Carolinas Golf Magazine

SUMMER 2018

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bers, and I think there is a lot of pride involved with hosting these high-profile amateur championships," says longtime CCNC Director of Golf Jeff Dotson. "Our members really enjoy seeing good competition o n our golf courses. And it's definitely true that a lot of our members feel it's important for clubs fortunate enough to have golf courses like ours to provide com- petitions like this. It's good for the game of golf, it's a way of giving back to the game, but it's also exposing the next generation of golfers to our golf courses. We are proud of them." Unlike the days when accomplished veteran ama- teurs such as Bill Harvey, Billy Joe Patton, Harvie Ward a nd Paul Simson dominated the Carolinas Amateur, recent winners have been high school or college players, including last year's winner, Alabama-Birmingham senior R.J. Keur. In fact, Keur had quite a month last summer, winning this event and the South Carolina Amateur Match Play in less than a 30-day span. "Length off the tee, as well as stamina, is maybe why some of the younger players have won recently," Keur says. "It's a four-day tournament in July. I know we're riding and all, but when I putted out on the 18th hole last year I felt like I had run a marathon. It was mentally draining." And while CCNC's Dogwood Course measures 7,300 from the tips, a 2016 renovation by architect Kris Spence changed the dynamics of how this course now plays. Spence created a faster and more strategic chal- lenge for this level of player. "The ball rolls more in the fairway now, so these players will have to be more precise with their angles," Dotson says. "The ball will roll through the fairway into the rough definitely more often than it used to. We've had a lot of championships through the years on Dogwood, and I think most people remem- ber the golf course as this big, long golf course that you play primarily through the air. Now, it's very dif- ferent style – you have to manage what the ball is doing on the ground more than you used to." The most difficult portion of the course will hit players on holes 14–16, where they will play around one of Dogwood's picturesque lakes. The par-3 16th hole now features a new tee added by Spence that measures 240 yards. "Even for these guys that's a long iron, and that's a lot of club to hit into a par-3," Dotson says. With the Spence restoration, the Dogwood Course became the first course in Pinehurst with zoysia grass fairways. "They are just breathtaking, they contrast really strong with the Bermuda rough – so you see the edge of your target, and they really show the mowing pat- terns really strong," Spence says. "It's nice to have that sort of wow factor added into this golf course. When you are playing across that property with those big lakes and those towering pines, you can sort of get lost in it all. You go there and you just never forget it. What an impressive place it is." ■ Dave Droschak has covered golf in the Carolinas for 35 years during his two-decade career with The Associated Press and as the longtime editor of Triangle Golf Today and Triad Golf Today. He was named North Carolina's sportswriter of the year in 2003. S U M M E R 2 0 1 8 | CAROLINAS GOLF | 17 C lockwise from top left: Hal S utton won the 1980 U.S. Amateur at Country Club of North Carolina. P ast winners of the Carolinas A mateur include legends like Harvie Ward and Billy Joe Patton. C CNC's Dogwood Course was designed by Ellis Maples. "e Coolest Golf Course In Georgia" Incredible Views • Par 72 Championship Course Stretching 6,900 Yards Over Peaks & Valleys • Open Daily • Year Round Public Welcome • 2 Hours NW of Greenville, SC 20 Minutes From Highlands, NC For tee times, membership information, or event rentals, please call 706.746.5302. www.skyvalleycountryclub.com USGA

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