Golf has always been hailed as the gentleman’s pastime. Over centuries, it has become a competitive sport and an enjoyable recreational activity. North Carolina is well known for its championship golf courses and beautiful landscapes that make it ideal for every skill level. From coastal courses to mountain views, here are 15 of the best golf courses in North Carolina you’ll want to explore!
Pinehurst No. 2
Pinehurst No. 2, spanning across sprawling 2,000 acres, is a world-class golf course that exudes excellence and sublime beauty. With its expansive fairways punctuated by tawny-edged fairways and native areas, this legendary course demands both precision and a touch of humility from golfers. Among its many virtues are the wide open spaces, short grass, and exceptional greens that contribute to its professional and engaging playing experience.
Renowned for its water conservation efforts, Pinehurst No. 2 was honored with the prestigious Green Star environmental award by Golf Digest. This recognition is a testament to the course’s commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship. Serving as the backdrop for numerous illustrious championships, including the U.S. Amateur Championship and future U.S. Open events, Pinehurst No. 2’s hallowed ground feeling and unforgettable inverted-saucer greens give golf enthusiasts an unparalleled experience that is truly second to none in the United States.
Location: 1 Carolina Vista Dr, Pinehurst, NC 28374
Wade Hampton Golf Club
Wade Hampton Golf Club, nestled in the mountains of Cashiers, is an exceptional private course that offers a truly engaging golfing experience. Its fairways gracefully wind through a natural valley, complemented by the awe-inspiring backdrop of flanking mountain peaks. Amidst this picturesque setting, players are challenged by the sheer white rock face of Chimney Top Rock, which surrounds the greens.
Renowned as Golf Digest’s Best New Private Course of 1987, Wade Hampton boasts 18 meticulously designed holes spanning an impressive 7,395 yards. The course showcases Fazio’s remarkable touch, with gigantic pine trees dotting the landscape, adding to the natural beauty and providing strategic obstacles. Alongside slick, undulating greens and tight fairways, there are also gurgling brooks that guard some of the holes, adding to the challenge and allure of the game. Elevations changes, although relatively modest, add an element of intrigue, while water hazards are thoughtfully placed to keep players on their toes.
In his esteemed book, Golf Course Designs, Fazio himself has acknowledged Wade Hampton Golf Club as one of his most notable creations. It is a testament to the club’s exceptional quality and captivating design.
Location: State Rte 107, Cashiers, NC 28717
Old Town Club
Located in the heart of Old Town, the Old Town Club boasts an impressive 18-hole private course that spans across a sprawling 7,037 yards. This meticulously designed course, crafted by the renowned architect Perry Maxwell, offers a unique experience unlike any other. One of the standout features of the Old Town Club is its distinctive double green, believed to be one of Maxwell’s only surviving creations of its kind. The course showcases a classic design, with a seamless connection between the seventh, eighth, ninth, 17th, and 18th holes, all linked by a single swath of fairway. With its large, sloping fairways, meandering creeks, and renowned green contours featuring Maxwell’s signature ‘Maxwell rolls,’ the Old Town Club truly stands as an architectural masterpiece.
The Old Town Club offers an unparalleled golfing experience, elevating it to new heights since its debut in 2019. Its vast, well-manicured fairways provide ample space for players, featuring very little rough except around strategically placed bunkers. This not only adds to the course’s charm but also increases the level of difficulty, demanding precision and skill from players. The Old Town Club’s greens are adorned with intricate internal contours, further challenging golfers and enhancing the overall thrill of the game. With large double greens and shared teeing areas, this course embraces a sense of camaraderie and engagement among players.
Location: 2875 Old Town Club Rd, Winston-Salem, NC 27106
Quail Hollow Club
Quail Hollow Club burst into the golfing spotlight in 2003 when it played host to the prestigious Wachovia Championship. Since then, this distinguished venue has become renowned for its true championship layout, stretching a healthy 7,442 yards from the tips. It boasts a signature hole on the 17th, a challenging one-shot wonder featuring a right-to-left sloping island-like green. Over the years, Quail Hollow Club has seen the triumphs of legendary winners like Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh, solidifying its reputation as a top-tier course. In fact, it even had the honor of hosting the esteemed PGA Championship in August 2017, showcasing its ability to provide pristine conditions for major tournaments.
