The Lake Course at Spring City Golf & Lake Resort offers a continuous routing of 7,204 yards that plays along a hillside at the edge of a huge lake, on an extreme site for a golf course. But despite dramatic elevation changes, the course-located at nearly 1,500 meters above sea level and surrounded by mountains as high as 2,500 meters-never gives the feeling of playing strongly uphill or downhill. Robert Trent Jones II's creative solution to the steep topography was to design the holes as a series of switchbacks hugging the contours of the sloping site. The first seven holes descend slowly toward Lake Yang Zong Hail. The eighth, a par three of approximately 200 yards, plays to a green jutting out into the lake 110 feet below the tee. Following the par-five ninth hole, which routes along the waterway, the course begins its steady climb back up toward the clubhouse.
The Lake Course features a high risk-reward quotient, allowing more daring golfers to play over the edges of hazards but at the risk of landing in ravines or facing side-hill lies. Long, rectangular tee boxes lend the course a classic look. We designed the green complexes-many of which feature plateaued putting surfaces-with open throats to welcome bump-and-run shots or even putts from as far as 30 yards out. We planted the tees, option-rich fairways, and greens with Bentgrass framed by bluegrass rough. The margins of the course are planted with native grasses and wildflowers collected over a period of three years. Bold shaping and land features match the surrounding topography, and exposure to the elements and creative bunkering add to the challenge. Golfers can view the entire course from the first hole, thus adding the thrill of anticipation for what's to come. Much like the dramatic mountains themselves, this extremely natural course-which also features ravines and rock cliffs-looks as if it's been there forever, in keeping with the Design Philosophy of Robert Trent Jones II.