When it comes to day trips, I like to take different routes if I can. After my morning round I had some lunch and looked at different ways back to Charlottesville. I decided to drive home going I-77 to I-81, since I went through Greensboro on my way to Winston-Salem. Of course, I found a new place to play along the way home and stopped at Cross Creek Country Club, which is in Mt Airy.
I looked at Cross Creek prior to my trip and thought that it had the potential to be enjoyable. Cross Creek is a Joe Lee design, and he typically does a solid job. I teed off about 2pm as a single, but was squished between two foursomes. A foursome was letting a twosome go on the 1st tee when I rolled up, so I felt bad when they let me play through on just the 2nd hole! The pace was a bit rushed for all of us so early on, no doubt. Once that sorted itself out, I trailed the twosome around and played in 3h 15min, which you cannot beat on a weekend!
The main reason that I think you’ll want to check out Cross Creek is to enjoy its setting! I was expecting a mountain course, and while you get that for much of the back nine, the other holes are flat and strangely reminded me of a coastal type course that you’d find east of I-95, say in Georgia or South Carolina!
The front nine and the 17th and 18th play along and over the creek, after which the course is named. These holes are in a small valley with the creek, many ponds, and pine trees separating them. I love pine trees on a course so I think all the pines surrounding these holes looks great! On these holes you have to watch your drives as hazards can grab shots and there is more position needed than you may think. The bigger hitters may want to lay back off the tees as fairways run out or dogleg between 240 and 260 yards. Sadly, I wasn’t paying attention and drove it through the fairway on the 5th hole and ended up next to the cart bridge! I couldn’t shake the feeling that these holes felt a bit cramped, and it seems the creek could have been used more than it was. The creek really only comes into play on the 6th hole, unless you hit a terrible shot.
The back nine starts with a pretty par 3 on the other side of the clubhouse and is one of seven mountainous holes, offering a completely different feel. Think much tighter and more target type golf! The 11th, 12th, and 13th climb into the hills and the 15th and 16th drop down and return to the clubhouse. The 10th through the 16th remind me of the topography at Clear Creek, near the Virginia-Tennessee border, when I played there last year. Those holes twist and turn through the mountains, and so does much of the back nine at Cross Creek.
I already sort of mentioned the 10th, which is one of the best holes on the course! I played the black tees which are 72.3/136/6701. From the black tees the 10th is a 164 yard par 3 that plays about half a club downhill. The green’s size is generous, but it falls off on all sides so if you miss it the chip won’t be easy. If you stray too far left, then the water can come into play.
The other standout holes at Cross Creek are going to be the 15th and the 16th. They are long, and two of the most difficult, par 4’s on the course. The 15th, at 443 yards is the longest par 4 on the course. It doglegs left and standing on the tee you know that if you want to play it well you have to hit a good tee shot. For a fade player it was an intimidating tee shot! Thankfully I hit my best tee shot of the day and got to play the downhill approach from the fairway. The 16th is 428 yards and requires another good tee shot. If you are driving it well, then take a healthy swing because the ball will get some hang time from the elevated tee! You need to avoid a couple trees down the left side before the approach plays over water to the green. If you bail right then it will leave a longer second shot.
The only strange thing about the back nine was that the 17th and 18th return to the flat land and aren’t all that dramatic. It seems that the 16th would make a great closing hole and that the 17th and 18th could easily play as the 10th and 11th holes. Maybe the owner wants cart traffic to drive around the clubhouse to get to the 10th, that’s a reason I could see benefiting the current setup.
The conditions at Cross Creek were worthy of the $32 green fee, and a pretty good deal. Like most courses in the Mid-Atlantic during the middle of summer, superintendents are probably just worried about their course making it through the summer! The tees had some summer wear and sand. The fairways were full and cut short for the most part, but off the fairways I noticed plenty of ground under repair and different grasses in the rough. The greens were slower and a touch furry. I think this course is one of those that was designed without a practical maintenance budget in mind with all the bunkers, one bunker looked completely neglected. The course also advertises on their website that zoysia grass lines the edges of the bunkers. What value that adds, I’m not quite sure but I’m sure someone in the industry could tell you.
I have a feeling that I would have enjoyed the course more if I didn’t get one difficult pin after another. Apparently, the course’s member member tournament was this weekend and I had to play defense on many approaches. If you live within an hour I’d say Cross Creek is worth a look, although I’d say check out Olde Mill first if you haven’t played there. Of course, Primland is going to be the priciest option in the area. Also, for all those Ohio golfers driving through the area on the way to Myrtle Beach, Cross Creek could be worth a stop for some scenery and the front nine should prepare you for some Myrtle golf.
#1 (519 yard par 5):
#2 (159 yard par 3):
#3 (342 yard par 4):
#4 (515 yard par 5):
#5 (379 yard par 4):
#6 (408 yard par 4):
#7 (209 yard par 3):
#8 (352 yard par 4):
#9 (414 yard par 4):
#10 (164 yard par 3):
#11 (525 yard par 5):
#12 (416 yard par 4):
#13 (315 yard par 4):
#14 (154 yard par 3):
#15 (443 yard par 4):
#16 (428 yard par 4):
#17 (518 yard par 5):
#18 (441 yard par 4):