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Love's Irish Creek design plays worthy of the praise

Course review: In the three years since Davis Love III and his brother, Mark, took the old Kannapolis Country Club and rebuilt it into what is now the Club at Irish Creek, the layout has received abundant praise.

Golfweek ranked it the ninth-best new-construction course in the nation in 2007, Golf Digest architecture guru Ron Whitten called it Love’s best work as a designer and the North Carolina Golf Panel rated Irish Creek the fifth-best course in the Charlotte area behind Quail Hollow, Charlotte Country Club, Myers Park and Longview.

This week, Irish Creek hosts the North Carolina Open, one of the premier events on the Carolinas PGA schedule. It’s part of a high-profile season at Irish Creek, which hosted the Irish Creek Collegiate tournament in May and will host a first-stage qualifying tournament for the PGA Tour in October.

When Love redesigned the layout, he left the first nine holes basically where they were. They’ve been lengthened, reshaped and improved but the original front nine remains.

The back side, however, features six new holes that give players a dynamic challenge.

Water is in play or visible on 16 of the 18 holes, but it doesn’t come directly into play often.

Lake Kannapolis provides a dramatic backdrop on many holes that play along the water but don’t demand long carries over the hazard.

Located not far from the new Research Campus in downtown Kannapolis, Irish Creek has given the town a golf course that’s a pure treat to play.

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