Feedback from the pros led this Charlotte-area country club to revamp its practice facility

River Run Country Club’s 18th hole, a 548-yard par-5. Photo courtesy of River Run Country Club.

From 2013-15, Davidson’s River Run Country Club served as one of four hosts for the PGA’s Web.com Tour Finals, in which golfers can earn a PGA Tour card for the following season.

River Run’s fair but challenging layout and pristine conditions resulted in mostly positive feedback. However, if anything was lacking according to the players, assistant golf professional Chris Blackham said it was the practice facility.

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What makes Raleigh’s River Ridge Golf Club one of the Triangle’s hidden gems?

River Ridge Golf Club’s 11th hole, a 315-yard par-4. Photo by Pat James.

When it comes to the best public golf offerings in the Triangle, most of the discussion revolves around those at the area’s most prominent universities.

The Duke University Golf Club, UNC Finley Golf Course and N.C. State’s Lonnie Poole Golf Course are regarded as some of the top courses in the state, each ranking within the top 65 of the North Carolina Golf Panel’s 2017 course rankings.

However, hidden gems such as the River Ridge Golf Club in Raleigh help make the Triangle one of the top golf destinations in the Carolinas.

Here are five takeaways from my recent round at River Ridge, which came in at No. 19 in Golf Advisor’s 2016 rankings of the top 25 courses in N.C., based off customer ratings and reviews.

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At long last, Charlotte-area country club reaping rewards of new greens, forward tees

Photo courtesy of Rolling Hills Country Club.

When Jeff Avant was hired as the head golf professional at Monroe’s Rolling Hills Country Club in July 2005, he said the club was already in deep discussions about converting its greens.

Those talks intensified over the next few years, Avant said, with the club forming a committee that visited multiple courses in the area that had switched their greens to bent grass or Ultra Dwarf Bermudagrass. But when it came to financials, Rolling Hills decided the assessment to members would be too much.

The deliberations didn’t stop. And after bermudagrass started encroaching on the course’s bent grass greens, Rolling Hills finally opted to make a change in the spring of 2015.

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5 things about Rivers Edge Golf Club, one of the best courses on the Carolina coast

A view from the green on Rivers Edge Golf Club’s eighth hole, a 200-yard par-3. Photo by Pat James.

Since opening in 1999, the Arnold Palmer-designed course at Rivers Edge Golf Club in Shallotte, N.C., has been considered one of the most scenic near Myrtle Beach – and also one of the state’s finest.

In Golf Magazine’s 2016-17 rankings, Rivers Edge was named one of the “Best Golf Courses You Can Play” in N.C., appearing at No. 16. The course also came in at No. 17 in Golf Advisor’s 2016 rankings of the top 25 courses in N.C., based off customer ratings and reviews.

But what exactly draws such acclaim from golfers who play Rivers Edge? Here are five things you should know.

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Immaculate greens, elevation changes make this course one of Charlotte’s hidden gems

Eagle Chase Golf Club’s second hole, a 412-yard par-4, features one of the course’s most demanding tee shots. Photo by Pat James.

Nestled in the hills of northern Union County, surrounded by acres of countryside and farmland, sits one of the most unique courses in the Charlotte area – and perhaps the best value.

Eagle Chase Golf Club in Marshville, North Carolina, about 35 miles from uptown Charlotte, came in as the No. 5 course in the state and No. 20 value course in the country according to Golf Advisor’s 2016 rankings, based off customer ratings and reviews.

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Not a 1-hole wonder – Farmstead Golf Links offers more than dual-state par-6

Farmstead Golf Links’ 18th hole is one of two par-6s in North Carolina. The other is the 17th hole at Black Mountain Golf Course. Photo by Pat James.

No matter your skill level, you’ve more than likely succumbed to stepping up to the back tees on a lengthy par-5 and smashing your driver.

But have you ever done so on a par-6? A few such holes exist. But only the 18th at Farmstead Golf Links in Calabash, North Carolina straddles two states.

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