After finishing up at Deercroft we had some lunch and brainstormed about where we wanted to play next. The weather looked dicey with dark clouds closing in, so we decided to go with a lower tier course. I saw the term “course collector” on another blog and think that is a good description of me and my friend! All we really cared about was adding a course to our list. Neither of us had played Quail Ridge and the proshop said the course was wide open so we headed north to Sanford to check it out.
We arrived shortly after 2:30pm, rolled by the clubhouse, and saw one car in the parking lot! We decided to do a “drive by” and saw that the course looked in pretty rough shape, which apparently is why it wasn’t busy! I’ll play anywhere once and so will my friend, so we paid our small green fee and headed to the first tee. Worst case scenario, we weren’t going to be out much money if it started dumping rain! Besides a shower on the 2nd, the clouds cleared out and it turned out to be an enjoyable evening!
The first thing in this review that I want to mention is the poor conditions. I just want to get that out of the way so I can talk about how much we really enjoyed the layout here! It is clear that we played the course on probably one of its darkest days. No question, Quail Ridge has fallen on tough times. We chatted with the staff after our round and apparently the course will soon be changing owners and will have some money sunk into it. I won’t belabor the point about the poor conditioning and just say that if I kept a list, Quail Ridge would be towards the bottom of it if comparing courses that I’ve played in 2016. From the pictures you’ll be able to get an idea of what I mean. I will say the greens rolled better than what I would have expected.
Even with the current conditions, my friend and I loved our time at Quail Ridge! We paid $20 to occupy ourselves for an afternoon and had the entire course to ourselves! We discovered an Ellis Maples design that turned out to be one of my favorite designs of the trip. I’m sure some readers will gasp at that, but I’m not lying. Besides Legacy, Quail Ridge was the second best design of the trip if you ask me. At least when it comes to playability!
Quail Ridge was built in the late 1960’s by Ellis Maples, who was considered a protege of the famed Donald Ross. I scrolled through a list of Ellis Maples courses and he tends to have some friendly and fun to play courses. They aren’t flashy, but I normally enjoy myself. Ellis and his son Dan have done plenty of work in the Carolinas and I’m looking forward to playing more Ellis courses! From what I’ve experienced so far I prefer Ellis’ courses as some of Dan’s courses have one or two goofy holes that just don’t seem to fit in. It seems that each time I type a new review about one of their courses, I nerd even more about their work!
Quail Ridge is a community course and one that isn’t going to “wow” you with the scenery, like some of the courses closer to Pinehurst will. There is adequate separation between the holes and the homes. Even without any homes, the course would have a more traditional look. The bunkers here are larger, rounder, and flatter than you’ll find at some of the more “rustic” looking courses. There are a couple spots of native grass, but not enough to have much of a visual affect. While the design features don’t necessarily make the course stand out, I think the topography does! The terrain reminded me a lot of Central Florida with rolling hills, highlighted by mature oaks and pines. There are great looking holes here and the trees add plenty of charm!
We didn’t care that Quail Ridge was missing the fancy design features as we hacked our way around the first few holes. Just a couple holes into our round, my friend and I liked the design! The first two holes are mid length par 4’s that could have been tricked up to play difficult. Instead, the fairways are generous with room to miss out to the right while you get warmed up. To me, that is a nice gesture by a designer to allow a golfer at least a few holes to warm up. Watch out for the 2nd green though as it tilts hard from back to front! The 3rd is a longer par 3 with a forced carry over bunkers, but there is a hill behind the green to catch shots over the back. The rest of the course carries on with this playable theme. The great thing about Quail Ridge is that it doesn’t force anyone to hit a shot they don’t want to. You can bail out whenever you want and try to make a par with a chip and putt. At the same time it allows those playing well to take on spots of trouble in hopes of making a birdie.
Just because the course was playable didn’t mean that it was easy! I played the Blue tees which are 73.2/130/6875 and from there the main challenge is going to be the length of the course. At least for an average hitter like me, as I knock it out there ~240 yards or so with my driver! The greens are on the small side so I didn’t hit many of them with plenty of mid-iron approaches. Even though the fairways were generous, missing them resulted in some semi-blind shots or the need to shape one back in play. That’s just how I think golf should be able to be played! A poor shot leads to a slightly more difficult one, assuming that you want to get it back to where you should be. My one criticism of the design is that the yardages don’t vary much on the par 3’s, 4’s, or 5’s.
As it stands right now, Quail Ridge isn’t for everyone with the current conditions. My friend and ended up very happy with our choice to play here and enjoyed picturing the course how it was and could be! My friend mentioned that Quail Ridge has very good bones, and I completely agree!
#1 (380 yard par 4):
#2 (415 yard par 4):
#3 (184 yard par 3):
#4 (506 yard par 5):
#5 (392 yard par 4):
#6 (380 yard par 4):
#7 (195 yard par 3):
#8 (485 yard par 5):
#9 (411 yard par 4):
#10 (418 yard par 4):
#11 (190 yard par 3):
#12 (465 yard par 4):
#13 (210 yard par 3):
#14 (504 yard par 5):
#15 (395 yard par 4):
#16 (485 yard par 5):
#17 (450 yard par 4):
#18 (410 yard par 4):