 that many flat bellies will want to get after, the 15th green still requires some savvy play to walk away pleased.  The excellent golf carries on with 16.  Legging hard right, but cutting back on itself at the green, this reasonably long par 4 first plays over a valley of water.  Puffed up like Yorkshire Pudding, the centre of the green is the high point. 


The par 3 penulitimate hole is far more difficult than its listed 138 advertises. Tilted from front left to back right, much of the the green surface is blind. 


The well known 18th culminates the round in fine fashion.  A long par 4 bending left, the hole visually encourages play to the left when in truth its better to be right as the green opens up from this position.
 

Trying to approach the long, narrow and angled green from the left is not the ideal way to end a game.


I wish the front nine was as entertaining as the back nine, but we can't have everything.  I really enjoyed Raleigh CC, but there is no question in my mind that a better course is out there if more trees were removed, fairway lines shifted a bit and a rethink of a few tees were considered.  The set of greens is very good and could be better showcased by more sympathetic fairway lines.  I will never understand the desire to systematically leave rough on the insides of bunkers and near the greens...these grassing lines are particularly odd.  Perhaps it is time to bring back an archie to fine tune the course.  That said, if invited, one shouldn't be disappointed.  2015

My favourite course of the tour is undoubtably Mimosa Hills.  I can't say it was the best or even second best, but I have a lot of time for the club model.  While not great, the course is plenty good enough for the likes of me. Plus, I find the use of the house in the routing exemplary. 

The best course of the tour was without question Roaring Gap.  Even being overly hilly, it is clear the design and the presentation of the course are of a very high standard.  Plus, holes such as the volcano 6th and roller coaster ride 11th give Roaring Gap an edge which only unusual terrain can provide.  If an opportunity to play the course ever comes your way, grab it with both hands. 

Lonnie Poole was the biggest surprise of the trip for two reasons.  First, I had no idea the design  was so heavily reliant on carts...and it would be interesting to know why the routing was done this way.  Second, the course has much better holes than I expected, even if the experience is quite disjointed.  In any case, it is easy to see why many people who don't care about the walking aspect of the game would rate Lonnie Poole so highly.   

Roaring Gap
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,61881.msg1469504.html#msg1469504

Mimosa Hills
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,61874.msg1469315.html#msg1469315

Lonnie Poole
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,61832.msg1468459.html#msg1468459

Ciao
 
« Last Edit: September 25, 2020, 04:39:45 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

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