Blogs > DSG's Affordabili-TEES

News-Herald Staff Writer David S. Glasier has been playing golf for over 50 years and writing about it for over 30. Always operating on a tight budget, Glasier is on a lifelong quest to find good courses to play at affordable prices.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Day Two of DSG's North Carolina golf vacation: Seven Lakes Country Club


     You hate to throw around the "p'' word too much, but the experience of playing my first round at Seven Lakes Country Club was darn near perfect.

     All the elements of a great golf day lined up, from the course (terrific) to the weather (ideal) to my playing partners, Hall of Fame golf writer George Sweda from Concord Township and Willoughby native Brad Poplyk, the pro at Legacy Golf Links in Aberdeen, N.C.

     Seven Lakes, aptly named, is about 15 miles west of Pinehurst Village off NC Rt. 211, the main east-west access road into Pinehurst off Interstate 73/74.

     Opened in 1976 and designed by Peter V. Tufts III, great grandson of Pinehurst founder James Walker Tufts, Seven Lakes is at once much-honored and under-rated.

     Although it is a mainstay on lists of the top courses in North Carolina and the Sandhills area, Seven Lakes doesn't have a profile as high as many of the courses in the Pinehurst-Southern Pines-Aberdeen area.

     Nor, thankfully, does Seven Lakes have the knee-buckling price point of many of the publicly available courses in the Sandhills region.

     Beginning May 17 and running through June 6, the weekday fee for 18 holes (with cart) is $65. That drops to $55 from June 23 to Sept. 12.

     During the two weeks in mid-June when the two U.S. Opens are being staged at Pinehurst No. 2, Seven Lakes is going with a greens fee to $85.

     By standards applied to upward pricing at courses throughout the Sandhills region during the two-week run at Pinehurst No. 2, $85 is reasonable.

     While we're on the subject of pricing, I'll again recommend that you use Legacy Golf Package (see info below) to arrange for play at Seven Lakes and lodging in the Pinehurst area.

     As for the course, it's a winner from first hole to last. On my scorecard, eight of the holes were singled out as "outstanding''.

     My favorites are the par-4, 344-yard 4th, par-5, 468-yard 11th and par-4, 308 yard 14th holes. All have water in play and all require accuracy and course management.

     Before we played, Seven Lakes General Manager and PGA professional Mike Floyd sang the praises of course superintendent Scott Clawson and advised us the greens are widely regarded to be among the best in the area.

     Floyd wasn't blowing smoke in either regard. Seven Lakes is expertly maintained and the greens roll fast and true.

     If you're planning a trip to the Pinehurst area and Seven Lakes isn't on your list of courses to play, you're cheating yourself out of an affordable, first-rate golf experience.

     Many golfers from these parts are loyal customers at Seven Lakes, Floyd told me. It's not a surprise.


     Seven Lakes Country Club

     2000 Seven Lakes South, Seven Lakes, NC 27376 (mailing address)

     124 Devonshire Dr., Seven Lakes, NC, 27376 (physical address

     (910) 673-4653; toll free (888) 475-2537


     Legacy Golf Package

     12515 U.S. Highway 15-501 South, Aberdeen, N.C. 28315

     (910) 944-8838; toll free, (888) 287-2199
Brad Poplyk

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Day One of DSG's 2014 North Carolina golf vacation: Mid Pines Golf Club

Once upon a time, my main job at the paper was to write about television as a columnist and critic.

     While I've not done that for going on 10 years, I still catch myself using TV references in everyday situations.

     Thus I'm tempted to write that the renovation of Mid Pines Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C., begun in November 2012 and finished last summer, was an "extreme makeover.''

     But having just played this classic Donald Ross track after being away for several years, I'm going to dial back on the "extreme.''

     The makeover of Mid-Pines, supervised by architect Kyle Franz from the design firm owned by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, was not extreme. It was masterful.

     Franz and his crews de-modernized Mid Pines and restored the natural blend of playing elements that were there when the course opened in 1921.

     Gone are standard-sized fairways, thick rough and conventional bunkers.

     In their place are wide, tightly cut Bermuda fairways bordered by sandy waste areas dotted with native grasses and rough-hewn bunkers similar to those installed by Ross during the original build of Mid Pines.

     With the sand framing, every hole on the course looks different and far more interesting.

     There is no rough because there doesn't need to be.

     Miss the fairway, and you're hitting off of hardpan sand or sand covered with pine needles. You may well find your ball stymied by a patch of wire grass, too.

