We Know: Six Best Golf Courses in North Carolina

The golf courses of North Carolina ranks 11th in the nation. Some of North Carolina's golf resorts hail back to the turn of the century, and Pinehurst Resort, in particular, claims three of the state's top ranked courses as determined in Golf Digest. Be sure to check out the following six courses while visiting North Carolina:

1. Pinehurst Resort - Village of Pinehurst, North Carolina.

Rated number one in the state by Golf Digest, Pinehurst's history and elegance are the selling points of this resort. Course #2 was the site of the 2005 U.S. Open, where Ben Hogan won his first professional golf tournament, and where Payne Stewart made his dramatic put to win the 1999 U.S. Open. Pinehurst features eight world-class courses, mixing old (the first was built in 1898) and new (the Centennial Course opened in 1996).

  • For resort guests only.
  • Location: 1 Carolina Vista Drive, Village of Pinehurst, NC; 910.235.8587 or 800.ITS.GOLF
  • Features and amenities: pro shop, driving range with grass tees, putting greens, sand and chip areas, teaching pros, restaurant, snack bar, and full service bar. Pinehurst also boasts the Golf Advantage School, a Top 25 Golf Instruction school.
  • Resort features: luxury spa, family recreation, tennis.
  • Fees vary and depend on the time of year.
    • $388 per night for single occupancy; $309 per night for double occupancy. Includes golfing on all courses except for Course #2.
    • $150 extra to play Course #2.

2. Tobacco Road Golf Club.

The rugged beauty of Tobacco Road Golf Club may be the complete opposite of the pristine Pinehurst, but the pay-off is equally rewarding. More suitable for experienced players, Tobacco Road has some of the biggest greens, with some measuring 90 yards wide. This is one of the last courses designed by Michael Strantz, famous for the Caledonia Golf and Fish Club in South Carolina.

  • Public course.
  • Location: 442 Tobacco Road, Sanford, NC; 919.775.1940 or 877.284.3762
  • Features and amenities: pro shop, driving range, sand and chipping area, golf lessons, clubhouse with a full service snack bar, restaurant and full service bar.
  • Fees (include golf cart):
    • Weekdays range from $49 (Dec - Feb) to $96 (Mar - May).
    • Weekends range from $59 (Dec - Feb) to $124 (Mar - May).

3. Wade Hampton Golf Course - Cashiers, North Carolina.

Nestled in the mountains, the Wade Hampton Course consists of narrow fairways with holes that have a tendency to play downhill. The course is located in a private residential community and is open seasonally from April 15 until November 1.

  • Private course.
  • Location: Highway 107 South, Cashiers, NC; 828.743.5950
  • Features and amenities: driving range (can hit balls from grass and mats), putting green, sand and chipping area, teaching pros, restaurants, snack bar, full service bar, pro shop, locker rooms, and grill.
  • Fees:
    • Golf memberships: $45,000.
    • Annual dues: $5,500.

4. Rivers Edge Golf Club - Shallotte, North Carolina.

The Arnold Palmer designed course features tree-lined fairways that runs over marshlands, rivers, and freshwater lakes, following the bends of the Shallotte River below. Rivers Edge holds a Top 10 ranking from GolfWeek Magazine. The course is open all year long.

  • Public golf course.
  • Location: 2000 Arnold Palmer Drive, Shallotte, NC; 877.748.3718 or 910.755.3434
  • Features and amenities: driving rage (hitting from the grass), chipping area, clubhouse with pro shop, lockers, restaurants, beverage cart, snack bar, and full service bar.
  • Fees:
    • Regular rates vary from $30 (off peak) to $90 (peak).
    • Twilight rates vary from $25 (off peak) to $75 (peak).

5. Grandfather Golf and Country Club - Linville, North Carolina.

Hilly and flat fairways, an abundance of trees and waterways propelled the grading of this course to number three on Golf Digest's list of best courses in the state. This exclusive club consists of two courses, the Grandfather Course and the Grandfather Mountain Course, each containing 18 holes of regulation golf and 18 holes of executive golf. Grandfather Golf and Country Club opens seasonally from May 1 until October 31.

  • Private course; guests may accompany members only.
  • Location: Highway 105, Linville, NC; 828.898.4531
  • Features and amenities: driving range, putting green, sand and chipping areas, golf instruction, practice bunker, snack bar, restaurant, beverage cart, and full service bar.
  • Fees (do not include golf cart, which is extra):
    • 18 holes - $65; 9 holes - $37.50, members only.
    • Call for membership rates.

6. Carolina National Golf Club - Bolivia, North Carolina.

Designed by Fred Couples, this coastal course uses the natural wetlands to its full capacity, holding the distinction of being a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. Located on Winding River Plantation, the course features 27 holes of championship golf over 3 nines: Egret, Heron, and Ibis, named after the birds that frequent the area.

  • Semi-private course.
  • Location: 1643 Goley Hewett Road SE, Bolivia, NC; 910.755.5200 or 888.200.6455
  • Features and amenities: spikeless shoes, 320-yard driving range with grass tees, putting green, sand and chipping areas, short practice game with 14 square feet, practice bunker, pro shop, golf instruction, clubhouse with restaurant, grill, and full-service bar.
  • Fees include golf cart:
    • Regular rates: $60 (off peak) to $87 (peak).
    • Afternoon rates: $50 (off peak).

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