Collegiate loyalties run deep here in the Triangle of North Carolina. Wake Forest, Duke, University of North Carolina and North Carolina State all have their dedicated fans. Just have a look around and see all those people wearing red, baby blue, navy blue, and black and gold.
When it comes to golf, the rivalries might only come second to the one centred on roundball.
In the last couple days Jeff and I had a chance to visit the campus at both North Carolina State and the University of North Carolina and play their respective golf courses.
The NC State course, the Lonnie Poole Golf Course, opened just this past summer and will need some time to grow in to see it’s full potential. It is a brawny Arnold Palmer design stretching to nearly 7,400 yard but it left us a little perplexed. They had a wandering, rolling piece of land that they threw $14 million dollars at and came up with a less than satisfying result.
It features some rough looking bunkering in a “Pine Valley” styling but it seems to have missed its mark if it planned to be considered a top design. A great example is a 550-yard par four,yes, par four that plays uphill from tee to green. At a shorter yardage it would be considered a decent hole but at that absurd length it seems like nothing but a yardage grab. Pop it 320 off the tee and you still have 230 elevated yards to traverse!
Over at the University of North Carolina the UNC-Finley Golf Course has a longer history – it started as a George Cobb design built in the 1940’s. In 1999 Tom Fazio rebuilt the place and did an exceptional job. Within the mature landscape marked by numerous types of trees he created a solid grouping of holes that move nicely around the property. The green complexes are well bunkered and the putting surfaces run fast and true.
In this battle UNC’s golf course comes out on top, even if their actual golf teams don’t always do the same.