While chasing American forces across the Carolina countryside during the Revolutionary War, British Lord Charles Cornwallis came upon a swath of thick mud. It so reminded him of British pudding that Cornwallis dubbed the area Pudding Ridge.
The name stuck, and 200-plus years later Pudding Ridge Golf Club opened on that very site, just north of Interstate 40 near Mocksville. The course is maintained to high standards; the mud which befuddled Cornwallis is long gone, replaced by 419 Bermuda fairways and smooth, bentgrass greens. I played Pudding Ridge on a Thursday afternoon and found it be very good, especially for the $22 rate (including cart). The layout moves pleasantly around farm land, with small elevation changes in a few areas. An employee told me the owner designed the course. Since the complimentary yardage book says Don Charles designed the course, I assume Charles is the owner/architect.
The architecture is generally good. I particularly like the first two holes. The first is a moderate par-4 that goes slightly downhill. It gives you a solid chance for par or birdie. The fairway is generous and there are no bunkers. The second is a lovely downhill par-3. It’s only 153 yards from the back tees with no trouble unless you go long into the creek.
A special treat is riding through a tunnel of bamboo trees to the third tee. The bamboo is thick enough to block the sun, providing a respite on a hot summer day.
There’s a pattern with the par-5s -- the first on each nine is tricked up, while the second on each nine is straightforward. The third hole is the tricky one for the front side. Put the driver away and take an iron off the tee. You’ll be glad you did.
An old farm silo hugs the side of the fairway on the par-5 fifth. Stay left of it off the tee and you’ll have a chance to reach the green in two.
The 10th tee and 18th green are perched on a ridge below the clubhouse. For the 10th hole, this means you hit downhill to a short par-4. For the final hole, it means you play uphill to an elevated green. There’s also an elevated green on No. 13, a lengthy par-4. It is the course's toughest hole because of the elevated green, but is also fair.
My buddy Brian and I never figured out the quirky par-5 11th. There are two water hazards crossing the fairway and you basically need to hit over a backyard to get in position off the tee. At least I think you do. To add to the puzzle, that backyard features a batting cage you must clear.
Although that home on the 11th comes into play, the rest of the course has no residential problems. The homes -- which are beautiful and well built -- are set back away from play, and in some cases provide nice framing.
The closing holes provide nice looks as you play through a hollow. Cornwallis is believed to have crossed Dutchman’s Creek just in front of the 15th tee, but you will be more concerned crossing the pond in front of the green. Remember to hit a little extra on your approach shot to the 18th. In addition to being elevated, the green is set back farther than it looks.