Like most of the state’s military courses, Ryder and Stryker are making a comeback of sorts, if for no other reason than sentimental reasons. And Stryker could have the coolest logo in golf, so make sure you purchase a golf ball in the vast pro shop.
As soon as you step on Stryker you’ll feel like you’re in the middle of Pinehurst, with towering pines and that classic Ross feel with smallish greens and strategic bunkering. At 6,641 yards from the tips, Stryker is a nice test and a must play for those who love Ross layouts. There is water on just one hole — No. 11 – and not much trouble off the tee with gracious fairways.
“Some people look at this course and say ‘I’ll shoot 60 out here’ and it’s not true. Just like most all of the Ross courses it does have its own defenses,” Johnson said.
Meanwhile, Ryder is more of a risk-reward course, with some nice topography for being located in the Sandhills, and was once called the Officer’s Club. Enlisted soldiers now come and go freely at both, as do civilians.
“Ryder certainly has a lot of character,” Johnson said.
With a paid adult, a junior can play for free at either layout. “I don’t know many places that do that,” Johnson said. “We’re trying to get the kids out here and trying to put less of a financial burden on the parent to bring the child out.”
Stryker also installed a Foot Golf course in May and has already seen more than 150 rounds.
“And every one of them were not golfers here,” Johnson said. “They are all new people.”
Ryder Golf Course (Fort Bragg)
Architect: C.C. McCusion
Year Opened: 1930
Worth Noting: Tee it up in the center of the massive Army base and adjacent to the homes of generals and high-ranking officers.
Best Hole: The 195-yard fifth hole in which golfers have to navigate a tee shot over water to a green heavily guarded by bunkers.
Stryker Golf Course (Fort Bragg)
Architect: Donald Ross
Year Opened: 1946
Worth Noting: Among the final designs of the legendary architect Ross; home to one of the best stocked pro shops in the state.
Best Hole: The 614-yard 4th hole offers one of the few 600-plus yard holes in the area. Good luck trying to get home in two on this monster.