By CRAIG DISTL
Most golfers like to occasionally venture away from their home course and tee it up on a different layout. If you’re among that group and due for a break from the routine, one course worthy of consideration is Cedarbrook Country Club near Elkin.
Cedarbrook is a nice respite for Triad area golfers — a fun-to-play layout designed by Ellis Maples that offers great bent grass greens. It began life in 1962 as a private club, but accepts outside play from all golfers during the week, and golfers outside a 20-mile radius on weekends. Thus, it’s a perfect getaway.
Those who visit Cedarbrook find a friendly staff and a traditional par-72 golf course of moderate length. It measures 6,873 yards from the back tees and 6,374 from the white tees.
The course remains much as Maples designed it nearly 50 years ago. He was a disciple of legendary golf architect Donald Ross, and the teacher’s influence on the pupil is easily seen in the green complexes. Several are elevated in the Ross style, and often slope downward from back to front, another Ross trait.
For that reason, it is important to keep the ball below the hole. Long-time head professional and general manager Zim Zimmerman says good scores at Cedarbrook are highly possible if you accomplish that task.
“The key to playing Cedarbrook is knowing where to hit the golf ball on the green and keeping the ball below the hole, especially on the front side,” Zimmerman said.
Another thing Maples learned from Ross was to ease the golfer into his or her round. Cedarbrook’s first two are par-4s with plenty of open space and minimal design difficulty.
It’s quite possible to be close to par, or below par, coming to the par-5 fourth hole. The fourth is fairly long – 565 yards from the back tees – and a pond in front of the green prevents most golfers from reaching the putting surface in two.
As golfers weave their way through the course, they encounter a pleasant mix of holes which are not repetitive in design. Several feature open, expansive fairways, while others tighten up and bisect hardwood forests. Overall, Cedarbrook traverses 235 acres, a large footprint for a golf course.
“It’s a good layout, with a lot of subtly rolling terrain, and fun to play,” Zimmerman said. “Every hole is different. You don’t feel like you are playing the same hole twice.”
If the course has a signature hole, it would be the downhill par-3 eighth. The eighth is 190 from the back tees and 149 from the white tees, and it requires a well-struck shot over a pond to a two-tiered green fronted by a bulkhead.
“It photographs well,” Zimmerman said with a smile.
Another signature element of Cedarbrook is Nellie, the course dog. Nellie technically belongs to course superintendent Tim Brown, but everybody looks after the Brittany spaniel.
“Nellie is around here quite a bit. The members are very fond of him,” Zimmerman said. “He’ll come running from all directions and he runs many miles a day.”
Cedarbrook is located in tiny town of State Road, although most identify it with Elkin, which is a couple of miles away. The clubhouse, built in 2005, has a stone and wood exterior and features 7,700 square feet on the interior and 3,000 square feet of porches.
There’s a nice practice facility, a good-sized putting green and greens fees that don’t stretch the budget.