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My first time playing all 18 holes here and only my second visit. Man have I been missing out! Just a fantastic layout, front and back, with unique challenges and many memorable holes. This course fits the “Wow” factor of my Top 10 rankings very well and that’s why it earned an Honorable Mention in my Charlotte Agenda Top 10. If I had played all 18 before I wrote it, River Oaks would likely be in the Top 10. It’s a haul for me (1 hour plus from southeast Charlotte) or I’d play this course every week. And I need to, to get used to some of the more difficult holes. The front nine has 4 really tough ones — the par 4 3rd hole and the par 4 8th hole require two of the most accurate tee shots you’ll face on any course. You can sometimes get a break on #8 if the tee is down on the bottom, making the hole 10x easier as an iron/wedge par 4, but oh man, if the tee is on top! You are barely able to see the narrow fairway, protected on 3 sides by hazards with the view blocked by a steep hill on the left. The closing par 4 on the front 9 is a blind, layup tee shot with an approach to an elevated green perched in front of the clubhouse. The back 9 doesn’t let up either, with a back and forth mix of risk/reward and birdie/bogey opportunities throughout. The closing par 5 is the best example — you can play for birdie/eagle with an aggressive tee shot that better be in the fairway to try for the creek-protected green. Or you can play it as a 3-shotter but that again requires 3 accurate shots with hazards and bunkers challenging each shot. It really is an exhilarating course that you will score better on the more you play it. Conditions were very good – the greens rolled true and quick with no issues at all. The tees and fairways were lush. There are a few areas on the course you want to avoid — especially the right side of the par 5 #2 hole, which is all dirt and dead trees and not cleared out yet. There is also quite a bit of thick high grass bordering the fairways on some of the back nine holes where errant shots go to die. I did not use the practice facilities but I did notice they have a uniquely elevated driving range. The clubhouse and restaurant are top notch and when the COVID restrictions ease, it’s a great spot for your 19th hole gatherings as it overlooks the 9th and 18th greens. And check out their rates — this course is value-priced with a 5 star layout and great conditions. I can’t wait to get back and try this one again!
Not sure why you feel #3 & hole #8 are so difficult? And I think your confused about the tees on #8. The elevated tee to the left is the Blue Tee.. the others are always down near the creek. The blues are actually easier for the lower handicapp players.