Located off Lawyer's Road in the Matthews / Indian Trail area, this course lives up to the 'lake' in its name, with water coming into play on many holes, including the signature par 5 14th hole -- with 2 shots over the 12-acre lake. It is a semi-private course and one of the few Charlotte area public courses with Crenshaw bent grass greens.
Memberships are available. They also have season passes where you can buy a bundle of weekend or weekday rounds. If you plan to regularly play here, they are a good deal, giving you $10 off the typical rack rate. The original clubhouse burned down on the 4th of July back in 2012 -- I was one of the last people to leave the clubhouse that day when I still had my membership. A new one was finished in 2016 and now includes an event facility that can host weddings and banquets. The Lakeview Grille looks over the 14th tee and 18th green and has shaded outdoor seating.
This course was once my home course, back in 2011-2012, and for over two decades I lived only about 5 minutes away. I still get out to play here frequently with friends who are members and I know the nuances of this course better than almost any other in the Charlotte area. Between the tree-lined tight fairways on some holes, the water hazards / sand bunkers on others, and the slick, sloped, undulating greens, your swing needs to be under control to keep the ball in play and your score down. I started to have better success here in recent years, once I learned to stay away from trouble and not hit driver on every par 4. Some holes can still get me, though, including #12, a very long, narrow par 4, and #9, another long par 4 with an approach over a creek, uphill to the toughest green on the course. My favorite holes are the exciting par 5's #14 and #18 with water in play for more than one shot. In the summer of 2020, the course hired a new superintendent (Mike Stell formerly the asst. super at Quail Hollow Club) and rededicated itself to keeping the Crenshaw bent grass greens in great shape year round. They have done a great job bringing Emerald Lake back to the upper echelon of public courses in Charlotte and have added great event hosting capabilities. One final note: the course uses dynamic pricing so the rack rates are fluid based on demand. Your price may vary from round to round.
Back at Emerald Lake for the first time since Memorial Day weekend. The greens are starting to get their late summer softness, which leads to many, many ballmarks and sometimes bumpy putts. So they are not as good as they were in early summer. However, I'd say they are in much better shape for this time of year than in years' past. The speed was decent but not fast at all. The tees and fairways were fine, no issues to note. The disappointing aspect of the course conditions right now are the bunkers. Several -- especially the ones on the par 5 5th hole -- were overgrown with grass and weeds. I was shocked. My playing partner lost a ball in a fairway bunker on that hole due to the overgrowth. Just a severe lack of attention and care to a basic aspect of course maintenance. There were a few more bunkers on other holes with grass (e.g. par 3 16th greenside bunker) and some that just had not been raked or maintained. Given the price ($72) and the condition of the rest of the course, I don't understand why these bunkers were neglected. I did see the GM and the superintendent riding around the course but did not get a chance to ask them about the bunkers. While Emerald Lake has made great strides from previous seasons with their Bent grass greens and course improvements, I was disappointed with this round.Read The Review
So just let me preface this review real quick…Emerald Lake has unfortunately been one of my least favorite places to play through the years. From layout to conditions it’s sucked for many, many years. But I got invited to play there last week, so I went. I knew something was up immediately when I saw the maintenance crew topdressing tees. And then when I got to the course I knew things had completely changed out there. Their bent grass greens are 2 feet faster and have much better coverage than Pine Island’s private CC greens. Sure…the first bounce is nonexistent but their green’s speed is much faster than you’d expect from any place in the summer with bent grass greens. Just fix a couple ball marks and any putt is makeable out there. The fairways were flawless. I still can’t believe I’m saying this about EL. Playing it down…I didn’t have the first bad lie. Even the holes that notoriously flood were completely dry and in the same shape as the rest of the course. And the fact that they’re topdressing tees let’s me know somebody gives a hoot out there. Couldn’t have been more surprised by Emerald Lake. Definitely worth playing if you’ve written this course off in the past!!!Read The Review
Back at Emerald Lake to use up a raincheck before it expired (and managed to dodge the storms so I didn't get another one). Got what I expected. The bent grass greens are getting close to the edge with unfixed ball marks and bare dirt spots where old locations used to be. You've probably got another couple of weeks before the greens will be in trouble. Today they rolled well as long as you fixed any marks on your line. The rest of the course was in fine shape, no issues. Very pricey, as I've reported for years. Got there as a walkup about 2:40 and the rate was going to be $64. The pro shop suggested I go out at 3:10 when the rate would drop to $45 - so I appreciated that. Still, $45 after 3 on a Friday afternoon for Emerald Lake is... not a deal. I kinda had to use the raincheck or lose it, so... One other note, they have paved the parking lot where the old clubhouse used to be to the right of #18. So that's a different visual now, not to mention dangerous O.B.(better have insurance ;-). Other than that, Emerald Lake is still a fun track to play and I have so much history here that I'll be back when the time and price are right.Read The Review
Emerald Lake used to be my home course and so I played it a ton over the years. Wasn't particularly happy with my experience this time back for 3 reasons -- they have raised the hole cups, they've added a $7 surcharge for single cart usage and their rate for a Tuesday morning round 3 weeks after aeration was $55 (!). The fairways were in good shape and the greens rolled well considering you could still see the aeration holes and some of the sand. But come on, the raised cups do not feel like golf. Put a foam filler in, turn them upside down, but don't raise the cups. Every thing within about 8-10 feet was a virtual gimme. No fear at all. At least my two birdies on #6 and #10 were gimmes under normal conditions (less than 3 feet), but I had a few pars that were no sweat at all from within 10 feet. And I made a dubious "bogey" on 7 with a chip that hit the raised cup. So it was a great round (75) but was probably a 78 with normal cups. This is the first course I've played that's using raised cups and I'll wait to come back until they go back to normal and wipe out that ridiculous $7 surcharge. $62 for a weekday morning round!Read The Review
Love the layout but the bent grass greens were soft and hairy. Could not get enough of a consistent roll to make any significant putts. I've gotten so spoiled by all the Bermuda grass courses around town that coming back to Emerald Lake was a bit disappointing. Several of the greens had issues with old ball marks or thin dirt spots, but they didn't necessarily affect putting as much as the slow speed and natural bumpiness of the bent grass. Fairways, rough, bunkers and tees were all just fine. The rate was good for a weekday afternoon but $5 for a Stella was pretty steep.Read The Review