Upping Their Game

by Aug 3, 2023South Brunswick, Tee Time with Larry

Community owners deliver on their promise of greatly improving The Links at Brick Landing in Ocean Isle Beach.

When we last visited The Links at Brick Landing nearly a year and half ago, President Ken McGill urged golfers to play The Links to see the improvements for themselves — and he and his partners have delivered!

On a blustery February morning, I met with McGill, one of the six original investors in Community Golf Partners LLC, and his fellow board member Kevin Finnerty, to review the progress they have made, and frankly, it is quite impressive.

The first thing on every golfer’s mind is greens quality, and it’s clear that their Sunday Ultradwarf Bermuda has provided consistent and slick putting surfaces. They have also re-sodded and leveled the tees on this challenging Ocean Isle Beach par 71 layout and made major improvements on the bridges and bulkheads that serve this course.

The Links at Brick Landing Brunswick NC

Some of the other changes aren’t immediately obvious, such as the repair and restructuring of infrastructure like irrigation and drainage to provide a more resilient course that plays well even after it rains. Work continues on the cart paths too.

For background, remember that this course closed in early 2020 just as COVID was rearing its ugly head. Nonetheless, six residents of the Brick Landing community formed Community Golf Partners LLC (CGP) to acquire and improve a course that had been frequently neglected over its 35-year history. CGP knew that they couldn’t revamp the course all at once, but with the help of community volunteers who embraced (and continue to support) their efforts, they opened the re-branded Links later that year.

Respecting the importance of excellent greens, they closed it again in the spring of 2021 for the greens project and other work that would have impeded play.

The course reopened in late summer 2021 and keeps getting better all the time. A key player in all of this is Dana Anderson, who returned as golf course superintendent after having been superintendent here from 1989 to 2004.

The Links Golf NC

“This is my 46th year as a superintendent, and I am striving to make playing conditions here as enjoyable as possible,” Anderson says. I also met with Golf Operations Manager Allen Reising, who is justifiably proud of how far they have all come and sanguine about where this course is headed. Reising reminds golfers that “beauty lies everywhere you look, including two of the more picturesque golfing holes on the Grand Strand.”

Finnerty and McGill note that the response to The Links has been very favorable, both from the residents and outsiders who play this 6030-yard (from the white tees) gem. They restructured memberships to allow four levels of member play and continue to experience increasing volume, including outside daily fee play. The course still boasts four sets of tee boxes, from the 4704-yard forward tees, up to the 6586-yard tips, that registers a challenging 72.0/135 rating.

The opening and closing holes are exhilarating, with unobstructed views of the Intracoastal Waterway.

Number 1 is only 271 yards from the golds, but requires a precise tee shot up the relatively narrow fairway and a carefully placed second shot, given the pond on the left, and trouble long and right, if you want to make birdie. Even if you do, the short 75-yard uphill par 3 second can’t be taken for granted and will yield bogeys for the careless.

Pro Shop The Links NC

Once you continue inland on number 3, and beyond, you are faced with distance and direction decisions to avoid the water that could come into play on holes 3 through 7. Even green number 8 is guarded by a small pond downslope left. There is a water hazard on every remaining hole to test your grit and remind you that the fairways are designed to drain well. And by the way, the bunkers do, too!

My personal favorite is number 12, where you have a bomb-it or calm-it decision around and then over Sauce Pan Creek.

Coming home, number 18 offers a challenging tee shot over or around a pond and then a small green guarded by a fronting pond and trouble left or right — a fitting finishing hole where you can make 3 or 8, or anything in between.

Brick Landing The Links Brunswick NC

Another benefit of this course is the excellent food and beverage options once you finish your round — a libation on the veranda overlooking the ICW, relaxing inside near the bar or a visit to the Seabreeze restaurant for lunch above the clubhouse. Any of these choices will be a perfect ending to a great golf day.

Recently CGP embarked on another greens improvement project, evoking the spirit of revered local golfer Gene Bonstein. So you may find a few temporary greens when you visit, but remember — as the DOT says, the nconvenience is temporary, but the benefits are long-lasting!

Want to play?
The Links at Brick Landing
1882 Goose Creek Road SW, Ocean Isle Beach
(910) 754-7600
Also check them out of golfnow.com

Photography by Tara Roberts