Being an ACC graduate, I know first hand how dedicated students, parents, and fans can be to a university. After all, my alma-mater (Clemson University) is regularly ranked as the top institution for school spirit. The campus is routinely seen buzzing with people decked-out in orange and purple, whether it’s a quiet Tuesday in April or an electric game day in the Fall. Needless to say, I felt my university eclipsed all others in holding this unique trait.
Enter Duke University. A smaller, more “elite” school, it’s no secret that this historic university is the subject of a heightened sense of emotion from the general public. It’s often said, “You either love Duke, or you hate them.”
Regardless of which side of the line you fall, there are two things that can’t be denied. First: Duke has a great deal of school pride – arriving on campus, it was difficult to locate a person who wasn’t sporting their Dukie blue with pride. And second, the Duke Golf Club is a fantastic layout that (dare I say) even a UNC fan will enjoy!
The Duke Golf Club was originally designed in the mid-1950s by the famed architect Robert Trent Jones Sr., and later renovated by his son, Rees Jones. The golf course is a great test, winding through dense woods, demanding precision on both tee shots and approaches into large undulating greens. Playing to the center of greens will leave difficult two putts, often over ridges or into swails.
The course difficulty can be seen from the course rating of 74.8 and a slope of 142 (Championship tees). Don’t fret though as 7-sets of tee boxes allow golfers of all abilities to enjoy this scenic layout.
One of the great design features is the variety of holes the Duke Golf Club offers. Driver, 3-wood, and long irons are all likely to be used to drive the ball into play. A nice mix of dogleg left, right, and straight-away holes add to the enjoyment of the layout.
Each hole serves a purpose in the design, resulting in the welcomed absence of any “filler” holes. It’s hard to place one hole above any others, but a favorite is the 493-yard par-5 9th hole. Although a short par-5 by today’s standards, this sharp dogleg left hole requires a draw if driver is used off the tee. The reward for a well place tee shot is a good opportunity for a birdie despite the well-bunkered and difficult green.
The 9th hole also provides great views of the Washington Duke Inn, a beautiful hotel for guests to stay. Comfortable accommodations and the convenient location make it the ideal venue for an overnight stay at Duke University.
Duke fan or not, there’s one thing we should all be able to agree on – the Duke Golf Club is an exceptional layout and a great course to play in the Raleigh-Durham North Carolina area.