Destination Guide

Destination: Triangle

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 Triangle also oozes technology. Research Triangle Park (RTP) is one of the largest conglomerations of tech and pharmaceutical companies in the U.S.

Hoops, big business, and an extremely comfortable community that has been recognized by such publications as Newsweek and Money magazines as one of the country’s best places to live, make the Triangle a desirable place to dwell.

But if you'd prefer to surround yourself with shameful amounts of daily-fee golf, you'll find that this portion of the Piedmont lags behind its cousins to the south and west.

Charlotte has almost 80 golf courses within a 45-minute drive of downtown. Greensboro, High Point, Winston Salem, know as the Triad, is a panacea of affordable, daily-fee golf, with nearly 100 venues open to the public. The Triangle, on the other hand, weighs in with a respectable, but hardly overwhelming 50 golf courses you can play.

With hordes of white-collar workers and young people who would seem to be prime candidates for jumping on the golf bandwagon, one would think that the Triangle would be a haven for high-end, daily-fee golf.

"It has caught up some here in the past few years," says Scott Martin, author of Golf in the Carolinas. "Charlotte had this incredible boom in the 1990’s, in large part because there was still affordable land left around the periphery. But land has become so expensive around the Triangle, there just aren’t as many new daily-fee courses coming on line."

The early 1990's saw the addition of two John LaFoy designed courses in the Triangle -- Devil's Ridge Golf Club in Clayton, and the Neuse Golf Club in Holly Springs. LaFoy, a former associate of George Cobb, drastically departed from his mentor's architectural style with these two modern tracks. Both feature blind tee and approach shots, uneven lies, and severely undulating greens that are similar to the Triangle golf scene, but leave many players scratching their heads.

In the late 1990's, the Triangle did experience a bit of a golden age in public golf course construction, with the addition of Falls Village, the Crossings, River Ridge, Eagle Ridge, and the Heritage Club. The PGA Tour even got into the mix, opening the semiprivate TPC at Wakefield.

"Since we have so many golf courses in North Carolina, leave it to us to say that there's a shortage of golf courses in an area with 50 courses," says Jay Allred, publisher of Triad and Triangle Golf Today. "But you do have lines at first tees and longer pace of play in the Triangle than you do in the Triad, where there might actually be too many golf courses from where the owners sit."

Collegiate golf courses

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University are the hubs of higher education in the Triangle (with apologies to Wolf Pack alumni), and they also happen to form the epicenter of the area's traditional golf scene.

The Finley Course at UNC has long been recognized as one of the better collegiate golf courses in the country, and you won't find a better place to play for the money. The greens are walk mowed each day, a Border Collie chases away any water fowl looking to leave their mark on the fairways, and Finley boasts one of the best practice facilities in the state.

Leave it up to the Dukies not to be upstaged by the hated Heels. Just down "Tobacco Road" at Duke University sits one of the Triangle’s other great golf tracks, the Duke University Golf Club.

Duke has a gorgeous campus and the course at Washington Duke Golf and Country Club takes full advantage of this prime property. The course was designed by Robert Trent Jones and originally opened for play in 1957. In 1993, Rees Jones was persuaded by his daughter (a Dukie at the time) to revamp the course pro bono. The course is routed through some of the most beautiful hardwoods in the area, and is walkable if you are used to hoofing it and have a resting heart rate of 80 or under.

Towering pines and Carolina hardwoods frame every hole at the Duke Golf Club. In the spring, with the azaleas and dogwoods blooming, the surroundings are truly something to behold. Out of respect for his father (and recognizing that the Duke Golf Club was already one excellent golf course) Rees Jones retained the original routing, but completely blew up and rebuilt the tee boxes and green complexes. The result is one of the most visually stunning courses in the region.

So you aren’t ready to don the cap and gown and march down the fairway with a bunch of matriculating golfers? The Triangle does offer up a sisterhood of three high-end, daily fee courses that have garnered some recognition from national publications. Don't miss the change to play Neuse Golf Club in Clayton, Devil's Ridge in Holly Springs and Lochmere Golf Club in Cary.

