Ocean Ridge Plantation: Leopard’s Chase Course (Ocean Isle Beach, NC on 04/07/17)

Our final round was on the Lepoard’s Chase course on a cold, blustery morning! It seems that as we get deeper into these golf trips, getting to the course early becomes less of a priority! Checking out of the condo took a few minutes longer than I thought, so I was glad that our 8am tee time was delayed a half hour. That gave me a chance to drink some coffee and stretch!

Leopard’s Chase is the newest of the courses at Ocean Ridge Plantation, opening in 2007. Similar to Tiger’s Eye and Panther’s Run, Tim Cate was the sole designer of Leopard’s Chase. You can tell that Leopard’s Chase is a little different as you make the drive to the clubhouse, which is set back further into the community! While the clubhouse isn’t anything special, in fact it is just a trailer, you pass by some beautiful homes on the way!

By most accounts, Leopard’s Chase is the premier course at the resort. After playing it, my group would agree! If our opinion isn’t enough for you, then you’ll only need to look as far as the golf magazines. The course typically gets ranked among the top public courses in North Carolina and regional websites also think highly of it. I’m just a bit sad that the wind howled all day!

I liked Leopard’s Chase so much because it looks fantastic! If you read my blog, you’ll know that I am a sucker for pine trees on a course. Well, there’s no shortage of pines here, they are everywhere! There’s also no shortage of water, with water coming into play on two thirds of the holes, maybe more. You may want to bring some extra golf balls! One of my comments about the Tiger’s Eye course is that I wished it had more waste areas. That wish was fulfilled here, as I hit it into more waste areas than I care to remember! The course certainly has a rustic look to it.

The course doesn’t just look great, it has some impressive holes. The front has a par 3 with an island green (the 4th) and a sneaky narrow par 5 (the 9th). The back nine has two risk reward par 5’s and closes with a par 4 that features a waterfall! Indeed, the 18th is a pretty good closing hole. Overall, the course has five par 3’s and five par 5’s, which I always enjoy, and requires good drives without being unfair.

I’ll be honest, if the course didn’t look stunning I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it nearly as much. Tim Cate, the designer, seemed to create a more modern, championship layout here at Leopard’s Chase. When it comes to playability, I think the average golfer will struggle here. Besides the water, the course is one of those that is over bunkered. There are deep bunkers everywhere! Irons need to be precise, and if not then you’ll likely need to hit a high lob shot that lands on a downhill slope. It seemed like you hit the perfect shot or don’t. Basically, it seemed that there was only one way to play the course. For reference, we played the blue tees which are 71.8/136/6645.

I mentioned all the bunkers and just about every bunker was washed out from the heavy rains 36 hours before. I chunked or bladed probably a half dozen bunker shots from the slimy bunkers. I don’t fault the maintenance crew as they can only do so much, but I wish designers would understand that courses don’t have unlimited funds to fix bunkers after heavy rains. Just put in some more grass bunkers or mounding! Oh, and I bet you knew this paragraph was coming from me!

Besides the washed out bunkers the course was in good shape. Somehow, it dried out enough so that we could take the carts on the fairways. That’s incredible! The fairways and tees were full. The greens rolled the best of all four courses. They were a good holing pace for me, although I’m sure some could say a bit slow. The greens were modern as well, with lots of slope.

I’m glad we (unintentionally) saved Leopard’s Chase for last, it was a treat even though it is a difficult design! For those curious about how I’d rank the four courses here, I’d put Leopard’s Chase at the top followed by Tiger’s Eye. I’d put Panther’s Run behind those and Lion’s Paw would be last.

#1 (338 yard par 4):

#2 (159 yard par 3):

#3 (539 yard par 5):

#4 (168 yard par 3):

#5 (382 yard par 4):

#6 (400 yard par 4):

#7 (421 yard par 4):

#8 (172 yard par 3):

#9 (555 yard par 5):

#10 (376 yard par 4):

#11 (513 yard par 5):

#12 (386 yard par 4):

#13 (163 yard par 3):

#14 (514 yard par 5):

#15 (410 yard par 4):

#16 (179 yard par 3):

#17 (553 yard par 5):

#18 (417 yard par 4):


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