The Takeaway: Old North State is a classic Fazio design where the final three holes are the best and most memorable on the course. The perfectly conditioned course has equal appeal to male and female golfers with a nice blend of driving widths, green contours, and bunkering. Grade B+
Designer: Tom Fazio in 1992
Phone Number: (336) 461-4447
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Old North State Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 201 Old North State Club Ln, New London, North Carolina 28127 – UNITED STATES
What to Expect: Located on Badin Lake an hour northwest of Pinehurst in North Carolina, Old North State is a private club with a course designed by Tom Fazio. Like I often say about Tom Fazio courses, "He rarely screws up" and Old North State is no exception. The course enjoys a nice mix of hole shapes, lengths, and strategies while offering plenty of fairway width to enjoy and enough bunkering to be a challenge but not a thorn. The course is routed through a residential development but the homes aren't in view or play most of the time because of how far they sit off the course and because of the thickness of the trees that rest between the fairways and homes. The parcel of ground the development sits on is a peninsula jetting south into the lake with a variety of fingers on the edges of the water that are mainly dedicated to housing locations but a handful were thankfully reserved for golf holes including the final three holes that provide a climatic finish. That being said, Fazio does a nice job of using the significant amount of movement in the property to bring in views and play towards the water a few different times along the way before the finish on the shoreline. The vast majority of players will ride in a cart while playing the course but walking is doable but more difficult than average. Ultimately, Old North State is conditioned at an elite level with an equally strong finishing three holes, and while the rest of the course is good, it isn't one of Fazio's best.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 18th Hole – 568 Yard Par 5 – A la Pebble Beach, the final hole at Old North State is a cape par five that bends left along Badin Lake. The inside of the dogleg is protected by a trio of bunkers at various times along the journey, but going anywhere near the water is a foolish play considering the fairway slopes from right to left and begs players to hit their tee balls just inside the tree line up the right side. The peninsula green setting creates a big risk/reward opportunity where birdies and bogies fly free, but the safe par approach will keep players up the right side of the fairway before wedging onto the green. It is a fantastic finish and fitting conclusion to Old North State's best three hole stretch.
Best Par 3: 17th Hole – 197 Yards – Playing along the coastline of Badin Lake, the final one-shotter at Old North State is a beauty. The tee shot is all carry to green that features a large bunker in back as well as one to the right of the green to catch players that look to bail out away from the water. With a green that tilts from right to left, the ideal play is just inside the bunker and let it hit and release towards the hole.
Best Par 4: 16th Hole – 427 Yards – Descending 50 feet from tee to green, the 16th gives players a dramatic hole that plays straight down to Badin Lake. The tight fairway is framed by a thick tree line on each side while a large bunker additionally rests on the left side of the driving zone. 70 yards from the green an inlet of water encroaches the fairway and requires players to hit an aerial shot at the flag while staying out of the water on the left. Balls will move from right to left near the green, so approaching the pin with that strategy will be safer and pay dividends.
Best Par 5: 4th Hole – 557 Yards – With a limited view from the tee, the 4th is an unassuming hole that is tree lined on each side paired with a fairway bunker on the right. As players crest the hill halfway through the hole they are greeted with a downhill approach to a green sitting out in an inlet of Badin Lake. It is a great opportunity to go for the green in two despite the fairway wanting to kick balls towards the bunker on the right since the sand save is relatively simple playing back into the slope.
Birdie Time: 7th Hole – 181 Yard Par 3 – It's rare I feature a par three as the Birdie Time hole, but without a driveable par four or short par five to take advantage of, this downhill one-shotter offers one of the easiest chances to get a green in regulation. The 20 foot drop from tee to green will cut some of the effective distance off the hole and will need to be calculated correctly in order to find the correct tier on the green. When the pin is in the front, a great play is to the center of the green where the base of the tier can be utilized as a backstop and help the spin on the ball feed back towards the hole. With the lake in the background, this is another attractive hole.
Bogey Beware: 9th Hole – 452 Yard Par 4 – Tom isn't going to let you off easy as you conclude the outward nine and requires players to have their 'A' game for the #1 handicap. The tee shot is tight and with two bunkers on the right side, it can almost seem like there is more trouble to get into than fairway to find. If you can manage to find the short grass you'll still have to contend with a green complex featuring a swell in front, bunker on the left, and a falloff to the rear. The right side is the only area of reprieve and offers a decent opportunity to get up and down, but greens in regulation are scarce here.