The Golf Club at Linville Land Harbor didn’t just happen, it evolved over time; twenty-three years to be exact. Work started in the fall of 1969 under the guidance of well-known course architect Tom Jackson. The course was built on 53 acres of land and the original routing called for a 9-hole layout with no plans to build a second nine. But when the course opened in the spring of 1972 during the rise of golf’s popularity, it was quickly determined that 9 holes would simply not be enough to quell the demand. Ten years later in the summer of 1982, long-time course superintendent/General Manager Ernie Hayes designed, developed and opened the back 9, creating the 18-hole layout you see today.
In the Spring of 1992 the original clubhouse structure was razed and replaced by the current Golf House. Inside you’ll find The Golf Shop at the Linville Land Harbor Golf Club, which is open to the public and includes a fully-stocked golf shop with all of the latest equipment and offers moderately priced golf apparel from top designers as well as various golf necessities. Top brands include Under Armour, Columbia, Bermuda Sands, Titleist, Wilson Staff, Tervis, Callaway & Srixon. In addition to golf, they have a complete line of tennis, pickleball & fishing equipment. They also keep a number of Land Harbor logoed items on hand that even a non-golfer would enjoy wearing.
Linville Land Harbor Golf Club is a semi-private facility owned by the property owners. It’s located in Linville, North Carolina and sits at an elevation of 3,600 feet making summer weather crisp and cool. It’s not visible from the main road in fact it’s a couple of miles into the community to get to the Golf House.
The course features 4,868 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 69. From the tips the course rating is 66.8 with a slope rating of 124. Land Harbor Golf Club features 3 sets of tees for different skill levels. It follows the natural contours of the land which creates an exciting golf challenge along with come magnificent views.
The course is more about course management than how far you can hit the ball; the ability to shape shots off the tee and on approach will go a long way in shaving strokes off your score. Fairways are well maintained and the rough is not that long, which helps with recovery shots. Many are tree lined, putting an emphasis on accuracy, especially off the tee. Water enters the picture on a couple of holes on each side and sand traps are strategically placed in fairways and around green complexes. The greens roll fast and true and have some very subtle undulations in them. Many require a keen eye and a soft touch.
The front side is more of a conventional mountain golf course and features some very difficult greens; there’s a good chance you’ll use every club in the bag on this side alone. The back nine was sculpted and squeezed into 23-acres of land; consequently it plays about 1,00-yards shorter than the front. In an effort to maintain a par 69 layout, there are a couple of short par 4s where getting to the green off the tee would be easy but, for safety reasons, players are asked not to do so. Most notably is Number 18, which plays 195 yards as a dogleg and is quite a bit shorter if you take the direct route. Many adept players will not need to hit anything longer than a hybrid off the tee on the back side. To score well back here you need a deft touch around the greens and a hot putter.
Land Harbor starts out with four of the course’s most memorable holes. Number 1 is a par 5 that plays 467 yards from the White Tees and starts you off with a risk/reward opportunity – provided you hit a good drive. The ideal tee shot on this dogleg left is a draw down the left side which sets up the first decision of the day: Go for it in two…or not. Should you give this decision the green light, beware of the pond that guards the front left side of t he green; there’s also a bunker on the right if you attempt to bail out and woods long if you hit too much club. If your decision is to get on and three, watch out for the creek that crosses the fairway. Leave yourself a manageable chip shot and you’re off to a great start.
At 341 yards from the White Tees, Number 2 is a short par 4 that doglegs to the right. You may want to consider leaving your driver in the bag and hitting something less that will leave a manageable approach shot. There’s a creek that bisects the fairway about 230-yards out. Your other option is to hit a fade over the creek and if you accept the risk, your approach shot will be considerable shorter. The green slopes from back to front so don’t get too greedy with your approach shot; try and leave it below the hole. Miss the green and a downhill chip shot will make for a tough up-and-down.
