179. Charlotte Country Club
Donald Ross (1925) / Ron Prichard (2007)
There was never a dispute about the Donald Ross pedigree of Charlotte Country Club. Ross expanded its original nine-hole course in 1915, remodeled it while adding grass greens in 1925 and further tinkered with it in the 1940s. But in the 1960s, Robert Trent Jones rearranged holes to create a practice range and redesigned the others. Still, it was until 2007 that the club felt it should restore its Ross design. But Ross-expert Ron Prichard convinced them it wasn’t smart to simply replicate holes from a 70-year-old aerial photograph, because golf technology has changed. Prichard rebuilt all greens and bunkers in the style of Ross, but improvised the green contours based on what he’s observed at other Ross layouts. He also installed SubAir cooling systems beneath the greens, one example of how times have certainly changed since Ross’s day.
100 Greatest/Second 100 Greatest History: Ranked on America's 100 Greatest, 1985-1992. Ranked on America's Second 100 Greatest: 2013 to current. Highest ranking: 65th, 1985-1986. Previous ranking: No. 161.
Panelist comments, Charlotte Country Club:
"Extensive removal of trees but the many, many 100 year oaks that remain are magnificent landmark trees. Charlotte C.C. is a beautiful property with great tree management that left tree lined fairways with plenty of room for airflow and recovery while still keeping trees in play on offline shots."
"Ron Pritchard did an amazing job making this Donald Ross track just pop. It is full of excellent holes and phenomenal green sites, fantastic terrain—more uphill approaches than downhill ones and it oozes with ambience."
"I think Brookside in Canton, Ohio, and Aronimink outside of Philadelphia are very similar and, of the three, think this is the stronger course. The green complexes are better, and approach shots are more challenging."
"The best holes are the longer holes and the finisher is outstanding. The beauty of Charlotte is that they have a long and challenging golf course with a large practice facility on 125 acres, which is amazing."