When it comes to the course itself, Quail Hollow Club maintains its excellence throughout. The Bermuda rough off the fairways stands thick, presenting a formidable challenge for players. Notably, the bunkers are frequently surrounded by short grass instead of rough, adding to the strategic nature of the game. As golfers approach the home stretch, they’re captivated by the enthralling finishing five holes, regarded as the most compelling on the entire course. With its history of hosting the PGA Tour’s Wells Fargo Championship and the PGA Championship in 2017, Quail Hollow Club has established itself as a premier destination for both players and fans alike.
Location: 3700 Gleneagles Rd, Charlotte, NC 28210
Roaring Gap boasts an old-world charm and is renowned for its unique Donald Ross mountaintop layout. Situated 3,500 feet above sea level, this golf course offers stunning views from the edge of the escarpment. Aptly hailed as “the finest mountain golf course in America,” Roaring Gap spans 6,400 yards and captivates players with its tight fairways and well-designed domed greens. Its location perched atop a cliff creates a breathtaking setting that adds to the tremendous atmosphere. The course provides a challenge that is both fair and rewarding, making it an ideal destination for golf enthusiasts seeking a memorable experience.
In recent years, Roaring Gap has undergone significant enhancements to elevate the playing experience further. These include extensive tree removal, green re-shaping, and bunker restoration. These improvements have not only rejuvenated the course but also ensured that golfers can enjoy the full potential of its scenic beauty and expertly crafted design. With its unique blend of natural splendor, challenging layout, and meticulous maintenance, Roaring Gap continues to captivate golfers looking for an unforgettable round amidst unmatched surroundings.
Location: 2663 Roaring Gap Dr, Roaring Gap, NC 28627
Charlotte Country Club
Located four miles east of uptown Charlotte, in the historic Plaza-Midwood neighborhood, Charlotte Country Club stands as a premier private club in the United States, recognized among the top 20. Boasting over 7,300 yards of meticulously maintained greens, the club offers a challenging and engaging golfing experience. With its tree-lined fairways seamlessly woven across gently undulating terrain, the course presents a picturesque setting for golfers of all skill levels.
Notable features of Charlotte Country Club include its signature 4th hole, showcasing a kidney-shaped green that tests the precision and strategy of even the most seasoned golfers. As a testament to its reputation, the club has played host to numerous USGA tournaments, attracting highly skilled players from far and wide. The course’s rolling topology adds an extra layer of complexity and beauty to the game, ensuring a unique and memorable golfing experience for all who play its 18 holes. With a challenging slope rating of 146, Charlotte Country Club offers a true test of skill and an opportunity for golfers to push their limits.
Location: 2465 Mecklenburg Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205
Tobacco Road Golf Club
Tobacco Road Golf Club offers a truly memorable experience with its unique and challenging layout. With holes like the 525-yard 4th, where the fairway takes a sharp left turn around a massive sandy waste area, and the 14th, featuring a kidney-shaped lakeside green that slopes down to the water, this course is sure to engage and excite golfers of all skill levels. The course boasts eighteen greens, all converted from bent grass to Bermuda, offering elusive fairways and well-protected greens surrounded by the heaving, sandy hills of North Carolina.
Tobacco Road Golf Club combines the beauty of its vast sandy waste areas with the strategic design of its parkland-style layouts. Golfers will find plenty of quirky approach shots and challenging funhouse greens that will test their skills. The course also features numerous bunkers, often acting as jail sentences for wayward shots. However, the risk and reward of each hole are usually clear, adding an extra layer of strategy to the game. With its rolling terrain and five sets of tees to accommodate all players, Tobacco Road Golf Club is a must-play destination for golf enthusiasts seeking an unforgettable experience.
