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Tobacco Road Golf Club Sanford NC


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I’ve played and enjoyed a few tour level “bucket list” golf courses, but Tobacco Road is the most unique, rustic and interesting course I’ve ever played - it’s fascinating. You’ve never seen another course like it. If the Pinehurst area is on your list of places to play I’d highly recommend Tobacco Road. It’s #52 on the Golf Digest Top 100 list of public courses if that matters. It’s a tough course, but you can score better than expected if you manage well, all 8 of us scored a little better than we expected. I’m a 12-15 HI player and expected to lose a bunch of balls, didn’t lose any - though there were some lost balls in our group!

If you like classic, traditional, formal, elite courses - you won’t find that at Tobacco Road, you might hate it. If you don’t like risk-reward challenges stay away. You have to think on almost every shot, but good shots are immensely satisfying, and waste areas-bunkers aren’t the end of the world - sometimes you can recover. If you like courses where you can always see everything in front of you and blast away, you won’t like Tobacco Road.

Greens, tees and fairways are top notch, but the rough is thick in places and there are waste bunkers/areas everywhere. The clubhouse is nice, but small and unpretentious (with quality merch) - unlike grand courses. The practice putting green is two tiers about 6 feet in elevation change, made us laugh. There’s no out of bounds, and no sand traps - but again there are waste areas everywhere so you’ll have sand shots, more than 15 feet below the green on #9 and #11! There are lots of blind shots and you can’t hit driver on every hole, so study the course carefully before you play or hire a walking caddie or forecaddie. We bought yardage books, and used them a lot, mine was full of notes before I played. Some of the greens are reasonably forgiving but a couple are brutal with big elevation changes, and punishing false fronts on a few like #5 and #8. The #13 green is set in a punch bowl like I’ve never seen anywhere else with just a narrow path! Teeing off on #1 is intimidating, with a very narrow gap in front of you, though the fairway opens up nicely beyond - so not as tough as it looks. Only one water hole, the par 3 #14. #16 is scary looking, a blind tee shot and blind approach - but it’s a short hole so not hard if you’re accurate. I’d love to go on and on, but I’ll stop...

I can’t wait to play it again in a couple months when it greens up more (it was greener than I expected in Feb). The video below is very entertaining, but not work safe language.

https://tobaccoroadgolf.com

 

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33 minutes ago, Bosox04 said:

I've played it several times, and really liked it. On the other hand, I played Tot Hill once, another Strantz course, and I did not like it.

Thanks, I was going to research some other Strantz courses, good to have feedback on one. We're thinking about going to Caledonia - but from what I've seen his other courses are more conventional. Maybe Tobacco Road is unique even for Strantz?

I'll add that had I showed up at Tobacco Road with no idea what to expect, I probably would have been put off even irritated - studying the course beforehand and knowing what to expect was probably essential to me enjoying it as much as I did. But it was worth it.

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1 minute ago, Middler said:

Thanks, I was going to research some other Strantz courses, good to have feedback on one. We're thinking about going to Caledonia - but from what I've seen his other courses are more conventional. Maybe Tobacco Road is unique even for Strantz?

It has some very strange greens. Depending where your ball is, and the hole is, you have to chip rather than putt. I played Caledonia on Easter Saturday many years ago. All the azaleas were blooming, and , besides Augusta, it was the most beautiful course I have ever seen. I was able to get his phone number, called him, and told him just that. He couldn't have been nicer. It's a real shame he died so young. I would have loved to see the other courses he would have built.

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I have played Tobacco Road more times than I can count, and I absolutely love the layout.  I think every golfer that goes to Pinehurst needs to stop by and play Tobacco Road, but you need to play it more than once.  This course is like non-other you have played before.  So many blind shots and shots that visually look like you need to hit a very small landing area only to find out that you have more room than what your eyes told you.  I love how unique Tobacco Road, Tot Hill Farms and Royal New Kent.  I have not played the one in Myrtle but want to.  I think with most of the Strantz courses, you either love them or hate them.  Most that hate them tend to love them after the second time through.  Such an amazing out of the box golf course architect.  

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3 Wood:  :titelist-small: 917 w/ Diamana Whiteboard stiff

5 Wood : :callaway-small: Epic Flash 18* Hzdrs Smoke stiff

4 Hybrid: :callaway-small:  Apex w/Kuro Kage stiff

     Irons:  :callaway-small: 5-7  Apex forged 19 w/ Modus 120 X

                         9-A Apex Pro 19 w/ Modus 120 X

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    Putter: :titelist-small: Scotty Cameron Del Mar 34"

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33 minutes ago, ballplayer002003 said:

I have played Tobacco Road more times than I can count, and I absolutely love the layout.  I think every golfer that goes to Pinehurst needs to stop by and play Tobacco Road, but you need to play it more than once.  This course is like non-other you have played before.  So many blind shots and shots that visually look like you need to hit a very small landing area only to find out that you have more room than what your eyes told you.  I love how unique Tobacco Road, Tot Hill Farms and Royal New Kent.  I have not played the one in Myrtle but want to.  I think with most of the Strantz courses, you either love them or hate them.  Most that hate them tend to love them after the second time through.  Such an amazing out of the box golf course architect.  

I think I've played all of the Strantz courses except Bulls Bay.  Aside from Caledonia, which is gorgeous as well as fairly traditional, each course offers lots of visual intimidation while allowing plenty of room for smart golf.  I've played TR more than the rest, and find that its really not that difficult.  There are pretty straightforward choices, where one is easy, and one is extremely demanding with huge penalties for failure.  As long as you don't fall into the ego-trap and instead make smart decisions, its possible to score pretty well.  On many greens, a moderately well-struck shot will funnel towards the flag.  I'd offer two bits of advice.  First, play a shorter set of tees than you normally would, distance isn't intended to be the primary challenge here.  Second, use a yardage book and/or a caddy or forecaddy to understand the right lines.

