Eagle Point Golf Club in Wilmington, North Carolina is one the courses that entered the Top 100 list after I began my quest in 2007. Until it debuted on the 2009-2010 Golf Digest list I had not been familiar with the club at all. As far as new courses coming onto the list, I was pretty pleased with this one because it was a relatively easy 4 hour drive from Richmond. This is what the madness has come down to . . . I’m calling a round trip of 8 hours to play a single golf course ‘easy’. I may have a problem.
In 2009 when Eagle Point entered the Top 100 list I put my antenna up to see if I might accidentally stumble into an opportunity to play there like I have at many other courses on the list. I had a few friends and acquaintances that knew Eagle Point members but nothing ever really materialized so in the spring of this year I decided to ask Eric, one of the pros at my club, if he could help. Always a big supporter of my quest Eric happily agreed to call and check the reciprocal play policy at Eagle Point. Upon calling he learned that the club policy does not allow for reciprocal play, but they did allow unaccompanied play as long as it was sponsored by a member. Thinking I was back to square one, my heart began to sink a little bit. It was immediately lifted when Eric informed me that one of the founding members of Eagle Point happened to be a member at my club and was someone that he knew fairly well. A couple of days later I received an email from Eric informing me that the Eagle Point member said he would be happy to sponsor me and gave the green light for Eric to set up a game. Fantastic!!!
Eric arranged for me to play on a Tuesday which is traditionally a very slow day at the club. As a matter of fact, the play is so minimal that the club doesn’t even run food service on Tuesdays. When I arrived I was introduced to Shawn, one of the members of the professional staff, who would be playing with me. It was great be with someone so familiar with the club as I was able to ask a lot of questions and have someone knowledgeable to answer them. Some of the things I learned about Eagle Point were that the club was originally founded by 4 guys (one of whom was the member from my home club who sponsored me) and that the vast majority of the membership do not live in Wilmington full time. Most of them have beach homes in the area and visit on weekends, hence the lack of play on Tuesdays!
After a couple of warm up balls on the range we went directly to the first tee. There were five yardage options and we decided to play 6,742. We could have gone back one set of tees to 7,258 which probably would have been fine for Shawn, but may have been a little much for me. We were the first guys off for the day so we had a wide open course in front of us . . . my favorite thing in the world!
The 1st hole is a nice little par 4 that we played from 360 yards. Below is a photo of the green which is set up with a pretty tricky hole location. Also note the undulations in the green. This was a harbinger of what was to come at Eagle Point.
The 2nd hole, pictured below, is a short little par 3 of 139 yards that plays over a water hazard.
Next we’ve got another par 4 which we played from 386 yards. The photo below was taken from the tee box and as you can see there are some fairly penal fairway bunkers waiting to catch wayward drives.
Below is a photo of the 3rd green.
The 4th hole is the first of a great set of par 5s. This hole we played from 580 yards so it is not reachable in two, at least not in the world I inhabit. The photo below was taken from the tee box. As you can see the dew was quite heavy throughout the beginning of our game. The best line to take with the drive is to hit it right where the tire tracks are going through the dew to the left of the mounds. That should leave a flat lie for the second shot. The dew is so heavy in this photo it almost looks like snow.
The 4th green, pictured below, is pretty tricky with the undulations and even a player had the length to get home in two, hitting into this green with a fairway wood would not be easy.
We come to another par 3 at the 5th hole with this one we playing 174 yards from our tees. The green is two tiered and with the hole at the back like it is in the photo below a little extra club is necessary for the best birdie opportunity.
The 6th hole was my personal favorite of the par 5s at Eagle Point. This one played 524 yards which makes it the shortest of the group. This one is reachable in two if both of the shots are well executed. As seen in the photo below there is trouble all down the left side. For those who bail out on the right there is a bunker as well as trees that will cause problems.
The little creek in the photo below runs across the fairway about 100 yards out from the green. Players laying up will need to consider this hazard when they calculate their second shot.
Below is a photo of the 6th green.
I really liked the 7th hole which is a short par 4 that we played from 333 yards. There are a plethora of bunkers out there so if hitting driver one must be accurate. A hybrid or long iron off the tee is the conservative play. Note the footprints in the dew walking off the tee box and out towards the green. Although we were the first group of the day to play the course the superintendent walks the entire course from 1st tee to 18th green every morning as he evaluates what he wants to put on his maintenance plan for the day. I thought that was pretty unusual and very cool.
