The Cliffs at Mountain Park

The Cliffs at Mountain Park – Played 2014

  • Rankings: None of the four lists
  • Location: 154 River Road, Travelers Rest, South Carolina
  • Year: 2013
  • Architect: Gary Player
  • Course Access: Private
  • Walking Rules: Carts Available

Score Card Information:

  • Black: 6,744 yards, Par 72
  • Silver: 6,202 yards, Par 72
  • Gold: 5,663 yards, Par 72
  • Copper: 5,019 yards, Par 72

The Cliffs communities are quite an operation.  They have seven golf courses around the upstate of South Carolina and Asheville.  The scenery ranges from the mountains to lakes and everything in between.  There are many beautiful houses and views.  The development has a strong connection to wellness and that fits in with the Cliffs at Mountain Park where I got to play recently.

The course was designed by Gary Player and opened in September 2013.  In tying into the development’s philosophy on wellness Mr. Player wanted the course to be walkable.  We played it in a cart, but it seemed to be a manageable walk.  The fairways are zoysia and the greens are bermuda.  As you will see in the photographs, native grasses were used throughout.

I was here for an alumni tournament for my high school and was paired with my old high school golf coach!  We have previously played at the Cliffs Valley Course, so this was a nice change of pace.  I always appreciate the opportunity to get on a great private track especially when it’s one I have never had the pleasure of playing.

I was fortunate enough to get a shot of the entrance since no one was turning in behind me!

MP - EntryThis was the first course I have chronicled where I was playing captain’s choice.  As a result, I missed some shots and I didn’t have many third shots on par 5’s since we always went for them in two.  The format did however leave me stress-free to take pictures!  We played the silver tees that came in at 6,202 yards.  All yardages are from those tees.

Hole 1 – 384 yards – Par 4

The course has a relatively benign start.  Anything from driver to long iron will work here.

MP 1-1Our team obviously hit driver!  No strategy needed today.  The photo below of the second shot is from about 85 yards out.  The green is slightly raised.  One thing to notice is that there is no rough around the green.  The course didn’t have any rough except for the native grass areas.  As a result, everything played extremely firm and fast.

MP 1-2The putting surface, seen below, was pretty flat minus the undulation seen in the middle of the green from this angle.

MP 1-3Hole 2 – 160 yards – Par 3

The second is a solid one shot hole.  The grounds crew gave us a sucker pin for the tournament knowing everyone would go for it.  A flag in the middle or front makes the hole play much easier.  This particular pin brings that nasty bunker on the right into play.

MP 2-1Hole 3 – 340 yards – Par 4

The line on the third is a draw just inside the fairway bunkers on the right.  Any shots too far to the left could have tree trouble.

MP 3-1This green had more undulations than the previous ones.  As you can see, the pin is in a little bowl on the right side.

MP 3-2Hole 4 – 465 yards – Par 5

At the distance we were playing the course there were a lot of short holes.  This held true for the par fives in particular.  Take the drive left of the bunkers with a draw and it will be in great position to go for it.  There is a creek running up the left side to take into account.

MP 4-1The green had plenty of slope with wavy ridges running the entirety of the surface.

MP 4-2Hole 5 – 410 yards – Par 4

Smack in the middle of all these short holes is a stout par four.  Just bomb one down the middle here.

MP 5-1The second shot plays over the water to a shallow green.  You do not want to miss long.

MP 5-2Hole 6 – 358 yards – Par 4

I didn’t get the tee shot here, but it was pretty straightforward.  The challenge on this hole is the second shot.  The green is fronted by a water hazard and it is a small target.  The tree on the left also obscures the shot.

MP 6-1Hole 7 – 95 yards – Par 3

Honestly, I felt this hole was kind of squeezed into the property.  It was such a short hole with the front pin and downhill slope.

MP 7-1The putting surface slopes mildly from back to front with a little plateau in the middle as seen below.

MP 7-2Hole 8 – 331 yards – Par 4

This hole is a dogleg to the left.  The tee shot calls for a draw off the bunker.

MP 8-1The approach shot plays uphill to a green with bunkers on the right.

MP 8-2The photo below is from the right of the green.  It has a good bit of slope from the left towards the back right of the surface.

