As you drive north on U.S. Highway 17 from North Myrtle Beach and over the state line, t-shirt shops and mini golf courses give way to Mom-and-Pop seafood restaurants, quaint beach cottages, and rustic roadside gift shops. Anchoring the coast of this pristine region are the Brunswick Islands - a group of barrier islands that run from the world famous "seafood capital" of Calabash, North Carolina, all the way north to the Cape Fear River south of Wilmington. The scenery is unrivaled, as Carolina Oaks and Pines blend together to give the area a true mid-Atlantic feel.
The 9-hole Heron at Carolina National Golf Club in Bolivia, North Carolina is a public golf course that opened in 1998. Heron at Carolina National Golf Club was designed by Fred Couples and Gene Bates. The greens are bent and the fairways are bermuda.
Carolina Shores Golf & Country Club is situated in Calabash, N.C. a scenic fishing village. The mature woodland landscape provides a secluded and relaxing setting that is ideal for a round of golf. Though it may be peaceful, you still have to be on your toes with plenty of water hazards and sand traps lurking throughout this traditional layout.
Brierwood Golf Club, the finest golf community in the South Brunswick Isles, just north of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is the most played course while at the Carolina Coast! Brierwood features a mature 18 hole championship course that winds naturally through its coastal forest setting.
Wilmington, North Carolina exudes a sense of time and place. Anchored by its 200-block historic district, this bustling river city of over 100,000 residents has one of the most vibrant downtowns in the state, and one of the strongest tourist industries in the Southeast.
Beau Rivage Golf & Resort, an 18-hole championship course built in 1988, features TifEagle greens, naturally contoured Bermuda fairways and tees and elevations of 70 feet (including the highest point in Wilmington).
The 18-hole Cape Fear National at Brunswick Forest in Leland, North Carolina is a private golf course that opened in 2009. Cape Fear National at Brunswick Forest was designed by Tim Cate.
The venerable Gene Hamm designed Echo Farms Golf & Country Club back in 1974, but ownership made a number of improvements to the golf course in 1995 including upgrading the greens to bentgrass, and Ian Scott-Taylor further improved the course in 1998.
The Outer Banks (OBX), skinny, sandy islands that thread their way along North Carolina's coast from Virginia Beach to Cape Lookout, wake up from their winter snooze as the weather warms and vacation-minded travelers head to places like Nag's Head, Corolla, Duck and Kitty Hawk to unwind, sink their toes into deep sand and pursue their favorite activities.
The Currituck Club has a Rees Jones-designed layout that stands out from other Outer Banks courses, mostly thanks to its ideal location along the Currituck Sound. The golf course shares the landscape with an abundance of wildlife including deer, osprey, geese, and turtles.
Nags Head Golf Club has a traditional Scottish-links layout that is right at home on the windswept terrain of the Outer Banks. Situated along the Roanoke Sound, the rugged coastline and rolling sand dunes perfectly mimic a classic links landscape. The golf course is a shot maker's layout that will test your skills but it is still player friendly enough to appeal to all skill levels.
Piedmont Triad area -- anchored by the three central cities of Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point -- deserves to take its rightful place as a great destination for residents and visitors alike. Historically known for textiles, tobacco, and furniture, the Triad has become a growing metro area that offers enough in the way of culture, outdoor activities, museums, and shopping to satisfy the most discerning traveler.
Challenge Golf Club sprawls across a scenic stretch of rolling farmland that sits alongside the Haw River. The lush hills are accented with mature hardwood forests, providing a scenic setting for a round of golf. The hilly terrain on this golf course will test not only your shot-making abilities but also your accuracy.
Oak Valley Golf Club boasts the only Arnold Palmer-designed course in the Winston-Salem area. The course sprawls across what used to be old dairy farmland, nestled in the North Carolina foothills. Palmer utilized the rolling, wooded terrain and transformed the site into one of the Triad’s most scenic golf courses.
Meadowlands Golf Club sits at the heart of the Piedmont Triad, making it accessible for golfers from Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and High Point. Designed by Hale Irwin, the course is a favorite among locals. There are some challenging holes where you'll have to contend with strategically placed bunkers and treacherous water hazards.
The Inner Banks of North Carolina, situated on Albemarle Sound about 75 miles west of the Outer Banks, is blessed by more than 3,000 miles of inland coastline and charming small villages like Edenton, Windsor and Plymouth. It was one of the first areas in North America to be settled by Europeans, who grew large crops of cotton, tobacco and peanuts.
The Golf Club at Eagle Creek in Moyock was designed with all players in mind. At just over 6,700 yards from the back tees, the course is not overly long but there are several holes that provide some length. The golf course is wide open, which means wind will definitely come into play during your round and there are also several water holes.