Location: 442 Tobacco Rd, Sanford, NC 27332
Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club
Located just across the street from Mid Pines, Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club offers an exceptional golfing experience that combines professional-grade facilities with a warm and engaging atmosphere. The course, masterfully reworked by Kyle Franz, showcases rolling grounds, meandering among the picturesque pines, and features impeccable Ross greens. With its incredible terrain, it is often hailed as one of the finest golfing destinations in the entire Sandhills region. Notably, Pine Needles holds the distinction of being the first venue in the nation to have been awarded four U.S. Women’s Open Championships, a testament to its impeccable quality and reputation.
As you step onto each rolling hill and approach every fairway bunker, you’ll be drawn into the challenges and delights that Pine Needles has in store for golf enthusiasts. The course, spanning 7015 yards and boasting a par of 71, ensures an engaging journey with its well-designed hazards and bunkers. Pine Needles offers a polished experience without any hint of stuffiness, providing golfers with a comfortable and professional environment to enjoy their game. With its exceptional layout and renowned greens, this renowned club continues to captivate golfers of all levels, providing a memorable and rewarding golfing experience time and time again.
Location: 1005 Midland Rd, Southern Pines, NC 28387
Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club
Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club is a true testament to pure elegance and beauty. Nestled in the picturesque landscape of Knollwood, this private retreat offers an exceptional golfing experience. The course, with its strategically designed holes that stretch out into the property’s high points, showcases a perfect blend of charm and challenge. Renowned for its classic gem status, Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club has hosted prestigious events like the 2002 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship, a testament to its exceptional quality.
With narrow tree-lined fairways and small greens, players are treated to exciting elevation swings and a handful of blind approach shots that demand precision and strategy. Each stroke taken at Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club is carefully calculated, keeping players on their toes throughout the game. Furthermore, the rolling terrain adds an element of unpredictability, making it a thrilling experience for both seasoned players and newcomers alike. Whether it’s the uphill 330-yard 4th hole or the challenge of an awkward long bunker shot, Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club offers an engaging and unforgettable golfing adventure for all enthusiasts.
Location: 1010 Midland Rd, Southern Pines, NC 28387
Grandfather Golf and Country Club
Grandfather Golf and Country Club is nestled in the heart of North Carolina’s majestic Blue Ridge Mountains in Linville, offering a truly captivating golfing experience. With two courses to choose from, including a short executive track and a championship course, golf enthusiasts are treated to sweeping greens guarded by bold bunkers and stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The championship course, routed through dense woodland with fairways generally isolated from each other, presents a challenging yet rewarding game, where the beauty of the towering trees and shimmering lake harmonize with the thrill of the sport. Along the course, players will encounter a number of small creeks, with the par four 15th hole showcasing this natural hazard at its most striking.
As a private club community, Grandfather Golf and Country Club provides an exclusive setting for members to indulge in their passion for golf amidst unrivaled natural beauty. The course is renowned for its well-maintained fairways, impeccable playing conditions, and the sense of tranquility it offers in this scenic mountain setting.
Location: 2120 NC-105, Linville, NC 28646
Forest Creek Golf Club: North Course
Forest Creek Golf Club: North Course is a prestigious golfing destination that has consistently been ranked among the Top 100 residential courses in the country. This ultra-private course offers a unique experience with its serene and secluded atmosphere. The stunning pine barrens feel, and the sandy base of the pine forest create a natural and engaging environment for golfers.
The layout of the North Course is carefully designed to provide a challenging yet enjoyable golfing experience. With its more organic, lay-of-the-land 18 holes, including several uphill challenges and semi-blind tee shots, this course offers a diverse range of strategic opportunities for golfers of all levels. The well-placed formal bunkers and the surrounding bushy wiregrass or dwarf pampas add to the visual appeal and test the skills of every golfer. Additionally, the course features a picturesque long lake that comes into play on the 15th, 16th, and 17th holes, providing an unforgettable golfing experience. The North Course also boasts sprawling sandy waste areas and rugged bunkers, adding to the aesthetic appeal and the challenge of the course.
