We recently asked Golf Operations Manager Adam Bowles to curate his Rumbling Bald “Dream 18,” calling upon holes from both Apple Valley and Bald Mountain to create one of the best mountain course compilations east of the Mississippi.
Last week we led off with a tour through the Front Nine. This week, we’re testing our mettle (and yours) against a formidable Back Nine finishing stretch.
As always, feel free to follow along by pulling up the hole-by-hole descriptions for Apple Valley and Bald Mountain. Or, for a more immersive experience, check out Bowles’ full video tour of Apple Valley, front nine tour and back nine tours of Bald Mountain.
Without further ado, off we go …
No. 10 (No. 11 at Apple Valley, Par 4, 321 Yards)
No. 11 starts golfers off the back nine with a breathtaking backdrop of Bald Mountain. The short par-4 sweeps downhill toward a green fronted by a large pond. The tee shot is fairly straightforward, but the challenge of this hole lies in the approach shot. The green is large but slopes heavily from back to front making it nearly impossible to lag a putt close to the hole. Says Bowles, “This is one of my absolute favorite holes on either golf course.”
No. 11 (No. 16 at Apple Valley, Par 4, 391 Yards)
The 16th hole is an “aesthetically perfect” par 4, according to Bowles, that displays everything golfers want out of a mountain golf hole. It leads off with a beautiful tee shot and finishes with challenging second shot to a green that slopes back to front and left to right toward the water. Said pond that sits on the left side of the green collects hundreds of errant approach shots each season.
No. 12 (No. 7 at Bald Mountain, Par 5, 518 Yards)
Bald Mountain’s second par 5 offers a realistic shot at birdie; it is not overly long and presents itself nicely from an elevated tee box. No. 7 does have two ponds and two creeks coming into play, with the left side being the more aggressive line. Bowles offers a pro tip: “When you get on the small green, everything breaks towards the creek. You will disagree with me until you putt it.”
No. 13 (No. 12 at Apple Valley, Par 4, 369 Yards)
When pressed for a favorite hole on Apple Valley, Bowles admits No. 12 is “a hole I simply can’t wait to play with its incredible view.” This sporty par 4 has split fairways (unique at Rumbling Bald) due to a narrow creek that while only a few feet wide, manages to swallow golf ball after golf ball. Whichever fairway golfers choose, they are faced with a green peppered by a group of bunkers on the right side. Bowles says birdie opportunities abound with a good tee shot.
No. 14 (No. 5 at Apple Valley, Par 4, 388 Yards)
The third toughest hole on the course, No. 5 is a stout two-shotter running alongside Bills Creek Road featuring an elevated tee box. A small creek along the left side requires some navigation, but the green on the fifth hole is the true star of the show. Bowles suggests taking a peek over at the pin placement when driving into the entrance to the parking lot upon arrival. If the hole is cut on the postage stamp-sized corner, buckle up, he says.
No. 15 (No. 10 at Bald Mountain, Par 4, 383 Yards)
Bowles believes this is one of the most underrated holes at Rumbling Bald. In this case, the elevated tee shot offers a harrowing glimpse of a creek on the left and a thick row of trees on the right that appears to extend all the way into the fairway. The approach shot is to an elevated green with the putting surface completely hidden from sight. Most golfers under-club, says Bowles, leaving a chip shot into a slanted green.
No. 16 (No. 16 at Bald Mountain, Par 3, 161 Yards)
This historic par 3 has supplied Rumbling Bald with its 15 seconds of fame, and then some. The 16th was a scene location from the famous 1987 “rom-con” Dirty Dancing, starring Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze. Fast fact: it is one of the only remaining spots from the movie that still looks exactly like it did when it was on the big screen. Requiring a full carry over a pond fronting the green, No. 16 plays the hardest of Bald Mountain’s five par 3s.
No. 17 (No. 17 at Bald Mountain, Par 4, 421 Yards)
The 17th hole at Bald Mountain is truly architect W.B. Lewis’s ode to mountain golf. Golfers cross a small waterfall by a bridge and are then presented with an incredibly tight window for a tee shot. The good news: the fairway is much larger than it appears from the tee and drives in the fairway are rewarded by an open look at the green. The bad news: the green is fronted by a trout stream to carry on the approach shot, and there is no bailout. A glance back up the fairway to the tee box reveals one of the best views on the course.
No. 18 (No. 18 at Apple Valley, Par 5, 564 Yards)
The 18th hole at Apple Valley is widely considered one of the best finishing holes in the region. A true three-shotter at over 564 yards, a pond runs along the right side of the fairway starting about 300 yards out, extending page the green. The line for the tee shot is apparent, but the second shot needs to be long enough to setup a mid to short-iron approach. A small bunker right of the green and larger bunker left swallow-up errant shots.
Dream 18 by the Numbers
Front nine yardage: 3,363
Back nine yardage: 3,516
Front nine par: 36
Back nine par: 37