Olde Sycamore Golf Plantation: Variety is the Draw

By Shane Sharp, Contributor

Editor's note: Olde Sycamore is the No. 3 Course on our Top 10 Best Values of Charlotte List. Read on for reviews of our No. 2 course, Charlotte National, and our No. 1 selection, Stonebridge Golf Club.

CHARLOTTE, NC - Some golfers love the layout, and others don't care for it, but none of them complain about the golf course you get for the money at Olde Sycamore Golf Plantation.

Shotmakers, and other thinking-man types that like to study golf holes before teeing off will appreciate this Tom Jackson designed course on Charlotte's eastside. Olde Sycamore makes its way through a variety of small creeks, most of which come into play as lateral hazards at some point or the other.

"You don't have to bring your driver all the time here," says head professional Sonny Weeks. "I would not say keep it in the car, though. There are some holes where a nice long drive will benefit you."

Cheating death at Olde Sycamore by pulling driver is always a temptation. But then again, there is something to be said for a fairway wood and a nice tight lie 150-160 yards out.

"I just want to be in the fairway here, and I'll take whatever club is necessary to do it," says Charlotte resident Steve Snarr after putting out on the 18th green.

For many players, variety is the draw at Olde Sycamore. The front nine features a number of memorable holes, like the 504-yard par 5 seventh hole, that will stick in your mind well after the round is over. The course's par 4's are some of the best in Metrolina, epitomized by the 395-yard, par 4 fifth hole, which bends to the right with all the flexibility of an Olympic gymnast.

The back nine seems to favor golfers that can play the ball from right to left, while the front nine caters to the faders. Most importantly, each hole is punctuated by a large, perfectly manicured bentgrass green, and Weeks and staff are not afraid to mow them tight.

"The greens here are as fast as you will find around Charlotte," says Weeks. "They typically roll about a 10 on the stimpmeter. Most courses won't cut them that short, because of what it does to the pace of play," adds Weeks. "But we closely monitor that here, and make sure that every one gets around in the allotted time."

On the weekends, Olde Sycamore falls into the $45 - $50 price range that is typical of most of Charlotte's higher end daily fee courses. But players can get around this country club style setting for a mere $25 on weekdays with a coupon from the local paper.

"We are in 'gas' wars out here with Charlotte National, the Divide and Emerald Lake," Weeks says. "We are having to stay with them and keep our budget as low as possible. Not only are we doing it, but I think we are winning."

Olde Sycamore finished first in last year's rankings, but Weeks doesn't lament the two spot drop. The first two courses on the list, Stonebridge and Charlotte National, are two of the Louisiana native's favorite tracks, and Weeks knows as well as anyone that Charlotte golf is becoming more and more competitive every year.

"People in Charlotte are cost conscious, there are no two ways about it," Weeks says. "There are a lot of golf courses to choose from here, and they will go to the cheapest one with the best conditions for the money. There is so much more choice than five years ago."

In addition to its regular tees, Olde Sycamore also offers a "Players Course", made up of a compilation of tees from all 18 holes. By mixing distances, the Players Course plays to a healthy, but manageable 6670 yards that is popular among the Olde Sycamore's members.

Shane SharpShane Sharp, Contributor

Shane Sharp is vice president of Buffalo Communications, a golf and lifestyle media agency. He was a writer, senior writer and managing editor of TravelGolf.com from 1997 to 2003.

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