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B-Man’s Review of River Bend YMCA Golf Course on 8/21/23

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  • River Bend YMCA Golf Course

    Course photo
    Date: 8/21/23 Mon Morning
    Overall Rating:

    "Great course"
    Conditions: Perfect
    Pace: 4 1/2 Hours
    Cost: $19
    Username: B-Man
    Profile: Golf Addict (more than once a week)
    Handicap: 6
    Today's Score: 81
    See All Reviews by this user

    My first time at River Bend in Shelby, NC and… WOW. I’ll start with what I paid – $19!?! I got a Hot Deal on GolfPass but even the rack rate of $35 would have been a steal.

    Next: the greens. Immaculate. FAST. Challenging. Simply the best putting surfaces in public golf around Charlotte. Period. End of debate. These Mini-Verde Bermuda greens were so good I will put them up against the best *private* club greens I’ve played in Charlotte – the likes of Peninsula Club, Trump National and Rolling Hills.

    The layout is fun, challenging and diverse. Great mix of elevation changes, doglegs, water hazards, short and long holes. Hole No. 5 is reminiscent of Augusta’s Amen Corner par 3 No. 12. It is a short-iron par 3 over water, beautifully framed by the pond and three bunkers in the front and a landscaped hill with flowers behind it.

    The number 1 handicap hole is the short but uphill par 4 No. 8 hole. The tee shot is somewhat blind because of the elevation change and is guarded by water left and O.B. right. Your approach shot to the huge, shallow but wide putting surface will also be uphill, over a hazard to a perched green where balls that come up short will roll back down the hill possibly into the water.

    The tees, fairways and bunkers (I wasn’t actually in one) were all in very good shape, super lush all around. Off the fairway, lies were hit or miss and there were some areas clearly marked as GUR (e.g. right of fairway on No. 13), but that feels like a nitpick considering the greens.

    One other less appealing aspect of the course is all of the power lines throughout the course. They can even come into play on some holes. A member of my foursome hit a good tee shot on the par 5 6th hole that struck one of the lines and deflected down on the Red tee box. Of course he got to re-play the shot with no penalty but I’ve rarely ever seen that happen (e.g. Mooresville and Birkdale also have power lines in play).

    The driving range is sandwiched between holes 10 and 11 and it can affect the play of those two holes – i.e. don’t go left off the tee on 10 or long on your approach to 11. The chipping and putting green was just as immaculate as the greens on the course. So it’s perfect for getting your speed down before you play.

    Overall, this course is just an exceptional value. In fact, it’s not really close to anything closer to Charlotte. If the 45-60 minute drive gives you pause, I would suggest finding a day when you can play 36. You could play here twice or play a second round at nearby Deer Brook, which is very similar in price and conditions.

    Look for River Bend to contend for a spot in my 2024 Top 10 list! Go play it!

Comments (1)


  • B-Man – Very high praise for a YMCA course!
    I’m intrigued though, your descriptions are always accurate and realistic. It would take that for me to drive from Fort Mill to Shelby!

    I wonder if the Power Lines hum like the ones at Deer Brook.

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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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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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