This will be a longer than normal review. I haven’t played Highland Creek for 3 years due to the Carolina Trail fiasco even though the course is only 6 miles from my house. I checked this website, and the most recent reviews (April) were mixed with one expressing the sentiment that it was the first, and probably last, time that he would play the course. I resolved to give the course a try with the intent of providing as thorough and honest review as possible.
I easily made a tee time by calling the Pro Shop the day before. Highland Creek is to be commended for scheduling tee times for singles – not every course in the Charlotte area does. I was cheerfully greeted upon arrival at the bag drop, and found the other staff to be very pleasant and congenial. The Senior Rate of $30 is competitive with other, similar courses in the area. Carts are powered by internal combustion engine, and that is my, personal preference – I have never had one of those fail me on the course, but have had several “dead battery” experiences with the electrics.
The practice green was cut long, and was very slow (overnight rain/thunderstorm may have had something to do with that). The on-course greens were equally slow, but rolled true in spite of some patchiness and an abundance of
un-repaired ball marks. Of course, the latter is more of an indictment of the clientele than of course management. The conditions put a premium on hitting the hole in the center with good pacing – putts would not “fall” no matter how closely they came to, or skimmed, the edges. The fairways and tee bases were green, and in generally good condition with only isolated spare, or patchy, areas. The rough was moderately thick, and balls that did not find the fairway sank into it and were hard to find (I actually found someone else’s lost ball by stepping upon it while searching for mine.) Many areas surrounding the tees and greens need to be cut/weeded if for nothing other than aesthetic reasons. The bunkers are the one area that do need work – all seemed to be a roughly 50:50 mix of sand and clay, and one bunker had severe erosion. The concrete cart paths were in good condition (Reviews of other courses have been rather critical of respective cart paths.)
My complaints with the course are really minor. First, there are no, real Senior tees available. The White tees are 600 yards longer than the upper limit recommended by the “Play It Forward” guidelines for my driving distance. Second, I would like to have better course/hole pictorials on the scorecard (I failed to check for a yardage book if, indeed, one exists – my bad). I generally play with a tracking app on my iPhone that includes satellite views and yardages, and that information is useful/critical to strategic round navigation and course management. Unfortunately, Highland Creek is not in the app’s inventory of courses, and lack of knowledge of the course made for a difficult round especially on the Par 5 12th hole where not knowing the layout of the hole, or the available lay-up distances/yardage was penalizing. Third, the #15 green (play started on the back nine) was being watered at 10 AM and, although I was able to dodge the sprinkler stream, the water made the green even SLOWER and I missed my sand save. Finally, the on-course restrooms are locked, and there was no key on my cart. This was easily rectified at the turn, but the situation did result in increased pressure and tension during the first nine holes of play.
All in all, I was very pleased with the course. It’s a challenging course, but I believe a fair one. Current physical conditions are generally good, and did not affect scoring. I genuinely enjoyed my outing, and will return in the very near future. I would encourage the dissatisfied April reviewer to give the course another try – I think that he would be pleasantly surprised.
Rates: Weekday $40-$48, Weekend $49-$68 Practice Area: Driving range with grass tees, putting green, chipping green with sand bunker.
Description: Located in Mint Hill off Hwy 218, this semi-private club offers a very challenging layout with strategically placed bunkers, several ponds, and typically slick greens.
Notes: Course offers membership deals and is a great place for a golf outing.
B-Man's Take: This has become one of my favorite courses in the area. It is kept in great shape from tee to green, with some of the nicest white sand bunkers around town. This course will also test your range, as you'll likely need every club in the bag. There are many holes where you'll want to use something other than driver off the tee. My favorite holes: the two par 5's that bookend the round -- the 517yd birdie-able first hole and the likewise birdie-able 528yd finishing hole. Hell-holes: too many to list, but look out for the two-tiered green on the par 3 fourth and the trouble-laden par 4 10th hole. I suggest finding a member and playing under the guest rate, since this is otherwise a pricey round of golf.