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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Bob Berghaus: How the Country Club of Asheville regained its charm

​Photo courtesy of the Country Club of Asheville. ​

ASHEVILLE — When McConnell Golf bought the Country Club of Asheville (CCA) in January 2015, the entire facility needed a makeover, especially the golf course.

Designed in 1928 by Donald Ross, the course had lost much of its original charm. Many bunkers were no longer in play and the greens were worn and flat.

McConnell, who owns courses throughout the Carolinas and one in Tennessee, realized he had to make a huge investment to make the course special again.

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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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Mike Purkey: 10 things to watch at the British Open this week

Dustin Johnson of the United States gestures before taking his shot off the fifth tee during a practice round ahead of the British Open Golf Championship at Royal Birkdale in Southport, England on Tuesday. (Associated Press/Dave Thompson)

1. Royal Birkdale Golf Club is one of the gems of the Open Championship rotation. Demanding and difficult, Birkdale will play as a par-70 for the Open and the players won’t find many birdie opportunities. In fact, players won’t see a par-5 until the 15th hole and the only other par-5 is at the 17th. No one is expected to take this course apart.

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