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- 6/21/14, Review by phatdba - This is a beautiful, fun course in terrific shape, and needs a current review, since the last one here is two years old. If you like elevation change, this is the course for you. My new favorite, and although it's an hour north of Charlotte, or I'd play it all the time. Nothing at all wrong with the course. Definitely need to play it a couple times to figure out where to hit on some of the holes.
- 7/29/12, Review by sawlog - I went over and played today. The rest of the course was ok and the new club house was great. The biggest problem is the greens were heat stressed and they looked bad. They are trying to get this place up to standard but the greens are holding them back.
- 7/27/12, Review by IM4DHERD - I Live in Huntersville. Normally play Verdict Ridge, Glen Oaks, Fox Den, Birkdale & Skybrook (although am not a fan of CT mgmt's lackadaisical attitude towards conditions),Rock Barn and Warrior, sometimes Red Bridge. River Oaks is now definitely added back into the rotation. Have played here often, back through when it was Buffalo Shoals National, but gave it up a couple of year ago when there was no grass anywhere but on the some tees and greens. Had read that new management was making great improvements and saw a recent good review here so gave it another chance today. Fairways were all in really good shape, greens the same for the most part. Certainly hardpan in a lot of the rough and some on some fairways, but if you'd seen this place a couple of years ago, you'd never believe it now. Traps were in great shape. Where it's thin you can see where they are planting to make it better. Definitely one of the best layouts within an hour of Charlotte (10 minutes from 77 off 40 at Statesville - JUST off I40 Exit 141)...I'd put the layout itself up against the Jones course at Rock Barn.
- 7/6/12, Review by tvrepairex - Good course.It is a little tight in places.A lot of steep elevation changes.The green were in good shape except for a couple around the fringe, but to me seemed a little small.Sand traps appeared to have been fairly well maintained.The surrounding terrain is pretty wooded and if you are off the fairways in the woods you can forget the ball because of thick briars and undergrowth.Stay on the fairways or the short rough and you are ok.The fairways were in descent shape in spite of the dry weather.A little bit of a haul from my house-Concord-but ok.Good online deals at times.
- 6/24/12, Review by sawlog - I don't remember the score for that day, it is the last time I have had the chance to play here. The new ownership group is working wonders with this course. I had some friends up to play with us it was their first time, so a good time was had by all. This course is tight, if you miss hit the ball by a small amount you will go OB. That is the part of this course that keeps me away, but if you are a player that hits fairways you will enjoy playing here. I will play here again because of two things the price is good and it gives you another choice in the Statesville, Hickory area to play. Not a lot of reasonable priced public access courses here, and especially one that has decent conditions.
- 6/12/07 - Msg Board Posting
Re: River Oaks at lake norman Fisher I played River Oaks on Sat., 6/9 and never played it as NC National. This assessment is based on the present layout of the course.
River Oaks (ROGC) has the potential to be one of the finest courses on the I-40 corridor west of 77. At only 6400 yards from the back tees, itís a fair test of shotmaking & club selection. You really need to pick the right clubs on this course. That's why it can be one of the best in that area.
Keep in mind, and I had to keep telling myself, that ROGC is a NEW course, from tee to green. A lot of the greens are new & the staff may still be in the process of marking yardages. You can tell that ROGC laid down a lot of sod to build those greens. They wanted the least amount of time for grow-in so they can begin to get revenue from play, so they laid down sod instead of seed to a lot of the greens on the front 9. Considering the immaturity of some greens, most rolled exceptionally well, and consistent. I was pleasantly surprised!
The 1st Hole used to be a long par-4 back in the pre-ROGC era. Now, itís a short, but fair 320-yd par 4. The creek no longer is in play, but the new green is. It's shallow from front to back (I paced off 16 steps from the front until the hole drops off into the abyss). An accurate short iron approach on Hole #1 will reward you with an easy birdie opportunity. If you miss long or left...you'll scramble for bogey or worse, make a drop for double. I could be wrong, but #1 may be the only significant change on the front 9 until you finish the side.
My favorite hole by far is #8. A 400-yd par-4 from an elevated tee, and a tee shot that forces you to hit a high-draw. The visual aspect of this tee shot is amazing!! You have to play it yourself to believe it. The fairway looks tiny, but a high tee shot opens it up. Go ahead a rip driver, you have plenty of room, just donít miss it right. A pushed tee ball on this hole is gone forever.
The 9th is the epitome of penal golf! Before the change, it mustíve been a short, easy par-4. Now, itís a daunting, 220 yd par-3. You have to carry your shot all the way to the green. Any short shots are lost into the ravine the fronts the green & the sides. Higher handicappers will want to take advantage of the fairway and hit their tee shots & hope for a close approach to a one-putt par. Otherwise, youíll stare at double or worse if your tee shot is short. Stronger players may want to hit an extra club & play to miss long; thereís a natural ďbackstopĒ behind the green. Although this hole plays a full club less, you still need to catch it all to get it on the putting surface.
From what I understand, the back-9 still remains as it once was. Again, itís a test of club selection and accuracy. Length off the tee is not a significant part of scoring on this course. For example, a short par-3 (127 yds) on the back-9 requires two- to three-clubs LESS on approach because of its severe elevation. I hit easy SW where it should have been smooth LW...heck, if my putter had one degree more loft, I would have hit it.
The 200 yard par-3, 17th is another hole where you end up scratching your head to exactly how far you need to hit it. Itís a flat hole, with water on the left side. Looks can be deceiving! Play your shot to the right half of the green to eliminate the hazard and greenside bunkers.
My only criticism is that you always question your yardages on many of the holes, especially the par-3ís. My recommendation to the course is to send its assistant pro or superintendent to laser each hole from at least 5-10 different spots and mark it down, get in on paper & hand it to every player that checks in. That would have helped me tremendously. If you have a range finder...bring it!!
Otherwise, River Oaks can be the place to go if youíre looking to play a great mountain style course but also challenge your shotmaking & on course management. Although not as long as Skybrook or Verdict Ridge, River Oaks can belong to that class in several years, if not less.