     This is golf as Ross envisioned it in the Sandhills area of Southern Pines, Pinehurst and Aberdeen.

     The greens were part of the renovation, too.

     While he didn't alter the essential contours of the putting surfaces, Franz covered them with a new Bermuda hybrid that better tolerates the heat and humidity of a North Carolina summer.

      Franz also restored the perimeters of the putting surfaces, enhancing the "push-up'' rises that are a trademark of Ross' design for greens.

     We played Mid-Pines from the white tees at par-72 and 6.171 yards. There isn't a bad hole in the bunch. This was a great course before the renovation. Now, it's a gem.

     You can directly book lodging and golf at Mid Pines and its equally distinguished sister course, Pine Needles.

     I'd recommend using, which has a Spring Premiere II package (three rounds/two nights) that includes rounds at Mid Pines, Southern Pines Country Club and Legacy Golf Links in nearby Aberdeen.

     Cost is $479 per person in a two-bedroom condo near the Pinehurst Resort.


     Legacy Golf Package

     12515 U.S. Highway 15-501 South, Aberdeen, N.C. 28315

     (910) 944-8838; toll free, (888) 287-2199


     Mid Pines Golf Club

     1010 Midland Road

     Southern Pines, NC 28387

     (910) 692-2114

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Muddy start of a new golf season in NE Ohio, planning trip to North Carolina

     Let the record show that for this intrepid Northeast Ohio golfer, the golf season finally is underway after one of the longest, nastiest winters in recent memory.
     This week, I've gotten out twice, each time playing six holes, at Lost Nation Golf Club in Willoughby and Airport Greens in Willoughby Hills.
     The six-hole configurations were dictated by time constraints and the fact both courses still are quite rough around the edges after the aforementioned winter. Both times I walked and was glad I did. I got some good exercise and didn't leave much of a mark.
    By this time next week, I'll be just a couple of days away from joining friend and Hall of Fame golf writer George Sweda on a trip to North Carolina.
    We'll start by spending five days in the Pinehurst-Southern Pines-Aberdeen area. At the top of our to-do list is a visit to Legacy Golf Links in Aberdeen, where former Willoughby resident Brad Poplyk is beginning his 11th season as head golf professional at the top-notch  course designed by Jack Nicklaus Jr.
    I ran into Brad (pictured below) in February at the Cleveland Golf Show, where he drumming up business for Legacy Golf Links and Legacy Golf Packages ( , the stay-and-play enterprise headed by director of sales Steve Replogle.
    Steve wants us to check out some of the courses that are most popular with his stay-and-play regulars, including Dormie Club.
     While in the Sandhills area, George and I will participate in media day at the famed Pinehurst No.2 course, home this June in successive weeks to the U.S. Opens for men and women. It's the first time these major tournaments ever have been staged on the same course in the same year.
     On the way home from Pinehurst, we'll spend two days in Asheboro, N.C., a highly underrated destination that's home to some great golf courses and the world-class North Carolina Zoo. Been there before and am anxious to get back.
    We'll wrap the trip with two days in the Yadkin Valley area in the northern part of North Carolina near the Virginia border. I've passed through the area many times but have never stayed to sample the golf and wineries.
    Once back in Ohio, I'm looking forward to a busy season on the "Affordabili-TEES'' front.
    It's my firm intent to do a better job showcasing local courses as well as stay-and-play golf destinations within easy driving distance.
      At the Golf Show, I identified the following destinations as must-do stories for this season.
      - Mercer County and Butler County, both in western Pennsylvania. There are dozens of courses in these locales that are reasonably priced and come highly recommended on websites where traveling golfers offer reviews of the courses they've played and the places they've stayed.
      - Pine Lakes Penn-Ohio Golf Trail. There are 30 courses in this umbrella service in Ohio (Trumbull and Mahoning counties) and Mercer County, Pa.
      - Tuscarawas County, OH. There are 11 courses in the stay-and-play package presented at the Golf Show, none of which I've ever played. It takes a little more than two hours to get there, which makes me wonder why I've never played any of them. That will be remedied this season.
       - Great Indiana Golf Packages. Made my first visit to this destination in Northeast Indiana last summer and was blown away by the quality of the courses and the value. Played three of the eight courses in the stay-and-play package. Would love to play the other five this summer. Doubled up with a trip to Fort Wayne to watch the Lake County Captains play the TinCaps in one of the best ballparks in all of minor-league baseball.