A frequently played course on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, The Pointe Golf Club lies just north of the Wright Memorial Bridge in Powells Point. The course was designed by Russell Breeden, a prolific golf course architect who left his mark all along the Carolinas. Breeden is not one of the most notable designers, but he earned respect in the inner sanctum of golf for carving courses that are equally challenging and fair for nearly any level of player. He was known as a hands-on designer, often seen behind an earth-moving machine rather than at the drafting table.
The friendly staff that runs the course keeps the greens and fairways in good condition. The course also owns and runs the Carolina Club, a little farther north in Grandy, North Carolina. I recommend adding both courses to your Outer Banks golf trip.
This fall our threesome traveled the area, and every course we played kept us together without adding a fourth player. On this bright, sunny day, I hit The Pointe with Christopher Ottaunick (aka Yammi) and Frank Wood, both members of the Global Traveler Advisory Board.
447 yards, par 5
This is not a long par 5, measuring only 459 yards from the tips (most par 5s are just more than 500 yards). What it lacks in distance, though, it makes up in trickery. The tee box view deceives you, as trees line the right side and a deep canal runs the entire left side — I know it well. Friends still laugh at me crossing the canal and then having a difficult time “fording” back to the fairway. Yammi slammed a nice ball straight, but, alas, the hole turns as a slight dogleg right, and he bounced down and deep. Frank took his ball into the trees but had a magnificent recovery under and back into play. After a valiant drive, my fairway wood took me too far left and fell in the canal greenside. Fortunately, and never seen previously, the canal was dry and I was able to use my lob wedge to flip the ball to the edge of the green. Unable to save par, I secured a bogey, which was worthy of the challenge.
346 yards, par 4
Here’s another interesting and fair hole for players but with many challenges toward the green. I teed off first, sending my ball precariously close to the left edge of the fairway bunkers. Yammi passed my ball, landing in a perfect center position. Frank, the most improved golfer on the trip, sailed out on the right and landed near the artificial fox that stands guard, protecting the fairways from the Canadian geese who like to leave their calling cards on the grounds.
The key is to avoid the water that lies behind the green, also in play to the right. My approach landed way right in the pine straw, making for a tricky return to the green. Frank landed on the green and nearly drifted into the water but remained puttable. Yammi came up short on the right, almost reaching the water, as he likes to live dangerously. The hero was Frank, sneaking up from behind and making his par putt as we made the turn for the back nine.
347 yards, par 4
We entered the final three holes of the course, nicknamed the “Triangle of Tragedy.” It is easy to recover but even easier to collapse on these three holes. Hole 16 presents an easy tee shot with a wide-open fairway. The trouble arises not from the tee shot but the second shot to a semi-island, elevated green. Frank decided to use up as much ground as possible and shot a ball left, landing on the top lip of the left fairway bunker. “No problem, Frank, I have been there many times,” I said. “You can reach the green from there.” Both Yammi and I stayed on the right side of the fairway in perfect striking distance. Yammi took bold aim and came up short of the green but remained on the hill without rolling into the water. I felt uncomfortable over the ball — players should back off when this happens and readdress, but I did not. My iron shot was off-kilter so far right it nearly hit the departing foursome in front of us, smacking into the wooden bridge and landing on the 17th tee box. These extra strokes took par away from us, and we continued to the 17th hole — the “Elbow of the Triangle of Tragedy.”
137 yards, par 3
So simple a child could play this hole, but I know for a fact the owners scoop lots of new Pro V1 balls from the pond in front of the green. The green is large, and players often overcompensate for the water and face enormous putts for birdie. Many bail out right subconsciously to avoid the water. Yammi came together toward the end and hit a great shot to the green, two-putting for par. He was well on the road to recovery after losing six balls at The Pointe on the front nine.
556 yards, par 5
As we wound down the day, we came to the long and straightforward final hole at The Pointe. From the tee box, a wild shot right could make the water (unlikely, but I have seen it happen). The best aim is just right of the fairway bunker on the left, which should offer a great position for your second shot toward the green. I did just that and sent a slightly weak drive just about even with the left bunker on the fairway. Yammi sailed on up the left side and he took off, not to be seen again until he putted in for birdie (never touching the fairway). Frank was sneakier, taking his ball up to the hole in regulation and putting in for par. My approach was more dramatic: After duffing my second shot, using a 3-wood, I decided to fire a 5-wood in an all-or-nothing approach to the hole. I hit a magnificent, line-drive, level shot straight to the green and dropped and rolled the ball to within 10 inches of the cup for birdie. A nice ending to a fine day at The Pointe.
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