Location: 200 Meyer Farm Dr, Pinehurst, NC 28374
The Country Club of North Carolina
The Country Club of North Carolina holds an esteemed position among the Top 100 Country Clubs in America, boasting a rich history as the oldest gated golf community in the Sandhills. Originating from the collaboration of 13 different landowners, the club began with an expansive 1,200-acre property of rolling hills. Today, this remarkable grounds has expanded to a sprawling 2,000 acres, featuring over 500 homesites and captivating lakes spanning one hundred acres. The club is a true haven for golf enthusiasts, offering the renowned Dogwood Course and Cardinal Course.
The Dogwood Course, with its two largest water features within the club, has proudly hosted numerous local, state, and national tournaments. Meanwhile, the Cardinal Course holds an impressive distinction, ranking 7th in the Top Courses of the Sandhills Region and 16th in the Top 100 Courses of North Carolina. Situated in the heart of the prestigious golf mecca of the North Carolina Sandhills, the club benefits from the captivating natural terrain and beauty that characterizes the region. Its convenient location attracts golfers from across the state, bridging a connection for ninety percent of North Carolina’s population within a 100-mile radius.
Location: 1600 Morganton Rd, Pinehurst, NC 28374
Mountaintop Golf and Lake Club
Mountaintop Golf and Lake Club is a private mountain retreat that is undeniably adorned with stunning natural beauty. Nestled at the heart of the historic Highlands-Cashiers Plateau, this oasis boasts a collection of 240 estate lots surrounded by majestic hardwoods, natural springs, and scenic vistas.
The centerpiece of this exclusive sanctuary is the mountain lodge-inspired clubhouse, which serves as the hub of social and recreational activities. With its engaging ambiance, it offers a perfect gathering spot for members to connect and indulge in various pursuits. Additionally, the Tom Fazio-designed golf course at Mountaintop impeccably captures the charm and heritage of the Carolina region. Known for its deftly balanced combination of challenge and strategy, the course provides an exceptional golfing experience while maintaining a remarkable level of playability.
Location: 1638 N High Mountain Dr, Cashiers, NC 28717
Elk River Club
Elk River Club, designed by Jack Nicklaus, proudly stands as the first of its kind in the Tar Heel State. The river gracefully winds its way across the property, adding a touch of natural beauty to the landscape. Nestled on the property’s south side, the course offers a dramatic climb and descent, providing golfers with a challenging yet exhilarating experience. As you navigate through the course, you’ll encounter the “rolling hills” near the mount’s base, offering a panoramic view of the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains.
One of the distinguishing features of Elk River Club is the adjacent flat land, offering a unique contrast to the undulating terrain. The course also boasts strategic plantings on two specific holes strategically placed to shield pilots from the notorious slice. This attention to detail not only enhances the golfing experience but also ensures the utmost safety on the course. With countless risk-reward options and the captivating beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains as the backdrop, Elk River Club is a golfer’s paradise, offering a one-of-a-kind experience that both challenges and mesmerizes players of all levels.
Location: 1000 ClubHouse Dr, Banner Elk, NC 28604
Sedgefield Country Club
Sedgefield Country Club, designed by the legendary Donald Ross, has a rich history as the longtime host of the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship. Nestled in a rolling, wooded landscape, the course offers both beauty and challenge. Its greens, true to Ross’s signature style, feature prominent slopes that demand players to carefully position themselves below the hole. With small, deep bunkers strategically placed around the green complexes, Sedgefield tests the precision and shot-making skills of even the most skilled golfers.
Every green complex on the course is crowned, or raised from the fairway, contributing to the tricky undulations that make Sedgefield’s greens absolutely stunning. This design feature challenges golfers to accurately read the greens and adjust their putting accordingly. As one of the only two Ross-designed courses currently hosting a regular event on the PGA Tour, Sedgefield truly showcases the architect’s genius and leaves players in awe of its unique character.
Location: 3201 Forsyth Dr, Greensboro, NC 27407
From the championship tees of Pinehurst No. 2 to the picturesque fairways of Linville Golf Club, North Carolina boasts some truly remarkable golf courses. With so many to choose from, you’re sure to find one that offers the perfect blend of challenge and fun. So pack your clubs, secure a tee time, and set out to discover why North Carolina is such a great golfing destination.