The Lonnie Poole Golf Course
a Real Winner in Raleigh, NC

By Bill F. Hensley

Raleigh, NC...Put the new Lonnie Poole Golf Course on the N. C. State University Centennial Campus high on your list of “must play” courses. It goes far beyond the ordinary and lends a strong touch of Scotland to the Tar Heel state. The course is open to the public.

The Lonnie Poole Golf Course is beautiful, unusual and challenging

Famed golfer/designer Arnold Palmer created an outstanding layout that is a welcomed addition to North Carolina’s many superb courses. In brief, it is beautiful, unusual and challenging.

The talked-about in-town course is the centerpiece of a spectacular $16 million complex that, when completed, will be a showcase of style and dignity. In addition to a spacious clubhouse with majestic views, there will be research and training facility for the Professional Golf Management program and for the men’s and women’s varsity golf teams.

A spacious practice range is located behind the proposed clubhouse.

Since it opened a year ago, the course—named for a prominent Wolfpack alumnus from Raleigh-- has received acclaim from its legion of followers. Brief comments include such taunting adjectives as “tough,” “challenging,” and “demanding.” It is all three and more.

The Carolinas Golf Association agrees, giving the course a 144 slope from the competition tees. There are only four courses in the state with a higher slope with 149 (Pinehurst No. 7) being the highest. The course rating is 74.9, which is second only to the famed Pinehurst No. 2 at 76.

Lonnie Poole Golf Course

“Obviously, the Lonnie Poole course is not easy when played from the tips,” said Golf Director Chip Watson, “but there are five sets of tees and players can find something that fits their comfort zone. It is a very playable course for all handicap levels.”

A traditionalist, Palmer likes his courses with a Scottish or Irish flavor that emphasize naturalness. The Lonnie Poole design has spacious fairways with plenty of room to drive the ball, but the shots can’t be erring. Any ball that leaves the fairway will find high Fescue grass, a natural waste area, deep woods, or water.

The course rating is 74.9, which is second only to the famed Pinehurst No. 2 at 76.
You might want to bring along an extra golf ball or two if your shots tend to wander.

You might want to bring along an extra golf ball or two if your shots tend to wander.

Like many modern architects, Palmer is strong on the risk/reward factor and its shows at Lonnie Poole: hit it where you are supposed to and you will be rewarded. Hitting it anyplace else is a no-no, especially in a bunker filled with sand and high grass.

The Poole course is situated on 180 acres of terrain that can best be described as “rolling hills.” The layout is almost mountainous with numerous elevation changes throughout that provide scenic vistas that include the growing Raleigh skyline.

Low handicap players are challenged on every shot with a variety of lies and targets that are elevated or well protected by bunkers that include natural areas as well as native sand. For the high handicap players, the object is to select tees best suited to your game.

The course plays to 7358 yards from the competition tees. Other tees measure 6901, 6326, 5605 and 4976 yards. Par is 71.

An aerial view of the Lonnie Poole Golf Course

Palmer’s design features a variety that is welcomed by all players. For example, there are long par fives and short par fives, and the same for the par fours and par threes.

From the competition tees, par fives are 578, 589, 665 and 549 yards; fours range from a short of 373 yards to a long of 552; and par threes (there are five) are 235, 163,177, 194 and 135 from the back.

The number one handicap hole is the third, a lengthy 552 -yard par four that is difficult to reach in two.

The best advice when playing here is simple and follows a long-standing golf principle: keep it in play. If you don’t you score could wander to the high side.

Head Golf Professional Rob Yanovitch said that the public facility offers special discounts to N. C. State students, faculty, alumni and Wolfpack Club donors. Yanovitch said that individual and group play has been strong since opening day.

For more information:
Lonnie Poole Golf Course
To reserve a tee time: 919-833-3338.