Two other interesting courses by designers of historical significance are on the itinerary next week. Roanoke Country Club, located near the city, was originally the work of A. W. Tillnghast (think Winged Foot, Bethpage Black and Baltusrol and dozens of others). The club offers 27-holes of classic golf to go with all the other country club amenities one expects, including top-flight tennis and swimming programs. The club's junior golf program at Roanoke CC has convinced one of my customers to consider relocating his family and his two teen golfers from Florida to the Roanoke area.
I wind up my stay at Smith Mountain Lake with a round at Mariners Landing, whose layout, designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., runs along one of the many fingers of the lake. Although a few local contacts tell me condition has been an issue on the course over recent years, they rave about the layout itself. During a phone conversation, the golf pro told me the course has recovered well from a recent aerification, and that with a few warm nights to promote turf growth, conditions should be nice next week. "The greens are in terrific shape," he added, enough to get my attention and ridiculously cheap green fees ($30 with cart).
After Roanoke, I head to northern South Carolina to meet up with my friends from the state's Golf Rating Panel for a go at Rock Hill Country Club, about 35 minutes south of Charlotte, NC. Tilllinghast originally designed the front nine at Rock Hill in 1934, with then Charlotte Country Club pro Arthur Hamm serving as the construction supervisor. (Fifteen years later, Hamm would designed the second nine at Rock Hill.) A little more than a year after his work at Rock Hill, Tillinghast designed the heralded and brutally difficult Bethpage Black on Long Island, the first public golf course to host a U.S. Open championship.
My drive from the Roanoke area to Rock Hill will take me past the Winston-Salem & Greensboro areas, as well as Lake Norman, north of Charlotte. If you are considering a relocation to a golf community in these areas, contact me and I will try to stop for a tour and, if time permits, to play the golf course. It's a tough job but someone has to do it.