By David Theoret
The Albemarle Sound has been a prized locale for centuries; time and Mother Nature have made it the beautiful destination that you now see; rugged shoreline and endless seas.
Albemarle Plantation is an authentic coastal community and occupies a special place in the hearts of all who call it home. Although it’s home to one of the area’s most spectacular golf courses, the Sound brings life and energy to a community with unlimited ways to enjoy it. In fact, the attraction to the water may be bigger than the attraction to golf at Albemarle Plantation, as can be seen by the beautiful assortment of boats docked at the marina.
A lot of the success of the community has to do with the harmony that seems to exist within the gates; neighbors genuinely like each other and people just seem to get along. In 2012, this community of friends took it one step further; they decided to buy the place. Everything. Golf club, marina, pool, tennis facilities, walking trails, restaurants — all of it. Residents saw it as an opportunity to control the future of the community, and to keep membership costs low and property values high. So far, it has paid huge dividends!
Albemarle Plantation is not a collection of over-priced waterfront and golf course homes. The few that are for sale are priced right and come with a bevy of recreational amenities. The marina is one of the largest private marinas on the east coast. It even has its own dining venue that caters more to boaters but is thoroughly enjoyed by all.
The Dockside Café is a special place, with its large,1,700 square foot deck and both screened-in and open dining areas. The fare is a lot more casual with salads, burgers, sandwiches, wood-fired pizzas as well as beer and the well-stocked Albemarle Plantation Wine Store.
The clubhouse at Albemarle Plantation exudes Southern charm. It overlooks both the Sound and the 18th green with a formal hedge garden and well-manicured lawn creating a picturesque backdrop that is popular for weddings and special events.
Inside you’ll find an intimate full-service bar in the casual Grille Room; walk a little further and you’ll come to the formal dining room which also offers a spectacular view of the Sound. In either dining area, you can enjoy both lunch and dinner or choose to dine al fresco on the verandah and take in a beautiful sunset. They also serve a fantastic Sunday Brunch. Dinner entrees include a variety of steak and seafood selections including Shrimp and Grits, Lobster Risotto, and cornmeal fried oysters.
The Sound Golf Links at Albemarle Plantation is an incredible, nationally acclaimed Dan Maples design that opened for play in the fall of 1990. In planning this masterpiece, Maples made the most out of the woodlands and unique waterways and created a course that has something for everyone, regardless of how good or bad your game is. Several members have described the layout as very peaceful; it’s as if you are playing a new course every time you’re out there.
From the White Tees, The Sound plays 5,794 yards, which seems short, But throw in a course rating of 69.6 and a slope of 124 for the men and you’ll find it’s a challenge.
The Sound Links at Albemarle Plantation is full of memorable golf holes. Number 8 is a fun and challenging Par 4 that is a genuine risk vs reward hole. At 256 yards from the White tees, the hole screams “Go for it!” Brains over brawn is the key here as driving the green requires pinpoint accuracy. The marsh pinches in on both sides and anything but a straight tee shot usually means hitting your next shot from the drop area. The smart play – which is not my strong suit – is to hit a club much less than driver off the tee and leave a manageable shot into the green.
The three finishing holes will likely become etched into your memory. Number 16 is a relatively short par 4 at 253 yards and is the first of the three holes that features a stunning view of the Sound. This short dogleg left requires a well-placed tee shot; if you try to cut the corner, you’re flirting with the trees and OB. A well-played approach shot may well lead to a birdie opportunity.
Albemarle Sound dictates the shape of the par 5, 17th hole. Seventeen plays 468 yards from the White Tees and you’ll need a long drive if you want to put up a good score. Should you decide to go for the green in two, you’ll need tremendous accuracy as the green is guarded on all four sides by bunkers and marshlands.
Number 18 is a powerful finishing hole. Although it’s not the longest, it has proven to be the difference between victory and defeat for many golfers. Albemarle Sound runs down the entire right side of this dogleg right par 4, with a 150-yard sand bunker situated between the fairway and the Sound. Hit anything through the left side of the fairway off the tee and you’ll most likely find it in a bunker. Find the fairway off the tee and you’ll be looking at a short chip shot into an uphill green. Don’t be afraid to leave your drive in the bag.
Don’t be surprised if you hear some cheers and jeers from the clubhouse verandah as you’re finishing up. Even if you’re not at the top of your game, the unrelenting beauty of the natural surroundings will keep you coming back round after round.
If neither golf nor boating tickles your fancy, there are plenty of other social, fitness, artistic and educational activities to keep you busy. There are two tennis/pickleball courts, three bocce ball courts, almost 1,000 square feet of the latest cardio and strength equipment, and a community garden area with garden plots available for residents.
The residents of this member-owned golf community take ownership to a new level. It’s not uncommon to find residents who live on the course out on the hole behind their residence fixing pitch marks and filling divots. Their passion is evident and their efforts shine through as they do their part to keep this an incredibly well-maintained facility.
Whether you’re looking to retire or relocate to the Carolinas, Albemarle Plantation is well worth your consideration, you’ll never run out of things to do. For more information on becoming a member or resident of Albemarle Plantation, give them a call at (800)523-5958 or visit them online at www.albemarleplantation.com.