Forest Creek Deserving of Accolades
If you’ve had the pleasure of playing the courses at Forest Creek Golf Club, it is no surprise that both the North and South designs have been ranked among the best 50 residential courses in the nation by Golfweek.
Both the North and the South layouts were designed by the renowned architect Tom Fazio, and both have been drawing accolades since their opening.
The South Course, which was opened in 1996 and drew national attention not only because of its excellence, but because the legendary University of North Carolina and NBA basketball star Michael Jordan elected to make it his home course.
Jordan bought property on the course and visited it often with friends.
The North Course was opened in 2005 and immediately joined its sister course in reaping praise. In fact, the North Course has been ranked higher nationally than the South, although the South is still ranked higher by the North Carolina Golf Panel.
Why the disparity? It’s hard to figure, unless it’s simply because the panel members were ranking the South for years before the North was built and had built up a loyalty.
The truth is that both courses are deserving of the ranking and perhaps should be rated even higher than they are. The South Course is ranked No. 9 by the N.C. Panel, while the North comes in at No. 16. In my opinion, both are wrong.
As a charter member of the Golf Panel, I understand how difficult it is to rank golf courses. There are so many great courses in the state that being fair to them all is an impossibility. We do the best we can and put a lot of thought and agonizing into the voting each year, but it’s still an arbitrary method.
Frankly, I could pick a top 10 from right here in Moore County and feel pretty darn comfortable with it. But I try to be as objective as possible in my voting.
I will tell you, though, that I voted both the North and the South courses higher than they appeared in the ranking of 2011. The South was placed at No. 9 and the North at No. 16.
In full disclosure, I will also tell you that I voted the South Course a couple of spots higher than the North. Why?
Frankly, I can’t tell you that. It’s just a matter of preference and, in more of the full disclosure vein, it may even be because I was a much better golfer in 1996 than I was in 2005, and my personal experience on the courses may have some bearing in how I voted.
In its national Best Residential poll, Golfweek placed the North Course 36th and the South 50th. That’s among all the courses in the country, and that’s pretty gaudy stuff.
But as far as I’m concerned, it’s pretty much on the money. I’ve played a lot of great golf courses and there aren’t too many places that, given a choice, I’d rather live on the premises and play the courses on a regular basis.
Bradley Klein, Golfweek’s man in charge of compiling the ratings, thinks they are fair.
“I like how our readers can see the merits of two diverse Fazio-designed course styles side-by-side,” he said in a release. “The sandy, scrubby look of the North Course contrasts powerfully with the mature parkland sensibility of the South Course.”
Hey, maybe it’s that sensibility thing that I like. Frankly, I still think it’s just a matter of personal preference.
“We’re proud of the fact that Forest Creek has always set the standard for golf course communities,” club president Terry Brown said. “Our residents are blessed with two golf experiences that we have always considered among the best in the world.”
The USGA is recognizing the excellence of the two courses, also. Forest Creek has already hosted sectional qualifying for both the U.S. Women’s Open and the U.S. Girls Junior Championship.
And now it has been announced that the U.S. Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship will be staged there Oct. 5-10 of 2013. That’s less than a year before Pinehurst hosts both the Men’s and Women’s U.S. Opens.
Know any golf destination that can one-up the Sandhills?
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