See also

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Course City Rates from
Course City Rates from
Lonnie Poole Golf Course at NC State University
Tee Times
Raleigh $20
Neuse Golf Club
Tee Times
Clayton $15
Lakeshore Golf Course
Tee Times
Durham $10
Lake at Carolina Trace Country Club
Tee Times
Sanford $30
UNC Finley Golf Club
Tee Times
Chapel Hill $21
Creek at Carolina Trace Country Club
Tee Times
Sanford $30
Raleigh Golf Association
Tee Times
Raleigh $15
Wil-Mar Golf Club
Tee Times
Raleigh $11
Lochmere Golf Club
Tee Times
Cary $10
Umstead Pines Golf & Swim Club at Willowhaven Durham $24 - $42
Olde Liberty Golf & Country Club Youngsville $25 - $45
Cardinal Country Club
Tee Times
Selma $10
Falls Village Golf Course
Tee Times
Durham $20
Meadowlands/Deer Run Course at Riverwood Golf Club Clayton $28 - $35
River Golf & Country Club
Tee Times
Louisburg $10
Wildwood Green Golf Course
Tee Times
Raleigh $22
Brevofield Golf Links
Tee Times
Wake Forest $10
Reedy Creek Golf Course
Tee Times
Four Oaks $10
White Course at Keith Hills Golf Club
Tee Times
Buies Creek $20
Deer Run/Riverview Course at Riverwood Golf Club Clayton $28 - $35
Black Course at Keith Hills Golf Club
Tee Times
Buies Creek $20
Riverview/Meadowlands Course at Riverwood Golf Club Clayton $28 - $35
Orange Course at Keith Hills Golf Club
Tee Times
Buies Creek $20
River Ridge Golf Club
Tee Times
Raleigh $23
Preserve at Jordan Lake Golf Club
Tee Times
Chapel Hill $16
Hedingham Golf Club
Tee Times
Raleigh $20
Crossings at Grove Park
Tee Times
Durham $17
Eagle Ridge Golf Club Raleigh $25 - $45
Pine Hollow Golf Course Clayton $27 - $45
Paschal Golf Club
Tee Times
Wake Forest $10
Wendell Country Club
Tee Times
Wendell $10
Country Club Of Johnston County
Tee Times
Smithfield $10
Duke University Golf Club Durham $25 - $85
Occoneechee Golf Club Hillsborough $13 - $20
The Fairways at Prestonwood Country Club Cary $60
Old Chatham Golf Club Durham $50
Green Hill Country Club Louisburg $8
North Carolina State University Club Raleigh $5
Lakes at North Ridge Country Club Raleigh $72 - $82
Hasentree Club Wake Forest $72
Stockholders Nine at Raleigh Golf Association Raleigh N/A
Bentwinds Golf & Country Club Fuquay Varina $50 - $60
Twin Lakes Golf Course Chapel Hill $12
Raleigh Country Club Raleigh $69 - $89
Knight's Play Golf Center - 9-Hole Par-3 Apex $13
Garner Country Club Garner $25
Sanford Golf Course Sanford $14 - $23
Twelve Oaks Holly Springs N/A
401 Par Golf Raleigh $6 - $9
Lake Course at Governors Club Chapel Hill $86
Oaks at North Ridge Country Club Raleigh $72 - $82
Brier Creek Country Club Raleigh $85
Mountain Nine at Governors Club Chapel Hill $86
The Meadows at Prestonwood Country Club Cary $75
Hillandale Golf Course Durham $18 - $34
Knight's Play Golf Center Apex $14 - $24
Chapel Hill Country Club Chapel Hill $57 - $77
Practice Course at TPC at Wakefield Plantation Raleigh $0
Lane Tree Golf Club Goldsboro $29 - $35
Devils Ridge Golf Club Holly Springs $50 - $69
Treyburn Country Club Durham $70 - $80
MacGregor Downs Country Club Cary $70 - $90
The Highlands at Prestonwood Country Club Cary $75
The Heritage Golf Club Wake Forest $55
Croasdaile Country Club Durham $62 - $73
Hope Valley Country Club Durham $77
Carolina Country Club Raleigh $90
Meadowbrook Country Club Garner $10
Zebulon Country Club Zebulon $12 - $24
TPC Wakefield Plantation Raleigh $87
Peachtree Hills Country Club Spring Hope $20 - $29
Foothills Nine at Governors Club Chapel Hill $86
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