When Canadian Tour player Brad Revell heard that I was going to play the Raleigh Country Club today, the former North Carolina State Wolfpack golfer had a one word description for the place – “pure”. He was bang on.
RCC was stop number one today on this year’s version of the annual road trip for myself and Flagstick Publisher Jeff Bauder and it proved to be a standard setter for all that will follow.
RCC, now part of the McConnell Golf Trail, a series of eight private clubs in the Carolinas that offer multi-day guest packages, has an attractive pedigree. Built in 1948 and opened in 1949 it was the last design of the great Donald Ross. Ross’ touch is obvious to anybody who plays the immaculately conditioned layout. Fairly generous out of the blocks each hole serves up a green design that pushes your short game to the limit. Deep greenside bunkers are well placed and each putting surface forcefully presses you to come up with the correct line of play, pace of stroke, and calmness of nerves.
Today the course was extra feisty; come tomorrow the first round of the club championships begins and the greens were playing to a screaming 12.5 feet on the stimpmeter. Of course that is on level putts, downhill putts were near impossible to stop within a few feet of the cup.
RCC members and staff are extremely proud of their club and rightfully so. Service by the staff was top notch and the practice facility is among the best I have visited. Guests will also find that touches like lockers personalized with their names is all part of the day’s slate of service.
In 2003, when John McConnell began acquiring the golf courses that are now part of his trail, Raleigh Country Club was his first purchase. After playing it and enjoying all the club has to offer, I can see why he felt the need to save the course that was facing a grim future under a heavy debt load.
It would have been a shame to see such an exquisite legacy to the talents of Donald Ross disappear.
Any chance to play Raleigh Country Club is something a true golf fan should never hesitate to accept.