The Preserve at Jordan Lake is filled with Love and Variety

By Patrick Jones, Contributor

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina native Davis Love III continues to show his fondness for the Tarheel State with the opening of The Preserve at Jordan Lake Golf Club.

The PGA Tour veteran and former UNC-Chapel Hill golfer, whose Anderson Creek design near Fayetteville was voted the state's "Best New Course" in 2001 by N.C. Magazine, has added his second eye-catching architectural imprint on North Carolina's golfing landscape in Chatham County.

The Preserve at Jordan Lake, a par 72, 7,107-yard semi-private course, officially opened for play on August 2. Love is scheduled to be on site for a christening round on October 14, two weeks following his appearance in the 34th Ryder Cup at The Belfry.

The Love Enterprises-designed course, a collaboration of Davis, his brother Mark Love and Bob Spence, is part of Bluegreen Golf's 516-home planned development rapidly rising on the western shores of Jordan Lake.

The Preserve at Jordan Lake will play to a very challenging rating of 75.1 with a slope of 145 from the back tees (dubbed the Love tees). Its built-in difficulty from the tips will allow the course to accommodate professional events, but Patrick Barrett, the club's general manager and head golf professional, stresses that the layout's primary design feature is to accommodate handicaps of every level.

"I want the course to be a fun place for low handicappers to play, such as hosting scratch and amateur events," he said. "We could easily host a PGA Tour event - not that that's something we're pushing to do. But the course was built for all skill levels. I think that's a key feature to this golf course. We can accommodate the spectrum of handicaps."

The Preserve at Jordan Lake has five separately established tee boxes - Love, blue, white, gold and burgundy - on each hole that allow players the opportunity to select the appropriate challenge for their game.

"The different tees add a tremendous variety," said Barrett. "You can play a very scenic golf course without getting frustrated by it. The slope and ratings on the white tees (70.6/128) and gold tees (68.9/116) are right in the ballpark with most golf courses. There are some beautiful holes that look intimidating, but they are very playable if you choose the right set of tees to match your ability."

Golfers looking to play on a piece of property that is flat and a featureless pastureland need not make a tee time. The course features streams, hardwood forests, rock outcroppings and elevation changes that "make you feel like you're in the western part of the state," according to Barrett.

Even the name The Preserve at Jordan Lake connotes oneness with nature. The course will soon be designated as a certified Audubon Sanctuary for subscribing to principles of environmental stewardship and providing a safe refuge for wildlife.

"The thing about this course that will be the biggest surprise to first-time visitors is the topography and the changing elevation," said Dan Whalen, vice president of sales and marketing for the 600-acre development. "The middle of North Carolina is pretty flat for the most part, but there are some pretty dramatic changes from hole to hole with some outstanding views."

The highest point on the course, near the 18th tee box, is approximately 500 feet above sea level.

"There are so many oaks and hardwoods on the property, in the fall when the leaves change you will feel like you're playing in the mountains," Whalen added.

Barrett found it a difficult task to pinpoint a particular hole that can be considered the course's signature hole. "Too many to choose from," he said as he regularly sprinkled adjectives like "beautiful" and "awesome" into his hole descriptions.

No. 1, a 512-yard par 5 "sets the whole tone for the golf course," said Barrett. "It's challenging but it's very scenic. It has an elevated tee. You hit down over a stream into the landing area. You hit back up to a second elevated landing area. The green is a little more elevated for your third shot. It's not extremely long - less than 500 yards from the blues. It's very manageable. It's a very pretty hole."

Another head-turner on the front nine is No. 6, a par 3 that plays to 166 yards from the Love tees. The tee shot requires a carry over water to a green that is nestled behind a natural outcropping of rock formations on the left.

No. 15 on the back nine is a short, 368-yard par 4 that calls for an iron off the tee with a second shot over a creek that is lined with boulders.

The closing hole, a 435-yard par 4, may take the driver out of the hands of longer hitters, according to Barrett, because of heavy bunkering down the right side of the fairway.

The Preserve at Jordan Lake Golf Club features L93 bent grass greens and 419 Bermuda fairways that are quickly maturing into playing shape.

Eighteen-hole rates for the public depend on where you are coming from. The "rack rate" is $55 for weekdays and $65 weekends. A "local rate" for golfers from surrounding counties within a 60-mile radius will be $10 less for both weekdays and weekends.

Where to Stay

If you're looking to stay in style, you can't go wrong with The Carolina Inn, a 184-room facility located in the heart of the University of North Carolina campus in Chapel Hill. Originally built in 1924, The Carolina Inn is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Owned by the university and managed by Doubletree Hotels, the Inn underwent a $16.5 million renovation in 1996. You can make reservations by calling 1-800-962-8519. Additional information can be found

Patrick JonesPatrick Jones, Contributor

Patrick Jones was the senior producer for ESPN's "Lower Your Score with Tom Kite" CD-ROM instructional golf training series. He spent six years as a full-time sports writer and was awarded first-place honors for column writing from both the Florida and Texas sports writers associations.

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