Over the past weekend, I had the pleasure of going to Charlotte, North Carolina, for a wedding of a very close family friend (Congratulations to John & Emily Kempf!). While I was in Charlotte I had the luxury of staying at the phenomenal Ballantyne Hotel, and was able to squeeze in a round at The Golf Club at Ballantyne. Located just south of Charlotte, and a few miles from Quail Hollow Club, Ballantyne is a luxury hotel, and golf club that provides world class service from top to bottom. Needless to say, Charlotte is a great destination for golfers, with a plethora of wonderful courses in the area and Ballantyne is definitely near the top of the list.
The wedding we attended began at 6 o’clock on Saturday night, so we booked our tee time for 10:28 a.m., giving us more than enough time to prepare for a round of golf after a Friday night out in Charlotte’s vibrant downtown area.
We arrived to the course about 45 minutes before our tee time to get everything taken care of, and to make sure we were warmed up for our round. The course and pro shop are just a quick walk around the side of the hotel from the lobby and takes about 2 minutes to get to. We were slated to play 18 holes, allotting 5 hours to play the course and to be able to enjoy it in its entirety. Unfortunately for us, we were bogged down with the pace of play being much longer than usual. The Charlotte area had received 10 inches of rain over the previous 10 days, so the drainage system on the course as spectacular as it was, still couldn’t completely dry up the course meaning that it was cart path only for the day. Due to time constraints we were only able to play the front 9. I also had to play the 18th simply because it is such a scenic hole that I couldn’t pass up playing it. With all of that being said, the following is a course review of the front 9, and the 18th hole at The Golf Club at Ballantyne
We were greeted at the bag drop by Ballantyne’s exceptional golf staff, who did everything in their power to ensure we were taken care of and ready for our round. The staff even went as far as to clean off our clubs before the round to make sure we were ready to roll. We took the short cart drive from the clubhouse to the practice range, which is within shouting distance of the first tee box. One thing I really liked from the start was that the first tee box, practice range and putting green are all located together in a convenient and easily accessible area. The pace of play was backed up by about 25 minutes, so with time to kill I had a go at the practice green to get an idea of how the greens were playing for the day, and boy were they an exact representation of how they played. Slow and true was the name of the game on Saturday, which can be a blessing or a curse depending on how you are playing that day
One thing that I really enjoyed about The Golf Club at Ballantyne is that the interactive app the course has for Apple & Android users that gives you hole by hole yardage, information, and aerial views of the course. you can download the app HERE.
The 1st hole is a beautiful straight up and down par 4 that plays 440 yards from the back tees. There are two bunkers about 260 yards off the tee box to the right of the fairway. Hit it straight or slightly to the left and you will keep them out of play. Your approach shot will feature a bunker that guards the front of the green, wrapping around to the right side. Pin placement was middle of the green, aim high of it to try and get the ball to creep back down towards the pin, aim left and you will be putting uphill.
The 2nd hole is a dogleg right par 4 that is 455 from the tee box and is the number 1 handicap on the course. The ideal landing spot for your tee shot is about 275-300 yards straight off the tee box to set you up with an approach shot of about 140 to the pin. There are bunkers to the left and right of the green, land it on the green and it’s a good chance for par.
The 3rd hole is a short par 4 playing 400 yards taking you from the number 1 handicap on the course, to the 15th. I’ll take that after making bogey on the 2nd due to some awful reading of the green on my behalf. Hit the ball straight on the 3rd, and the landing zone will put you anywhere from 120-160 yards depending on how solid your drive is. A narrow approach to the green sees the hole guarded by a large bunker on the left and a small bunker on front right of the green. Pin placement was close to the front of the green, so hit your 9 iron and land a dart close to the hole. OR if you don’t want to risk it, aim for the middle of the green and let the ball roll down to the pin for an easy par.
