Falls Village Golf Course: A Much Needed Addition to Triangle Daily Fee Golf
DURHAM, NC - When it comes to quality daily fee golf, the Triangle is in dire need of an infusion. Fortunately, Falls Village Golf Club is the first of a series of injections needed to bring the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area up to Charlotte and Greensboro golfing standards.
Falls Village is conveniently located just a few minutes from the Research Triangle Park, and has the potential to draw hundreds of "techies" out for a quick afternoon on the links. The course was designed by Lee Trevino protégée Bill Daniels, and is as fine a daily fee layout as you'll find in the land of Tarheels, Blue Devils, and Wolves.
It is a traditional course, and every hole is cut out of the hardwoods," says head professional Dennis Womble. "It is real honest and there is nothing tricked up. We didn't have to worry about housing lots here. I was lucky enough to be here when we were building the course, and got to see what designing a course was all about."
Falls Village will appeal to traditionalists who enjoy a straightforward layout with challenging greens. The course will also endear itself to players who have a natural right to left shape to their shots, as the dogleg lefts are as dominant as Tiger Woods in a Major.
Except for a few lengthy hikes between holes, Falls Village is quite walkable. And while homes are sure to follow, the course is presently (and pleasantly) devoid of any in habitants. In terms of a tract of land, Daniels was handed an incredible piece for his first solo effort. The course was routed through 400 acres of hardwood forest just a five iron from the Falls of the Neuse River.
Falls Village is not an easy course, but one thing that will appeal to average golfers is the funnel effect that Daniel employs on a number of fairways. Tee shots that are well struck, but flare left or right will be helped back down into the fairway by the layouts' concave mounding.
The 389-yard par 4 first hole wastes no time in demonstrating this player friendly design flare. A downhill tee shot is funneled towards the middle of the fairway, and the approach shot is slightly uphill to a green protected on the right side by a large, ameba shaped bunker.
The 392-yard second hole is an excellent par-4 that requires about a 150-yard carry over water to a fairway that narrows quite a bit about the 300-yard mark. It is no surprise that Womble points to Falls Villages' par-4's as the greatest strength of the course.
"I think the par 4's define the course because of their length," says Womble. "Also, the greens on this course are small and require accurate approach shots, and no where is that more true than on the par 4's."
But even the par 3's and par 5's are no slouches. From the blue tees, the one-shotters are all manageable, with no hole weighing in at more than 174 yards. The best par 3 may be the 161-yard 14th hole, which sports 120' of elevation change and offers no forgiveness for long shots.
The par 5's range from solid to spectacular, with the best representative of the later being the 528-yard 15th hole. While the scorecard says it is the No. 8 handicap hole on the course for both men and women, if you are playing from the blue tees or beyond, you may beg to differ.
If you are shooting for the middle of the fairway, the 15th calls for about 200 yards of carry over a cavernous pond. Try to get to greedy to the right and you'll need about a 250-yard drive to find land. Stay to the left and even the average hitter can keep his or her ball dry.
There are two keys to a peaceful existence at Falls Village: tee selection and club selection. Miss the mark on either and you are in for a long day.
"We have an extra set of tees to make it enjoyable for everyone," says Womble. "I was the first employee here and got to work with the architect and see everything built from scratch. I did not want the course to be as hard as it turned out, but I still think it is very fair."
All told, the course is home to only 47 bunkers. But water is in play on eight holes, and the course plays to a very respectable 145 slope rating from the back tees. Whether you find the course to be playable or difficult, one thing is universal - the Triangle needs more courses like Falls Village.
"This is a good niche for us," Womble says. "There are several public courses here that are not very demanding layouts, and they are always so full."