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 MacKay (formerly known as West Course) at Thistle Golf Club in Sunset Beach, North Carolina is a public golf course that opened in 1999. Designed by Tim Cate, MacKay at Thistle Golf Club measures 3547 yards from the longest tees.
The 18-hole Pearl West Course in Sunset Beach, North Carolina is a public golf course that opened in 1987. Designed by Dan Maples, Pearl West Course measures 7006 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 132 and a 73.2 USGA rating.
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.
This is a well-conceived, challenging, yet playable course, with a good reputation among local golfers. Water comes into play on quite a few holes. The fairways are relatively wide, but it will help to play your shot carefully.
The 18-hole Pines Course at Country Club of Whispering Pines in Whispering Pines, North Carolina is a semi-private golf course that opened in 1965. Designed by Ellis Maples, Pines Course at Country Club of Whispering Pines measures 7094 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 134 and a 74.
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 Country Club of the Crystal Coast sits along the Bogue Sound, sprawling across sand dunes and weaving through the Maritime Forest. At just over 6,000 yards from the back tees, the course doesn't have the length that some other championship layouts have but there are still plenty of challenges in store.
Scotch Hall Preserve, formerly known as Innsbrook Golf Course boasts a championship course designed by Arnold Palmer. The layout features 11 holes that border either the Albemarle Sound or Salmon Creek, offering stunning views. The golf course is defined by strategically placed, challenging bunker complexes that border subtly undulating greens that are trickier than they seem.
The 18-hole Pines at Elizabeth City in Elizabeth City, North Carolina is a private golf course that opened in 1947. Pines at Elizabeth City measures 6161 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 117 and a 67.8 USGA rating. The course features 4 sets of tees for different skill levels.
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.
The 18-hole Magnolia Greens Golf Plantation - Magnolia/Camellia Course in Leland, North Carolina is a public golf course that opened in 1998. Designed by Tom Jackson, Magnolia Greens Golf Plantation - Magnolia/Camellia Course measures 7031 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 138 and a 74.
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.
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.
Since Tanglewood Golf Club's Championship Course opened in 1958 it has consistently ranked as one of the top public courses in the U.S. This Robert Trent Jones layout has 99 bunkers.
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.
The 18-hole Cross Creek Country Club in Mount Airy, North Carolina is a semi-private golf course that opened in 1973. Designed by Joe Lee, Cross Creek Country Club measures 6775 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 138 and a 72.
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.
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.
The 18-hole Pointe Golf Club in Powells Point, North Carolina is a public golf course that opened in 1995. Designed by Russell Breeden, Pointe Golf Club measures 6343 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 127 and a 70.
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.
The 18-hole Maggie Valley Resort & Country Club in Maggie Valley, North Carolina is a resort golf course that opened in 1961. Maggie Valley Resort & Country Club measures 6466 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 128 and a 69.
The 18-hole Asheville Municipal Golf Course in Asheville, North Carolina is a public golf course that opened in 1927. Designed by Donald Ross, Asheville Municipal Golf Course measures 6420 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 122 and a 71.
The 18-hole High Vista Country Club in Mills River, North Carolina is a semi private golf course that opened in 1977. Designed by Tom Jackson, High Vista Country Club measures 6831 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 140 and a 73.
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.
The 18-hole Lakeshore Golf Course in Durham, North Carolina is a public golf course that opened in 1962. Designed by J. M. Utley, Sr. , Lakeshore Golf Course measures 5839 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 117 and a 67.
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.
UNC Finley Golf Course is one of the top 20 collegiate courses in the country. The club offers a well conditioned comprehensive facility with a driving range, putting green, and chipping. Tom Fazio designed this challenging layout that is diverse enough to appeal to players of all skill levels. He included his trademark false fronts and greenside bunkers.
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.
Eagle Chase Golf Club is tucked away in the rolling hills of northern Union County, surrounded by nothing but acres of countryside and farmland. The secluded locale is ideal for golf, especially since it is conveniently situated less than an hour from Charlotte.
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.