Charlotte is a good scene for the bargain golfer


The Wells Fargo Championship at QuailHollow Club has become a favorite PGA Tour stop for the world's best.

Charlotte, on the other hand, doesn't boast that same kind of cache for thegolf traveler compared to regions like the Carolina Sandhills 90 miles to theeast. Around the city, there are some premier private golf courses like QuailHollow and TPCPiper Glen.

The good news for public golfers, however, is that bargain hunters can play onthe cheap. It's all too easy to book a tee time on an area course like CarolinaCrossing, RenaissancePark, DeerBrook Golf Club or EdgewaterGolf Club for less than $50 at, even on the weekends.

A step above these plays, the top, pro-worthy venue you can play in the area isRockBarn Golf & Spa's Robert Trent Jones Jr. Course. Opened in 2004, it'snow host to the greater Hickory Classic on the Champions Tour, which will bestaged in June. Also at Rock Barn is the original, TomJackson Course, making this the best place to play 36.

Another top area play for low-handicappers is HighlandCreek Golf Club, which features bentgrass greens, 7,000-plus yards, andwater on 13 holes.

You may not be able to get on a private Charlotte-area club, but semi-private OldeSycamore Golf Plantation, another Jackson design opened in 1997, has aprivate-worthy setting amongst old hardwood trees, and is a good bet for someof the area's better public-access conditions and facilities.

Also, one new way to see some of the area's top private courses is through the McConnellGolf Trail. It's a cooperative of seven private courses in the Carolinasthat offer limited public play, including the Tom Fazio-designed OldNorth State Club just east of Charlotte.

Historic golf may be to the east in Pinehurst, and the best courses may requirea membership, but the middle ground is well served in Charlotte.