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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 18-hole Sandpiper Bay Golf & Country Club in Sunset Beach, North Carolina is a public golf course that opened in 1987. Designed by Dan Maples, Sandpiper Bay Golf & Country Club measures 6503 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 119 and a 71.
Brunswick Plantation Golf Links is a 27-hole layout located in the fishing village of Calabash, North Carolina, abut 20 minutes north of Myrtle Beach. It has three distinct nines: the Magnolia, Azalea and Dogwood.
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.
Neuse Golf Club was ranked as one of the best public golf courses in North Carolina, second only to Pinehurst. The layout winds along the Neuse River across rolling hills that are dotted with rocky outcroppings. Towering, mature pines accent the landscape as well, especially along the fairways. Each hole provides a dramatically different challenge and unique scenery
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.
The 18-hole Raleigh Golf Association in Raleigh, North Carolina is a public golf course that opened in 1958. Designed by George Cobb, Raleigh Golf Association measures 6410 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 107 and a 69.9 USGA rating. The course features 3 sets of tees for different skill levels.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
Nestled within the Blue Ridge Mountains, Cummings Cove Golf & Country Club is peacefully tucked away with the Great Smokies sheltering it to the west. It offers some of the most stunning views of any golf course in western North Carolina. Although it feels remote, Asheville is less than half an hour away.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 18-hole Olde Sycamore Golf Plantation in Charlotte, North Carolina is a semi-private golf course that opened in 1997. Designed by Tom Jackson, Olde Sycamore Golf Plantation measures 6965 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 135 and a 73.
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 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 Chowan Golf & Country Club in Edenton, North Carolina is a semi-private golf course that opened in 1962. Designed by Ellis Maples, Chowan Golf & Country Club measures 6483 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 136 and a 71.