Go play Rock Barn. You won’t regret it. It’s a good 50-minute drive up Hwy 16 from Charlotte (you’ll pass Verdict Ridge on your way), but you will be well rewarded for making the trip. The club feels like a resort with 36 holes (the Jones course is private, however), a spa, tennis courts, pool, and a couple of restaurants onsite. Range balls are included in your fee – which, at $65 for a weekend round, is still a great value compared to the $75+ rates at a few courses in Charlotte. The club features the largest practice putting green I’ve ever seen. So if you need to practice those 100-foot putts, Rock Barn will be your jam.
The Jackson Course is the public track but it is kept in great condition. The Bentgrass greens were in great shape and rolled quick and true. A few of the greens can be really tough due to the slopes – during our round, the pins on 11, 13 and 18 were treacherous. The course plays short, giving you many chances to hit less than driver off the tee. Risk-reward choices abound, but none more tricky than the par 5 10th hole – where even the layup makes you consider how much of the water-guarded dogleg to bite off.
The par 6th hole is one of the signature holes with a long downhill carry over water. During our round, it played as nearly a 190-yard shot with a stiff wind in our face. Bogey won this hole in our group.
I love playing here when I get a chance to make the drive. As the days get longer, it’d be a good one to pair with Verdict Ridge or River Oaks for a 36-hole marathon. I highly recommend the hot dog at the Fresh Chef cafe in the clubhouse at the turn and the chicken quesadillas afterward.
Last thing – see my note in the Forum about aeration dates. Rock Barn will aerate the Jackson course on April 11th.