Anyone who plays golf in the Greensboro, NC area is no doubt familiar with the Bryan Park golf facility. This 36-hole facility is home to two stellar courses: the Champions Course and the Players Course. The latter is an 18-hole championship course designed by George Cobb in 1974 and redesigned by Rees Jones in 1988. It features Bermuda grass fairways and tees and Bentgrass greens. The Players Course has been named as a 4-Stars Best Places to Play by Golf Digest and one of America’s Top 100 Courses for Women by Golf for Women Magazine. General Manager Kyle Kolls has been there over 12 years and has assembled a great staff that is professional, friendly and truly seems to love what they do. Most of the employees have been there for quite a few years. It truly is a treat to play and should be played by anyone in the area.
From the back tees, the Players Course measures 7018 yards with a course rating of 73.3 and a slope of 133. Mere mortal golfers will find that the White Tees (6,342/70.9/127) will give them all the golf they can handle and still leave with a little bit of dignity. Ladies can give it their best from the Red Tees (4,713/69.9/117). Four sets of tees make The Players Course fun and challenging for golfers of all abilities.
Before your round, be sure to hit the practice range located behind the starter’s shack; it’s included in your greens fees. It’s a full-length range, so you’ll be able to hit every club in your bag, which isn’t a bad thing, since you will probably use them all. There’s also a large practice putting area where you can get your speed down and try and figure out some of the breaks.
The Players Course features everything you’d expect in a Carolina golf course: elevation changes, challenging green complexes, water and sand hazards, and tree lined fairways. And then there are the greens – well-undulated, true rolling, generous and fast. Keeping it in the fairway off the tee is only half the battle, hitting the green and making the putt is the other part of the equation. Master these tasks and you’ll find this course can be tamed; stray off the beaten path and things can get tough.
Several holes bear witness to this philosophy. The par 3, 3rd hole plays 169 yards from the White Tees, and has it all. The green sits well below the fairway and plays significantly downhill; about 8 – 10 yards shorter than the stated yardage. The tee shot plays over water and over sand; in fact, there are bunkers protecting three sides of the green. The green is large and set on an angle from back right to front left; it also features a lot of undulation.
One of the more memorable par 4 holes is number 6. This dogleg left plays 363 yards from the White Tees and features trees down the left side off the tee and a lot of mounding on the right side, which adds a great look to this hole. The fairway bunkers on the left side require a long carry of about 250 yards and probably aren’t worth the risk. A well struck drive down the middle of the fairway will leave a short iron. Your tee shot plays slightly uphill and your approach shot slightly downhill. Left pin placements can be tough with two deep bunkers guarding the front, one of which is a gnarly little pot bunker. The green is large and crowned adding to the stress of a front left pin placement. Great hole!
Of all the members I spoke with during my round, the par 5, 12th hole was their favorite. Number 12 plays 493 yards from the White tees and features a lake on the left, which catches a lot of balls from unsuccessful attempts to cut the corner. Once you reach the corner, the hole moves downhill, with a narrow fairway to hit on your layup; woods and sand encroach on the right. Although the putting surface is large, you’ll need an accurate approach shot; the green is surrounded with large, deep bunkers. It takes 3 well-executed shots to score here. I think this hole is so well-liked because of the lakeview behind the green; it’s absolutely stunning; Especially in the fall with the leaves changing color.
Number 17 is another par 3 where a par or better is well earned. It plays 179 yards from the White Tees, slightly uphill and over water. The green is large and slightly elevated with large bunkers on either side and a third in back.
By far, the staff’s favorite hole on the Players Course is Number 18, a long and challenging par 4 that plays 417 yards from the White Tees. It’s a long way to the corner of the dogleg and anything pushed too far left is going to run down a steep hill and off the fairway into the trees. Your approach shot requires precision into a small, shallow, two-tiered green protected by bunkers and a lot of mounding on the front right side and back left. A par or better here and you’ll have something to celebrate in the clubhouse.
After your round, stop by the Grill Room for your favorite post-round libation. They have several local and domestic beers on tap, which are ice cold. Their food offerings stray from traditional clubhouse fare with items such as a Carolina Burger; everything is well prepared and tastes great. The pro shop is full of logoed apparel from many top golf companies such as PING, FootJoy, Antigua and Callaway Golf.
Last Word: The Players Course may not be as tough a test as its sister course, the Champions, but it will still test your mettle. Just be sure to pick the set of tees that best compliments your ability. As you make your way around the course, you’ll be treated to scenic lake views which are worth their weight in gold when the leaves change color. The elevation changes and hazards add to the challenge of this wonderful golf course.
On either side of the Players Course, you get the par 5 holes out of the way relatively quick. I’ve always liked par 5s and view them as holes I can score well on. If you feel the same way, make sure to hit some fairway woods and long irons on the practice range so that you are properly warmed up and ready for them early on in your round!
The scorecard shows four sets of tees: Blue, White, Gold and Red, with the difference between the White and Gold a whopping 570+ yards. Although it is not officially reflected on the scorecard yet, Bryan Park has created a 5th set of tees. By playing the circled yardage on the scorecard which combines these sets of tees, you’ll come up with a yardage just over 6,200 yards, which is perfect.
If you plan on being in the Greensboro, NC area and you are looking to treat yourself to a couple of rounds of golf on some incredible golf courses, check out Bryan Park. Whether you choose the Players Course or the Champions Course, odds are that you will use every club in the bag and have a great time. For more information about playing your next round of golf at Bryan Park, visit their website at www.bryanpark.com.
Golf Life Contributor