Cabarrus Country Club-A George Cobb Design

The Cabarrus Country Club is a George Cobb-designed gem located in Concord, North Carolina a few miles north of Charlotte.

If the name George Cobb sounds familiar, it should.  His most famous work is the Par-3 course at Augusta National Golf Club.  During the 1950’s, Cobb was design consultant with the Club, working closely with Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts.  In 1959 the “little course” was opened and has played a significant part of the Masters week activities; hosting the Par-3 tournament on Wednesdays before the tournament proper starts on Thursday.

Cobb’s other most-well known design is The Quail Hollow Country Club in Charlotte, host to last weekend’s Wells Fargo Classic, and last year’s PGA Championship.

Cobb designed over 100 courses, the majority of them from the mid-1950’s through the mid-1980’s.  The overwhelming majority are in the southern part of the U.S., which stands to reason.  Cobb was born in Savannah, Georgia, died in Greenville, South Carolina, was an alumnus of The University of Georgia, and therefore was a son of the south.

Walkability and Playability

One of Cobb’s guiding principles was to design courses that the average golfer would find playable and enjoyable.  To that extent, he worked closely with each client in encouraging this type of architecture.

The Cabarrus Country Club

The Cabarrus Country Club as it exists today was opened in 1966.  One of the mandates given to George Cobb and his design team was to make it “walkable.”  He accomplished that, creating a challenging course with undulating bermuda greens, strategically placed bunkers, and just enough water to keep the golfer on her or his toes.

The course can play from over 6900 yards (73.9/136) from the tips, all the way to a modest 4,366 yards from the Executive tees.  The majority of golfers play the white tees at 5899 yards and rating/slope of 68.7/125 or the members tees, which are a hybrid of some white tees and some blue tees, which lengthens it a bit to 6293 yards (70.4/129).

Playing The Course

CCC opens with a benign, gentle dogleg right par-5.  So the fader, or the golfer who hasn’t quite loosened up yet is likely going to have his ball in play with a standard left-to-right ball flight.  The only issue here is not pulling it to the left, as the driving range runs parallel to the left rough.  A pulled drive is a lost ball…well, technically, it’s a found three or four dozen range balls, but finding your ball is a needle in a haystack.

Otherwise, it’s a three-shot hole for all but the longest hitter, with your choice of wedge into a sloping green guarded by front bunkers.  Then the golfer is faced with the first of 18 interesting undulating greens, running somewhere between 11 and 12 on the Stimpmeter.

Another feature that is apparent on the first hole is that it is quite level- very little elevation change.  This is the first indication that it indeed is a walkable course!

Cabarrus-2nd-green

Cobb eases the player into the round, then slaps him in the face with the number-one handicap hole.  The second is a straightaway par-4.  There is a small pond immediately in front of the green, with a severe slope that will funnel anything that isn’t actually on the green back to the water.  Trees on the right can block out a pushed drive, and anything but a solid tee shot will result in a long-iron, over water.  This hole can leave you debating if you shouldn’t have maybe moved up a set of tees before you started.

The remainder of the front-nine again gives confirmation that this is a walkable course.  The hardest walks, frankly, are from a few of the greens to elevated tees.  Most tees are in fact elevated, making the tee shots a bit easier than they might otherwise be.  The two par-3’s are similar in design, one just a bit longer than the other.

The ninth is a tough way to finish the inward half.  A long, dogleg left par-4 with a bunker on the left corner daring the player to try and cut off more of the hole than he should.  There is out-of-bounds along the right side, so a solid drive is paramount.  Anyone drawing it around the corner, however, has a relatively easy second shot, but to a green that slopes and curves and breaks uphill and seems to have grain that defies gravity.

The Second Nine

The second nine has a great routing scheme, with 10-13 a mini-circuit that allows a player who only wants to play a quick four holes the opportunity to do so and finish back at the clubhouse.

It is also slightly more hilly than the first nine.  Number 11 is an uphill par-5 that is tree-lined on both sides and due to the elevation change and no roll, is a solid three-shot hole.  Playing for position on the second shot is the smart move, with a short wedge shot giving a legitimate chance for birdie.

Twelve gives the player the first glimpse of significant water.  A large lake guards the green on the backside, so anything long is wet.  It is downhill as well, so most players will err toward being short.

All carry over water

The 15th, a par-3 total carry over that lake, is the signature hole.  The shot requires landing on a narrow, two-tiered green, so even a solid shot might be faced with a putt to the other tier.  A par on this hole is a score well-earned.

Seventeen and eighteen are the stout holes on the back.  Seventeen is a long, dogleg left par-4.  A large tree and bunker guard the left side- if you aren’t far enough right or long enough, the tree blocks the second shot.  Bailing out to the right makes the second shot significantly longer to an elevated green with grain that counteracts the back to front slope.

Eighteen is a great finishing hole. A par-5 with a bunker guarding the landing area on the right, it forces a drive to the middle or middle left.  Then the hole bends left, again, with a bunker in the landing area of the second shot on the right.  A small creek guards the green in front, so anyone wanting to go for the green has to carry the shot the entire distance.

Amenities

As you would expect, the staff are top-notch.  Head Professional Ken Guilford is friendly and helpful, and the assistant pros act as if they have known you for years five minutes after meeting.

Putting green with range in background

Cabarrus has a great driving range with Titleist range balls, and an excellent short game area with two greens and large bunker to practice those bunker shots you are almost assuredly going to need.

If in the Charlotte area and you want to play (walk!) a course designed by a nationally-recognized master, plus be treated like you’re part of the family, check into Cabarrus Country Club.

And if you decide to check it out, tell them that Shooting Your Age sent you!

 

Thanks for reading, and enjoy Shooting Your Age!

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