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Just now, DaveP043 said:

I think I've played all of the Strantz courses except Bulls Bay.  Aside from Caledonia, which is gorgeous as well as fairly traditional, each course offers lots of visual intimidation while allowing plenty of room for smart golf.  I've played TR more than the rest, and find that its really not that difficult.  There are pretty straightforward choices, where one is easy, and one is extremely demanding with huge penalties for failure.  As long as you don't fall into the ego-trap and instead make smart decisions, its possible to score pretty well.  On many greens, a moderately well-struck shot will funnel towards the flag.  I'd offer two bits of advice.  First, play a shorter set of tees than you normally would, distance isn't intended to be the primary challenge here.  Second, use a yardage book and/or a caddy or forecaddy to understand the right lines.

I was going to say that as well, use an app or yardage book so you can see where to go.  I too find Tobacco Road fairly easy, buy like you, I have played it so many times.  I wouldn't recommend playing that course the first time, without knowing where to go.  A bit of local knowledge goes a LONG way on all of his courses.  

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   Driver:  :callaway-small: Epic Flash Sub Zero Hzdrs Smoke x flex 70g

3 Wood:  :titelist-small: 917 w/ Diamana Whiteboard stiff

5 Wood : :callaway-small: Epic Flash 18* Hzdrs Smoke stiff

4 Hybrid: :callaway-small:  Apex w/Kuro Kage stiff

     Irons:  :callaway-small: 5-7  Apex forged 19 w/ Modus 120 X

                         9-A Apex Pro 19 w/ Modus 120 X

Wedges:  :callaway-small: MD5 52&56 Jaws Dynamic Gold wedge flex

    Putter: :titelist-small: Scotty Cameron Del Mar 34"

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I think they ruined a perfectly good gravel quarry when they built that dump.


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11 hours ago, ballplayer002003 said:

I have played Tobacco Road more times than I can count, and I absolutely love the layout.  I think every golfer that goes to Pinehurst needs to stop by and play Tobacco Road, but you need to play it more than once.  This course is like non-other you have played before.  So many blind shots and shots that visually look like you need to hit a very small landing area only to find out that you have more room than what your eyes told you.  I love how unique Tobacco Road, Tot Hill Farms and Royal New Kent.  I have not played the one in Myrtle but want to.  I think with most of the Strantz courses, you either love them or hate them.  Most that hate them tend to love them after the second time through.  Such an amazing out of the box golf course architect.  

You forgot the other Stranz course near Williamsburg;  Stonehouse has reopened.  

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8 hours ago, cnosil said:

You forgot the other Stranz course near Williamsburg;  Stonehouse has reopened.  

Have you played that?  If so what did you think?  I love his designs.  They are just totally different and visually unique.  I wouldn't want to play them everyday, because as mentioned before, they are not hard, but man they are fun.  I'll have to check it out this summer.

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Have you played that?  If so what did you think?  I love his designs.  They are just totally different and visually unique.  I wouldn't want to play them everyday, because as mentioned before, they are not hard, but man they are fun.  I'll have to check it out this summer.

I haven’t played it in about 15 years. It shutdown for a long time and opened again in the past year. I don’t remember a lot about the course but I know my complaints were about the blind tee shots and needed to know the course to play effectively.

You don’t think RNK is hard? While knowing the course is necessary, when the grass has filled in you can’t miss the fairway.

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Hybrids:  :titelist-small: 816H1 19* set at 18* w/KBS Tour Graphite Hybrid Prototype
                :titelist-small: 915H  21*  w/KBS Tour Graphite Hybrid Prototype
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Irons:      :honma:TR20V 6-11 w/Vizard TR20-85 Graphite
Wedge:  :cleveland-small: 588 54-14, 58-12
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I played Stonehouse shortly after it opened, and maybe once more, but its been a long time for me.  One impression I remember was that a majority of approach shots seemed to play downhill.  Beyond that, I just remember it as somehow "Strantz-like", with visual intimidation and trickery.

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1 hour ago, cnosil said:


I haven’t played it in about 15 years. It shutdown for a long time and opened again in the past year. I don’t remember a lot about the course but I know my complaints were about the blind tee shots and needed to know the course to play effectively.

You don’t think RNK is hard? While knowing the course is necessary, when the grass has filled in you can’t miss the fairway.

I only played it once, and I remember the fairways were pretty wide but, you are correct, you couldn't miss them or else there was trouble.  I really remember thinking on many holes..."ohhhhh, if I would have driven up to look around that mound I would have hit a much different shot".  I had a lot of those moments.  Definitely, want to play there again!   

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   Driver:  :callaway-small: Epic Flash Sub Zero Hzdrs Smoke x flex 70g

3 Wood:  :titelist-small: 917 w/ Diamana Whiteboard stiff

5 Wood : :callaway-small: Epic Flash 18* Hzdrs Smoke stiff

4 Hybrid: :callaway-small:  Apex w/Kuro Kage stiff

     Irons:  :callaway-small: 5-7  Apex forged 19 w/ Modus 120 X

                         9-A Apex Pro 19 w/ Modus 120 X

Wedges:  :callaway-small: MD5 52&56 Jaws Dynamic Gold wedge flex

    Putter: :titelist-small: Scotty Cameron Del Mar 34"

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To say I love Tobacco Road is an understatement.  No trip will ever be made to the Sand Hills and me not playing no less than two rounds of golf at TR.   

529735D3-5883-4B5B-B956-254557077093.jpeg

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