David Whelchel completes renovation of Lake Course at Carolina Trace CC


  • Carolina Trace

    The green on the tenth hole at Carolina Trace CC’s Lake Course

  • Carolina Trace

    The lakeside green on the thirteenth hole

  • Carolina Trace

    The twelfth hole following David Whelchel’s renovation work

Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

A major renovation of the Lake Course at Carolina Trace Country Club in Sanford, North Carolina, has reached completion.

Arkansas-based golf course architect and member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects David Whelchel has led the work, and spoke GCA about the work he has carried out at the Robert Trent Jones, Sr. course.

“Most of what we did was just give the golf course a facelift as the Lake Course was opened in 1971,” said Whelchel. “We rebuilt all the bunkers with a high tech liner system, put in white sand, rebuilt and laser-leveled all the tees. We also removed trees for visibility and to improve growing conditions, put in all new concrete cart paths, added several miles of drainage, and stripped and leveled all the fairways.”

A selection of bunkers were repositioned to increase their relevance to the modern play patterns. Bunkers were added in other places to increases strategy on certain holes, while others were removed from the course completely.

“We added fairway bunkers on holes four, seven and fourteen,” Whelchel explained. “Golfers playing these holes will now have to more closely think about where his drive or second shot should be placed, rather than just hitting into a wide open landing area.”

Other highlights of the work include the completely rebuilt eighth hole, where two new bunkers were introduced around the green, and trees were removed to improve sightlines.

A number of rebuilt tees on the course were also slightly relocated, extending the course’s length to 7,279 yards from the back tees, rather than the 6,800 yards it played before the project began.

“The extra length for the course was added in hopes of attracting some higher profile events to Carolina Trace,” Whelchel said. “The course has hosted a US Women’s Open qualifier a few times, and now they will be bidding for a men’s qualifier, as well as other top quality amateur events. With the added distance, the Lake Course should provide quite a challenge to any level golfer.”

While the course has been lengthened, Whelchel was quick to point out that several new forward tees have also been added to help make the course friendlier to golfers that are not looking for big carries.

“With five or six sets of tees on every hole, the course offers real variety to players,” Whelchel added. “Now, the Lake Course plays from about 4,850 from the forward-most tees, to over 7,200 from the backs.”