Tot Hill Farm Golf Club is a vintage Mike Strantz design that opened in 2000 to rave reviews as one of the toughest tracks in the Carolinas. Mike Strantz designed 6 courses that the public can play, cinluding nearby Tobacco Road Golf Club outside of Pinehurst. This course is about a 75-minute drive from Charlotte but is well-worth the time to experience such a unique layout. This Strantz design features dramatic elevation changes that create some blind approach shots into tiny targets, due to the multi-tiered greens that are well protected by rocks, streams and bunkers.
New owners took over in early 2023 and immediately shut down the course for renovations to restore it to its former glory and what Strantz intended it to be. It reopened in Sept 2023 with brand new Prizm Zoysia greens with intentions to be a premier golf trip destination.
Relatively convenient to Pinehurst and Tobacco Road, Tot Hill Farm partners with several golf package providers so you can make it part of a Pinehurst trip.
Most people either love or hate Mike Strantz courses and Tot Hill Farm is one of the most divisive of all his designs. I am a Strantz fan and Tobacco Road is one of my favorite golf courses to play, period. Tot Hill Farm is a bit more extreme and so it lands further down on my list. I enjoy playing this course for the challenge every so often but wouldn't survive frequent visits.
Approach shots to the majority of greens have to land within a 5-10 yard radius of your target or you're dead. The combination of rocks, streams, bunkers and "goofy" multi-tiered putting surfaces give you a very, very small margin of error. There are also a fair amount of blind shots due to the dramatic elevation changes.
The 9th hole is Tot Hill Farm in a nutshell. The tee shot can be demanding due to the trees pinching in the first part of the fairway and O.B. if you go long, through the fairway. A good drive in the center of the fairway leaves you a mid or short iron approach that can play 2-3 clubs uphill (!) to a long, skinny, severely sloped green. Good luck getting your ball on the green on the right tier where the flag is located.
The 10th green is the most unique I've ever seen. You will have an uphill approach to the green, but there is a back portion to this green that is a good 10-15 feet lower than the front/middle tier. You don't even know it's there until you get on the green. I have never seen the pin on that back portion, but that would be a brutal test.
The front nine features 3 par 5's (including back-to-back on holes 4 and 5) and is a par 37. The back nine is a par 35. If you can hit your targets off the tee and into the greens well, the course is scoreable. The new Prizm Zoysia greens are thankfully not too fast still or some pin positions would be unfair. As they grow in the course will get tougher. For now, approach shots even with wedges will bounce fairly hard.
The par 4 12th is a beautiful hole that bends around a lake and gives you a dramatic view of your downhill approach to a large green. The course finishes with a short par 5, a long par 4 and a steeply uphill par 5 that gives you a nice view of the closing 3 holes.
Overall, I think this course is a treat to play, just for the unique challenges it presents, but your mileage may vary. With the renovations, prices have also gone up and the fees will set you back $110 on most days. I say most because the course's online booking is using dynamic pricing. You can get a better deal the further in advance you book.
|Junior (Lil Man)||72||4556||63.8||117|
Got to play the newly restored Mike Strantz gem Tot Hill Farm in the season opening event for TheGrint Tour NC. The course looks to be back to its former glory. The conditions were very good and the greens, while slow for now as the new Prizm Zoysia grows in, were very consistent. I struggled to get the ball to the hole early and often. So make sure you hit putts confidently and aggressively. This is a love it or hate it course for most people. I'm more towards the love it side, but I wouldn't play this course too often. It is tough! It's a very unique layout, with dramatic elevation changes, visually intimidating tee shots and approach shots, and sometimes downright goofy multi-tiered greens. A round here becomes an adventure very quickly. The layout features 5 par 5's and 5 par 3's, with back to back par 5's on the front side. The closing stretch includes a short, risk reward par 5, a long par 4 road hole, and a tricky, severely uphill par 5. Common features on nearly every hole: rocks, boulders, streams, bunkers and severely sloped or tiered greens. These make for some very tight, target golf tee shots and approaches. On some holes, you need to hit a 5-10 yard radius target or you will find trouble. It's exhilarating and frustrating at the same time. The new owners took great care to restore the course to Strantz' original design intentions and it's a visually stunning course. With the renovations, which also included a revitalized clubhouse, lounge, porches and "Strantz Room", the price to play increased and is now around $110. The further in advance you book your tee time, the better deal you can get. I recommend looking ahead several weeks for a $70 tee time if you know you want to play here. Tobacco Road is still my favorite Strantz design by far, but I'm happy to see Tot Hill Farm restored and worthy of the Strantz name again.Read The Review