MP 8-3Hole 9 – 463 yards – Par 5

This is a really good short par five.  The optimal shot is a fade starting a few yards inside the left bunker in the distance.  At this point, I was starting to the think that Mr. Player really likes bunkers!

MP 9-1Here is a shot of the approach angle.  It plays slightly uphill.  Avoid the bunker on the right.

MP 9-2The green is fairly simple with a ridge running width-wise through the middle of it.  Take note of where the flag is when playing to avoid having to putt over the ridge.

MP 9-3Hole 10 – 380 yards – Par 4

This portion of the course brought us out into the open.  It had a bit of a linksy feel to it.  The line ten yards in from the left side of the huge bunker in the center.

MP 10-1This green had some slope to it as you can see below.

MP 10-4Hole 11 – 135 yards – Par 3

I loved this little par three.  While the water takes away from the links feel, it was still a great hole.  It was quite windy when we played our tee shots which was a nice challenge with a wedge in my hand.  Long is no good here.

MP 11-1The majority of the undulation was in the front and middle of the green.  If you carried it back to this pin it was a pretty straight putt.

MP 11-2Hole 12 – 405 yards – Par 4

Another good hole around the pond.  There is plenty of room in this fairway so just bomb driver at the bunkers.

MP 12-1If your tee shot is far enough right the water should really just be a visual factor.  Be aware of the false front on the left.  Balls landing there have a good chance of rolling back into the water.

MP 12-2There is a significant grade from back to front in this green.  There is also a ridge running up the left side that you can see below.

MP 12-3Hole 13 – 342 yards – Par 4

More bunkers!  Take it in the middle of all that sand, but keep in mind that driver may not be needed.

MP 13-1The fairway is wavy and you are lucky to get a flat lie.  The green is slightly elevated.

MP 13-2The putting surface is small and pinches in at the middle.  There are some minor slopes on the fringes of the green.

MP 13-3Hole 14 – 426 yards – Par 4

This is a stout hole.  The best line is at the roof in the distance.  I can tell you from personal experience that it is a tough hole from the right fairway bunker.

MP 14-1The green is elevated again here and easily repels wayward shots.

MP 14-2There was not much slope to this green as seen below.

MP 14-3Hole 15 – 518 yards – Par 5

Here we have another good par five.  A good drive will be to the left of the lone tree down the middle.

MP 15-1The second shot is semi-blind with large dunes of native grass and bunkers.  Be mindful of these hazards when going for the green or laying up.

MP 15-2Hole 16 – 193 yards – Par 3

This hole requires a solid tee shot.  Lots of bunkers to avoid, but anything on the green will funnel towards the middle.

MP 16-1Here is a more zoomed in shot.

MP 16-2You can see slope towards the middle of the green in the photo below.

MP 16-3Hole 17 – 282 yards – Par 4

I love to see a drivable par four.  Since this was a captain’s choice tourney we had the opportunity for an assistant pro to hit our tee ball.  He put us on the green!  That’s him in the photo below, thanks for the bomb!

MP 17-1Hole 18 – 515 yards – Par 5

This hole has a pretty wide fairway.  Pick a comfortable shot and play for it here.

MP 18-1You can’t see it here, but there is a creek fronting the green.  Make sure your approach shot has enough carry to get over it.

MP 18-2The green has a lot of undulation at the back of the complex.  Any putts in the middle and front are pretty flat.

MP 18-3The course was really fun to play.  That was surely aided by the format, but I think it would be the same result if you were playing your own ball.  The only complaint I would have is that the grass was still growing in when we played.  The grass will be much better after another year of growing.  There were some spots that would result in a less than ideal lie, but that shouldn’t be a problem as the course matures.

In regard to the design, I was interested to play a course with virtually no rough.  It was a different set of challenges when almost every shot that missed its target would roll unimpeded into a collection area or a bunker.  The shots into the greens would definitely roll away if they didn’t catch the putting surface.  As the photos show, there were bunkers all over the place waiting to catch wayward shots.  The course was visually different from a lot of places I have played and I enjoyed the change.

They were just in the process of building the clubhouse so I didn’t get any photos of that.  The club is definitely in its infancy, but I think that it can grow into a very fun and playable track.

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3 thoughts on “The Cliffs at Mountain Park

  1. Pingback: Tiger Golf Traveler December Newsletter | Tiger Golf Traveler

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