The Carolina Country Club is old-school southern golf done right. It is staid, exclusively private, and mature. Now more than 100 years old, Carolina Country Club is the place to play and belong inside Raleigh's beltway.
Aside from the 450-yard par-4 16th, the course is not long. It plays 6,304 yards as a par-71 from the tips. However, many elevation changes keep the holes interesting, challenging, even grand in places. After several redesigns, the course retains its Tillinghast roots in the bunkering, and especially how holes flow with the land.
It is eminently playable for golfers of any skill level.
Players will find the par 3s to be most memorable as a group.
Among them, the 228-yard fourth moves across a grassed valley into a wide, narrow, punched-up green. Stay below the pin.
The 182-yard par-3 eighth plays downhill across a natural, flowing, rocky stream. It is visually daunting and may be the best hole on the golf course.
The 158-yard 11th features a broad, low, island-style green site beneath large, stately old-Raleigh mansions. It provides your best photo opportunity.
The 178-yard 17th is a downhill beauty with a trio of bunkers protecting a moderately sloped, back-to front green.
While none of Carolina Country Club greens look intimidating, they fit the course. Do not take them lightly. They break subtly, mysteriously and consistently. At 12 on the stimp meter, speed matters. Aggressive putts or tepid can cost you.
Those greens pair perfectly with the many uphill and downhill shots players hit into them from either fairways or pitching areas. Miss, and they still offer fair chances at recovery.
Worth noting, this course is a sculpted horticultural marvel if you appreciate such touches.
Pllayers who appreciate wide open golfing vistas may feel differently.
And the high voltage power lines strung from massive towers? Bizarre. We'll be kind and describe them as a modern touch.