Number 3 is the first par 3 of the day and at 183 yards from the White Tees is a formidable test. The first order of business is to choose the right club; the hole plays up to one club shorter than the stated yardage. The second order of business is to carry the pond on the right, which can be a daunting task with a right side pin placement. There’s a lot of undulation in the green, but nothing outrageous. It may well be the best par 3 on the course.
Four is the last par 5 you will see today and at 447 yards, it can be a great opportunity to put up a low number. It demands accuracy off the tee and your best chance to get on in two is to find the fairway with your drive. Anything right or left is likely to find trees or a bunker and diminishes the likelihood of getting home in two. A good drive will leave a manageable shot in, probably a hybrid or long iron for better players. Sand guards both sides of the green, which has a lot of undulation and makes for some interesting putts.
The back nine gets going with a short dogleg right par 4 that plays downhill. At a length of 316 yards (White Tees), you only need to hit it about 200 yards of the tee. The hole plays downhill, so you can easily pick up 20-30 yards of roll. The right side of the fairway provides the best angle in. The approach shot may require an extra club as it plays severely uphill. There’s a good size false front to the green, so be sure to take enough club. Bunkers guard the front on either side.
For many players, the 335-yard, par 4 12th hole has the toughest tee shot on the course. Most players will choose not to hit driver as the hole is narrow and the landing area is small. Once again, your tee shot is downhill, so playing a 190 to 200-yard shot will yield an extra 20 or more yards and leave a wedge into the green. A bunker and woods guard the left side of the green, so favor the right. Played correctly, this hole could become your friend!
Number 17 is the only named hole on the course and is dubbed “Ernie’s Revenge.” It’s named after the course’s first superintendent and General Manager and the father of current GM Michael Hayes. Ernie is also the architect of the back nine. The hole plays slightly longer than the advertised 112-yards. If you’re thinking you might have taken too much club, favor the left side of the green, where there is somewhat of a backstop behind the green. The ladies play this as a par 4 and will want to hit a well-lofted club in order to clear the retaining wall. If you’re playing in a couples event, it’s a good chance for the gals to make up a shot on the guys!
After your round, be sure to stop by the 19th Hole, a newly built addition next to the 9th hole. It’s also conveniently located for making the turn. The 19th Hole is open during the high season (May – October) for both breakfast & lunch. For breakfast, I highly recommend the Bologna, Egg and Chees Biscuit, a thickly sliced piece of bologna perched atop a fluffy warm biscuit and topped with egg and cheese. You can also order any of their biscuit sandwiches on Texas toast instead. For lunch, try some BBQ; they offer pulled pork and smoked sausage sandwiches as well as a couple of different BBQ plates. The burgers are off the chart as well. The 19th Hole has some of the best onion rings around as well as many of your favorite adult beverages; all of which can be enjoyed on their screened in porch. Making the turn? Their hot dogs are big, flavorful and quick!
Even if golf’s not your game, there is still plenty to do at Linville Land Harbor. It’s a great place to play – or learn – racquet sports such as tennis and pickleball. Tennis and pickleball lovers of all ages will be thrilled with the facilities: Seven Har-Tru tennis courts, six dedicated pickleball courts and one multi-purpose court give players of all skill levels the opportunity to participate. You’re sure to make some friends as you play a match or two! The Racquet Club is located in Overlook Park overlooking the beautiful Land Harbor Lake. There’s also a spacious pavilion where you can socialize before or after your next game. For those who wish to remain active throughout the summer you’ll find affordable events at the Racquet Club.
Linville Land Harbor Golf Club offers several different types of individual and family memberships. All include one low, yearly membership fee and enjoy unlimited golf year-round. Daily green fees are also available for non-members and the general public.
The Linville Land Harbor website (www.linvillelandharbor.com) has all kinds of information on the community including golf and other activities as well as a complete listing of available real estate. For golfers, there is a separate, more comprehensive Land Harbor Golf Club website (www.linvillelandharborgolf.com).