This is course south of the Ballantyne area off Hwy 521 and just across the NC-SC border opened in 2007. It runs through a retirement community and offers discounts for residents. With natural streams and several ponds, the course is a challenging but fair championship golf course designed by Golf Course Architect Tim Freeland. It features Bermuda fairways and G2 Bent Grass greens – one of the few public courses in the area still featuring Bent Grass putting surfaces. Five sets of tees allow golfers of all ages and abilities to enjoy the championship layout at Carolina Lakes. The course also includes a sixth or family tee which turns the layout into a par 55 course, with 17 par 3's and one par 4, sort of a course inside a course.
The course offers regular memberships and annual pre-paid green fees and cart fees that can significantly reduce the cost the more rounds you buy.
I play this course a few times a year and it has been a fixture in my Top 10 list ranking as high as #2. It is truly a gem and lives up to its billing (and price). I would definitely describe the layout as "well-bunkered." Every hole features strategically placed traps and they affect your shot choices. There aren't too many surprises, even for first-time players. Pretty straightforward. The course includes some reachable par 5's and nearly driveable par 4's. I especially liked the 297-yd (from the Whites) par 4 11th hole and the 313-yd par 4 15th hole. Lots of risk and reward opportunities. I found the par 5 6th hole to be pretty difficult, with a creek at the end of the fairway affecting your tee shot, then uphill approaches with plenty of bunkers. Overall, this course is a great treat if you can afford it -- one of the nicest, well-kept courses in the area.
I normally love this course and have only positive things to say. I played here 3 days in a row (Saturday, Sunday, Monday) of this weekend and feel their rates were a bit steep for what you got. Several greens have massive dead areas (bentgrass died). I was also a bit miffed by being charged a $25 rider fee when my girlfriend came out with me on Sunday (Though they gave me a cart to myself on Monday as a single with no fee). For a course I probably play 40 times a year, this rubs me a bit.Read The Review
One of my favorite courses and it did not disappoint. Tee boxes, fairways, bunkers and greens were all in great shape. I believe the greens are still bent grass and rolled smooth but were a little slower compared to other courses I've played recently. Can't wait to play here again.Read The Review
Based on other recent reviews, I'd say Carolina Lakes is in good shape, given the extremely wet weather of the past 2 months. Greens were in good shape, rolling quick and true with a few exceptions. On some greens that had a few bumpy spots, the pins were placed far enough away that I didn't experience or witness any bad rolls. The tees and fairways were not as good, with some poa annua affecting several holes. I was playing in a tournament (which explains the 5+ hour round) and we were playing lift-clean-place. So those poa annua spots didn't affect play. Bunkers (and there are a million on this course) were in good shape, with no standing water. The layout here is a still a favorite of mine, with tons of risk/reward holes and large, sloped greens that test your approach shot accuracy and your putting. This course will be in my annual Top 10 list once again.Read The Review
Normally I love Carolina Lakes but yesterday left a bad taste in my mouth. Course was water logged and fairways were littered with massive divots. Tee boxes were inconsistent. Some were green and long, some brown and muddy. Greens were just ok. No starter out there and range was closed. But they still charged full price even through the condition of the course was pretty terrible. What ever happened to Winter rates to reflect the conditions. Not great value at all. I recommend staying away until spring unless you want to drop $70 to play in below average conditionsRead The Review
Carolina Lakes is one of if not my favorite public course in the Charlotte area. I find it to be a very visually appealing course, and I usually play pretty well here. Practice area is average and the people in the clubhouse aren't particularly friendly, but it doesn't bother me. As other reviews have mentioned, lots of bunkers (every single hole), but particularly on #1, 2, 9, and 11 where some might consider them excessive. All four par 3's have water in play, but none are overly long. Fairways are wide and fair, but if you miss them you're going to be in the woods more often than not. Houses come into play on a few holes, but aren't a big issue. Six other holes also have water, ranging from small creeks across the fairways to lakes along the majority of the hole (par 5 #6th). Rough is not particularly penal in my opinion, usually cut fairly low. Definitely lots of fun risk/reward holes where you can go for birdies or lay up and play for par. Greens vary widely in size and slope. A number of the large ones have two or even three tiers that can be quite difficult.Read The Review