Cleghorn Golf and Sports Club – Taking Mountain Golf to New Heights


Cleghorn Golf and Sports Club at Tryon Resort (formerly Cleghorn Plantation) has a rich history. In 1764, the Crown Governor of the Colony of NC granted land to John McDowell who grew wheat, cotton and corn on his plantation. Eleven years later, the plantation was purchased by William Cleghorn. Over 50 years later Cleghorn built the Manor House which has survived to this day!

Over the years, the plantation was passed down through the Cleghorn family. In 1972 it was transformed into Cleghorn Plantation Golf and Country Club by famous golf course designer George Cobb. Cobb has well over 100 golf course designs to his credit, most notably the Par 3 Course at Augusta National and Quail Hollow in Charlotte, NC, home to the 2017 PGA Championship!

Cleghorn Golf and Sports Club at Tryon Resort has been acclaimed by the PGA as one of the best courses in North Carolina. Golf Digest has also listed Cleghorn in their “Best Places to Play” and they have been voted “The #1 Golf Course in Rutherford County” multiple times by readers of the Rutherford Daily Courier.

Whether it’s an elevated tee box, a well-bunkered green or rolling fairways, each hole has its own distinct character; Cleghorn aims to please even the most discerning golfer. The course plays 6,762 yards from the back tees with a course rating of 73.3 and a slope of 136. With all of the ups and downs associated with mountain golf, most golfers will get all they can handle from the Gold Tees (6,131/70.6/128). Ladies typically play from the Bronze Tees (4,617/68/120). In all, a total of four sets of tees offer distances suitable for every golfer. Pick the right set of tees and Cleghorn could quickly become your favorite golf course in the area.

Memorable Golf Holes

Most Memorable Hole: Number 15, Par 4, 331 yards (Gold Tees). Although it’s a short par 4, it was George Cobb’s favorite and that’s good enough for us! It’s a dogleg right with water all down the right side so play a hybrid or 3-wood down the left side of the fairway. Push it right off the tee and it’s most likely wet. The creek crosses the fairway in front of the green so be sure to take enough club to get it there. Avoid the bunker on the right side and a good score can be had.

Favorite Par 3: Number 7, 182 yards (Gold Tees). This long par 3 requires you to carry the ball onto the green off the tee to this highly elevated green. Anything that lands even a couple feet short of the green is going to roll all the way to the bottom of the fairway and require an interesting uphill chip shot that could start the process all over again. Par is a good score here.

Favorite Par 4: Number 1, 314 yards (Gold Tees). Better get it while the getting’s good! This straight par 4 is ranked the easiest hole on the course. Although the fairway narrows as you near the green and the right side of the green is guarded by three bunkers, you should be able to get your round off to a great start. Hit anything long and left and you’ll make things tougher than they need to be.

Favorite Par 5: Number 18, 541 yards (Gold Tees). Although the hole plays straight, you start with a blind tee shot with not much trouble around. With a large lake in front of the green, the second shot is not a tough decision, layup! Just be sure to hit it far enough to get to the bottom of the hole, or you’ll be looking at a long iron into an uphill green from a downhill lie. The green has some moderate undulations and will make you earn that par.

Before your round, spend some time on the grass driving range. It’s a great opportunity to work on your accuracy, something you’ll be grateful for once you get out on the course. There’s also a large practice putting green to give you an idea of what’s to come and let you warm up your short game.

Lodging Options

All lodging is located at the Tryon Equestrian Center and there are several options available. Tryon is about 8 minutes away from the golf course.

Stable House Inn – Located just a one-minute drive up the road from the show grounds, the Stable House Inn offers convenience and comfort and each room features two queen sized beds, flat screen TV, free Wi-Fi, full bathroom, mini-fridge, microwave, and coffee-maker. You can park your car directly outside the room.
One-Bedroom Log Cabin – A tiny home, without the wheels. These new cabins have 1 master bedroom with a queen size bed and sliding pocket doors for privacy as well as a pull-out sleeper sofa and a loft with a full-size bed. There’s also a fully equipped kitchen with microwave, full-size refrigerator, toaster, coffee maker and oven as well as a flat screen television in living room and free wi-fi. All units also have a washer and dryer and an 0utdoor, screened-in patio with access to a grill. The parking area is located directly next to the entrance of each cabin. Pets are welcome (subject to deposit and fee).

Tryon also offers 3 and 5-bedroom log cabins as well as 3, 4 and 7-bedroom rental homes. Check their website for details.

Last Word

Cleghorn is truly one of the best places to play golf in Western North Carolina. George Cobb has created a course that is much more than 18 holes of golf; with the views it offers it is an experience you will not soon forget. You’ll find the front nine to be tight and hilly, while the back nine has a lot more water and opens up a bit. The Champion Bermuda greens have been reworked and are in pristine condition, firm and fast. The bunkers have undergone their own restoration process with new edging and sand in all 58 bunkers throughout the layout. After your round stop by the pro shop and pick up some logoed merchandise to remember your golfing experience by. They stock new golf polos, shoes, balls and gloves and sell them at very moderate prices. If you’re looking for a course in Western NC that will put all of your golf skills to the test, play a round at Cleghorn Golf and Sports Club. Cleghorn offers stay and play packages that will soon be listed on their website. Visit them online at

David Theoret

David Theoret has been in the golf and golf travel industry for over 12 years, primarily selling online advertising. For the past seven years, he has also been a golf writer, reviewing golf courses, resorts, destinations, equipment, golf apparel, and training aids – the latter of which never seems to help. What started as a dream years ago, by God’s grace, became a reality in 2015 when The Golfin’ Guy editorial marketing company was founded. Working together with golf course designer Ron Garl; David’s articles and reviews have been posted on many golf travel, equipment, and apparel websites.

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