Below is a photo of the 7th green. The bunkers on the right make a difficult up and down for players who find that area of the hole.
The 8th hole is a par 4 on the longer side at 411 yards. The photo below is the 8th green. This green is protected by deep greenside bunkers that we’ve seen elsewhere on the course.
I loved the 9th hole which is a slight dogleg to the left that we played from 410 yards and to a par of 4. The photo below was taken from the tee box. From here the drive looks very intimidating. Once one the other side of the hazard it is apparent that there is much more room for error than it appears.
Below is a photo of the 9th green. The tree on the left hangs out a little bit and can cause problems on approach shots from the left side of the fairway.
Moving to the second nine holes we start out on the 10th hole with a par 3 that plays 163 yards from the blue tees. Not a particularly difficult hole but with the hole location tucked the the right corner behind the bunkers it becomes necessary to hit a solid shot.
The 11th hole is a par 4 that we played from 391 yards. This is a fairly straight and long hole. The photo below was taken from the tee box.
Below is a photo of the 11th green which is fairly accessible with the only bunkers off to the right.
At the 12th hole we come to another of Eagle Point’s excellent par 5s. This one plays 533 yards from the blue tees. Getting home in two is not realistic for many but for the players with the game to do it must also have an iron constitution. After hitting an excellent drive the second shot must carry water and land soft of a fairly small green. Below is the view from the tee box.
Below is a photo of the 12th green. As can be seen this green is going to be most receptive to a wedge and not a 3 wood from 250 yards out.
The 354 yard 13th hole is a nice little short par 4 that provides some club choice options off the tee. A well placed driver won’t likely hurt, but a 3 wood or hybrid can still leave a short iron into the green.
The bunker on the right side and right front of the 13th green is the primary protection for this hole. The photo below was taken from about 70 yards out.
I missed photographing the 14th hole, but it is a stout par 4 at 414 yards with some very deep bunkers on the left side of the green.
The 15th hole is a fairly lengthy par 3 that we played from 195 yards. The photo below was taken from the tee box and while the water doesn’t really come into play there is a certain visual intimidation of having to hit over water even when it really shouldn’t be a factor.
The tee box for the 16th hole is elevated nicely above the fairway and gives a little extra distance on the drive for this hole. From the blue tees it is 414 yards, so a little extra downhill fall is nice.
The 16th green really penalizes players who go left or right on their approach shots. There are deep bunkers on both sides and the undulation and slope of the green make it very difficult to chip close from those sides. Below is a photo of the green.
And here is a little closer look at the green.
The 17th hole plays 414 yards just as the 16th did. The green for this hole is slightly elevated and has very nasty bunkers on the left front. The green itself if fairly sloped and very easy to 3 putt. The photo below was taken from about 100 yards out.
Eagle Point closes out with another fine par 5. This one plays 547 yards which makes it all but impossible to get home in two except for elite players. For the best angle into the green the left side of the fairway should be favored.
The photo below is of the 18th green. As mentioned above the favorable side of the fairway is the left side as it will put the water on the right of the green a little more out of play.
Once we holed out at the 18th we walked back up to the clubhouse and I took note of the time . . . it had been 2 hours 45 minutes since we started. That is my kind of golf. We had a leisurely stroll, never rushed and played in less than 3 hours. I love it!!
Once we finished Shawn suggested that we hop in a cart and go over to the nine hole par 3 course and of course I happily obliged. The short course features holes of all different lengths and requires players to hit short, mid and long irons as well as hybrids. Its a fun little course and the greens rolled just as perfectly as the greens on the big course. Below are several photos that I took as we jumped around from hole to hole.
I had a great time at Eagle Point. The golf course is great fun and playable for all while still providing a serious challenge to low handicappers. The club itself is fantastic and has a great low key vibe to it . . . I suppose this should come as no surprise for a club located in a beach town in North Carolina. Every bit of the experience I had at Eagle Point was great and its a course I’m glad I became familiar with through its inclusion on the Top 100 list. From my perspective it seems to be to be a fantastic addition.