The Club at Irish Creek
1. Routing: 8
Tight, economical core front nine and expansive back nine, with lake on various sides of play. Ninth hole doesn’t quite return to clubhouse and seems to linger by the lake for a special effect that works.
2. Quality of shaping: 8
Lines flow gracefully, with features tied in well and the occasional abruptness where appropriate for drama.
3. Overall land plan: 6
Flow of course around lake is spectacular, but the clubhouse, parking lot, access road and practice range compromise the expansiveness. It will help when the dated, 1960s-looking, brick-style clubhouse (architecturally, it’s between a roadside hotel and a funeral home) gets its planned renovation.
4. Greens and surrounds: 10
Excellent variety and range of contours; interesting recovery when ball rolls over.
5. Variety and memorability of par 3s: 8
What a pleasure to end on a par 3 – in this case, a long uphill one that’s unbunkered. From 6,489 yards, the shots ranged from a downhill 8-iron at the eighth hole to a 3-hybrid on that last hole.
6. Variety and memorability of par 4s: 6
Wonderful short par 4s at the outset (Nos. 1-2, 4-5). Back-nine par 4s are, on average, 50 yards longer than on front. Only let-up on the course is a sequence of three awkward par 4s where the ground is too steep on the right (Nos. 10-11) and at No. 12 gets incredibly dull.
7. Variety and memorability of par 5s: 7
Very different holes, including sweeping downhill, level and semi-blind uphill.
8. Tree and landscape management: 8
Wide corridors and dramatic sweep to the fairways. Trees generally are used smartly to define the occasional inside of a dogleg – with the exception of tight holes at the outset of the back nine.
9. Conditioning: 8
Superintendent Artie Helton and crew did an impressive grow-in during one of the region’s hottest, driest summers. Tifsport Bermudagrass tees and fairways are solid; native and fescue roughs are filling in nicely.
10. “Walk in the park” test: 9
Elegant walk and enjoyable throughout.
A strong candidate for Golfweek’s Best Top 100 Modern status and clearly the best work produced by Love Golf Design.
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1196 Fairway Dr., Kannapolis, N.C. 28081
Private membership club: fees to be determined; walking/carrying your bag always an option and easy.