About 20 minutes from Edenton, you can play one of the finest tracks in the state, the Scotch Hall Preserve, an Arnold Palmer Signature course. Built as the centerpiece of the 1,000-acre master planned community, track stretches along Albemarle Sound with several holes paralleling the sound and scenic Salmon Creek.
The 18-hole Brandywine Bay Golf Club in Morehead City, North Carolina is a resort golf course that opened in 1980. Designed by Bruce Devlin, Brandywine Bay Golf Club measures 6609 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 130 and a 72 USGA rating.
Tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville sits at the meeting point of the Swannanoa and French Broad Rivers. Donald Ross chose the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina as the setting for many of the golf courses in his prolific career.
Nestled in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, Sequoyah National Golf Club is surrounded by mature oak and fir trees. Owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee, the course is routed through flowered valleys that provide a colorful complement to the surrounding mountain views. It feels peacefully secluded but it is conveniently located less than an hour from Asheville.
The Great Smoky Mountains surround the Waynesville Inn Golf Resort & Spa, providing a stunning setting that is perfect for a round of golf. The club has three nines -- Dogwood, Carolina, and Blue Ridge -- that are played in different 18-hole combinations. The Blue Ridge/Carolina Course begins with the newest and longest of the nines.
Etowah Valley Golf Club & Lodge is a championship 27-hole layout that has become one of western North Carolina's premier golf destinations. It is even ranked in Golf Digest's top 50 golf destinations in the world. Etowah Valley's North/West combination starts with the shortest of the three nines and ends with the longest.
With destinations like Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach, and Pinehurst, the Carolinas seldom look at their metropolitan centers for as golf meccas. Once upon a time, this was justifiable. Even as recently as the late 1980s, the Charlotte and Raleigh/Durham metro areas were severely lacking in daily-fee golf facilities.
Emerald Lake Golf Club is one of the Charlotte area's most popular public courses. True to its name, water is a prominent feature on the golf course. It's not just the water hazards that make this a tough course though. You'll be faced with strategically placed bunkers, sloped greens, and fairways tightly lined with trees.
Rock Barn Golf & Spa offers two championship courses, one designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and the other by Tom Jackson. The Jackson Course tumbles across picturesque valleys, offering both dramatic elevation changes and beautiful scenery.
Rocky River Golf Club was carefully carved from lush, rolling hills and natural wetlands with the intent of preserving the beautiful terrain as much as possible. The course flows across the dramatic natural contours of the land, providing holes with plenty of elevation changes. Running alongside the rolling fairways are winding ribbons of native wetland grasses that weave through rocky outcroppings.
The Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area -- also known as the "Triangle" -- bleeds college hoops. Duke University, the University of North Carolina, and North Carolina State are all within a half hour's drive of each other, and have cultivated some of the most intense rivalries in all of sports over the past 40 years.
Located near the banks of Swift Creek, Lochmere Golf Club has plenty of water incorporated into the layout, coming into play on nearly every hole. The golf course stretches across a lush, gently rolling landscape sprinkled with mature trees and ponds. The terrain showcases the best in Triangle golf.
Lonnie Poole Golf Course at N.C. State University was designed by Arnold Palmer with the help of N.C. State graduates Erik Larsen and Brandon Johnson. It's home to the university's men's and women's golf teams but it's open to the public as well. It's a favorite among locals who claim it's one of the toughest golf courses in the Triangle.
Crooked Creek Golf Club offers a challenging, but playable championship course that is one of the area's best values. The layout features well designed par 3s that will require some thought and receptive, well manicured greens that are player friendly.
Anchored by the Village of Pinehurst, the Sandhills region of North Carolina is made up of a collection of small towns and blessed with a sampling of public-access golf courses that many golf aficionados consider to be among the best in the world. The "Village" is home to the venerable Pinehurst Resort and Donald Ross' vaunted No. 2 course. The entire area oozes with layouts from Ross, Dan and Ellis Maples, Rees Jones, and Robert Trent Jones.
Little River Golf Club is a Dan Maples "original" in his home town area near the village of Pinehurst. The rolling hills and flowing waters on this beautiful property make it a challenging venue for golfers of all skill levels.
Dan Maples, architect of the nationally acclaimed Pit Golf Links, has created another masterpiece only minutes from the Village of Pinehurst. Longleaf Golf & Country Club was formerly the site of Starland Farms, for years the training ground of some of the country's top thoroughbreds.
The 18-hole Tillery Tradition Country Club in Mt Gilead, North Carolina is a public golf course that opened in 2000. Designed by Carl Holston, Tillery Tradition Country Club measures 6930 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 132 and a 73.