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B-Man’s Review of Carolina Lakes Golf Club on 4/24/23

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  • Carolina Lakes Golf Club

    Course photo
    Date: 4/24/23 Mon Afternoon
    Overall Rating:

    "Great course"
    Conditions: Good - normal wear/tear
    Pace: 3 1/2 Hours
    Cost: $49
    Username: B-Man
    Profile: Golf Addict (more than once a week)
    Handicap: 6
    Today's Score: Not entered
    See All Reviews by this user

    My first trip back in over a year. Carolina Lakes got a lot of bad reviews last summer when they had issues with their Bentgrass greens. Not only did they suffer in the summer heat as Bentgrass can do sometimes but they had some sort of fungus or disease.

    I’m happy to report that the greens are in fine shape with no major issues. The greens were very consistent with good speed (not slick but not slow). I saw very few problems on any green. I wouldn’t say they were perfect (I have been spoiled at Longview), but by comparison to say, Olde Sycamore, they were better. I think Edgewater’s Bentgrass greens were smoother and quicker, but not by much.

    There were a few holes on the back nine that had areas in the fringe and within a few yards around the collar of the green that were dotted with clumps of poa annua – similar to Edgewater. I didn’t notice this problem on the front 9.

    Tees and fairways were good with a few exceptions. The fairway on the par 5 13th hole (one of the signature holes, I might add) was dotted with burnt out spots, almost like winter kill scars. It was more of an eye sore than a problem that affected play, though it made for a thin, hardpan lie if your ball was sitting directly on one.

    I really, really love this layout. It is one of my favorite public tracks in the Charlotte area. I started on the back 9 and was reminded how tough those first few holes on the back really are. The 10th hole is a long dogleg right par 4 that requires a very accurate approach. The 11th hole is a short dogleg right with such a sharp left to right sloping fairway that it is extremely difficult to hold the fairway. The par 3 12th hole requires an all-carry tee shot of at least 135 yards (depending on your tee) to a wide but shallow green. Just some nervy shots to start your round (or rather your back 9).

    The stretch of holes 13-16 is picturesque and breathtakingly dramatic. The par 5 13th is reachable with two good swings but the perched green is protected by water on 2 sides. The par 4 14th is a dogleg right that climbs steeply uphill to a large two-tiered green. The short par 4 15th is a driveable dogleg right but you have to challenge the pond and fairway bunker on the right side to get there. The long par 3 16th requires a 160+ yard carry over water and a murderer’s row of bunkers protecting the green. Just an exhilarating stretch of holes.

    The front nine is similarly fun and varied with elevation changes, hazards, doglegs and tricky greens. My favorite hole on the front is probably No. 9 with bunkers protecting the dogleg right and the opposite side of the fairway. You can’t see the green from the tee, but big hitters who can cut the ball left-to-right have a chance to get close with a good drive.

    Overall, I was happy to return to Carolina Lakes and play this layout again with greens in good shape. I worry about the Bentgrass surviving the summer after last season, but right now the course is in very good shape.

    The course still ranks as one of the more expensive ones in the area ($49 for a twilight weekday round felt pricey), but when conditions are good, it can be worth it. And right now, it is.

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I've launched this year's version of the Charlotte Golf Survey where you get to rate all of the public golf courses within an hour of Charlotte. And just like last year, if you submit the survey, you will be entered into a drawing to win a round of golf with me a The Club...

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