When you get to the 4th, it’s the first of two par 3’s on the front 9. Playing at 185 from the back tees, there is a creek about 145 from the tee box, followed by two bunkers short of the green guarding it on the left and right side of the front. Hit this shot far of the pin placement towards the front, and you risk rolling off the back of the green. Par is very attainable on the 4th.
No. 5 is the only par 5 that is featured on the front 9. It’s a beautiful hole that tees you off just to the left of the fairway with 520 yards to the hole from the blue tees. The narrow fairway is something to keep in mind when teeing off, but luckily there are no water hazards or trees lingering near the fairway to worry about that could cause your tee shot to be a disaster. You can have a go for the green with a 3 wood from your tee shot with a chance to be on the green or close to it in 2 strokes. Be wary of the bunker to the front of the hole. And to the left of the green. Landing short of the green on your second shot could also put you in a favorable position with a solid chip and two putt to par. As the 13th handicap on the course, birdie is definitely in play on this par 5, as long as you are able to knock down the putts that you are supposed to make.
The 6th is a rather difficult par 4, playing as the number 5 handicap on the course. It features a steep slope, that if you can get the ball over the threshold on your drive, you have a chance to see it roll a good distance. Unfortunately for us, Mother Nature had other ideas for my ball. All of the rain in the area made the fairways pretty slow, so my 250-yard tee shot stuck as soon as it hit the fairway leaving me with about 180 to the hole on my second shot. Hitting the ball short of the green as I did leaves you with a shot that if you don’t get a good roll to the pin, it could roll back off of the green. Luckily for me as I stated earlier, the course was playing slow so my ball stuck on the green as opposed to coming back to square one, luckily.
No. 7 plays as a 205 yard par 3, perfect for my Callaway Heavenwood 3-Hybrid. The tee box is slightly elevated from the green, so plan accordingly when selecting your club. The green is multi-leveled with any ball hit past the center rolling down the back, and any shot left short on the green is sure to roll down the green into the fringe. Tough break, I know but it’s a great hole that plays as the no. 9 handicap on the course. it is definitely a challenge but par is within reach.
No. 8 is a par 4 playing 405 yards from the tees. Land the drive to the left of the bunker located on the right side of the fairway and you are in business with about 160 to go. This hole is on the more difficult end of the handicap scale for the course at no. 7 due to how narrow the approach is to the green and how narrow the green itself is. Par is easily attainable, and a birdie is within reach if you play your cards correctly.
The last hole of the front 9 at Ballantyne a very favorable layout. The 9th is the 17th handicap on the course, and is a great chance to birdie before making the turn to the back 9. At 410 yards off of the tee, a driver will put you about a 6 iron away from making the green in two strokes. Watch out for the traps running long on both sides of the green, but if you get on in two, a short birdie putt is very attainable.
The 18th at Ballantyne is by far their crowned jewel. A gorgeous view of the luxurious hotel catches your eye as soon as you walk onto the tee box. Sitting at 420 yards from the tee, it is a makeable par 4 that is a dog leg left. The pond, adorned with a majestic fountain is the boundary on the right side of the hole, but beware if you hit your ball right, you will likely end up in the trap that goes the length of the water along the right side of the hole. There are three small bunkers spread out behind the green. Be sure to land your approach shot on the green or just to the left or you are sure to be in the large bunker that was previously mentioned. This hole is a lot of fun and the view makes it worthwhile. Par is definitely achievable, and playing your clubs right could land you a birdie. The aesthetics of this hole make it the perfect hole to end a round on.
Overall, The Golf Club at Ballantyne is a fantastic course. I wish I had the time to play the rest of the back 9 but hey, that’s how life goes. I would highly recommend this course to anyone whether you are an AVIDGOLFER or not. This course is a lot of fun, and the visuals are breathtaking. If you are ever in the Charlotte area, do yourself a favor by playing and staying The Golf Club at Ballantyne, it is a 5-Star experience from beginning to end.
To contact Logan, email him at Logan@myavidgolfer.com or on twitter: @LoganHocutt