best golf courses in North Carolina
Pinehurst has some of the best golf courses in North Carolina. Credit: Pinehurst

North Carolina is a big golfing destination. There are all sorts of unique courses thanks to the rolling hills naturally found throughout the state. However, these 12 golf courses are the best of the best and offer unique challenges and scenery you won’t get anywhere else.

Golf CourseGreen FeeBook
Pinehurst #2$400Book
Wade Hampton Golf$150Book
Old Town$100Book
Pinehurst #4$280Book
Diamond Creek$125Book
Pine Needles$175-$295Book
Quail Hollow$107-$132Book
Mid Pines$95-$235Book
Roaring Gap$85-$95Book
Charlotte Country Club$100-$130Book
Champions Course at Bryan Park$40-$59Book
Mountaintop Golf$200Book

1. Pinehurst #2 at Pinehurst

Pinehurst #2
Pinehurst #2. Credit: Pinehurst

Access: Only open for members or resort guests
Site: pinehurst.com
Green Fee: $400
Stay and Play Package: Stay and play packages are available

Pinehurst #2 isn’t only the best course at Pinehurst, but it’s one of the best golf courses in the US. It’s such an amazing course that it has the honor of being the site of the most single golf championships than any other course in the United States. It also was named the first-ever U.S. Open Anchor Site

The course was designed by Donald Ross in 1907. It was considered his masterpiece and still holds that title today. It’s considered a difficult course, especially hole number 2. The other holes offer similar challenges to force you to play your best at every hole.

Check out our list of fantastic courses in Pinehurst to find out more.

2. Wade Hampton Golf Club, Cashiers

Wade Hampton Golf Club
Credit: Wade Hampton Golf Club

Access: Private
Site: wadehamptongc.com
Green Fee: $150
Stay and Play Package: No stay and play packages are available

Also known as the Tom Fazio course, the course is considered the best residential golf course in America. This easily puts it at the top of the list of best golf courses in North Carolina. The course offers a challenge for those wanting to test their skills. It also caters to the average user and even beginners with different tee options.

Unfortunately, it’s rather hard to get into this golf course. It’s a membership-only course and memberships are only available via invitation. Members are allowed to bring guests, but it’s rare to find someone willing to bring in a random guest.

3. Old Town, Winston-Salem

Old Town
Credit: Old Town

Access: Private
Site: oldtownclub.org
Green Fee: $100
Stay and Play Package: No stay and play packages are available

The course was designed by Perry Maxwell and offers a challenge for anyone. The course was built in 1938 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on the R.J. Reynolds. The course was built just before WWII, right at the end of the Golden Age of Architecture.

The Old Town course features classic Maxwell hills while still offering an easy walk. Not only are there the standard North Carolina hills but the course is at a bit of a slope. This means that almost every hole has either a slant downwards or upwards that needs a keen eye to hit just right.

4. Pinehurst #4 at Pinehurst

Pinehurst #4
Pinehurst #4. Credit: Pinehurst

Access: Only open to members and resort guests
Site: pinehurst.com
Green Fee: $280
Stay and Play Package: Stay and play packages are available

Course #4 was created by Donald Ross in 1919. It’s undergone a few redesigns, but the most recent renovation came from Gil Hanse in 2018. Courses #2 and #4 aren’t the only courses worth visiting at Pinehurst. All of their courses are worth giving a shot, so it’s best to make a whole trip out of it.

Thankfully, Pinehurst also offers an amazing stay and play package to let you make the most of your trip. To learn more about other packages in the state, check out our list of the best stay and play golf packages in North Carolina.

5. Diamond Creek, Banner Elk

Diamond Creek golf
Diamond Creek. Credit: Friedkin

Access: Private
Site: friedkin.com
Green Fee: $125
Stay and Play Package: No stay and play packages are available

A lot of effort went into the Diamond Creek golf course. Tom Fazio designed the course. It was only finished in 2003. Unlike many more modern golf courses that aim to keep with the natural slope of the area, the Diamond Creek Golf Club required the moving of mountains to create the perfect design that Fazio imagined.

However, moving around the mountains made for an interesting course. Each hole offers a stunning mountain view. The walk is difficult but there’s also the option to take a golf course to make the trek easier. The carts aren’t able to make this course any easier to play though, so you should bring your A-game.

6.  Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club, Pinehurst

Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club
Credit: Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club

Access: Open to the public
Site: pineneedleslodge.com
Green Fee: $175-$295
Stay and Play Package: Stay and play packages are available

Pine Needles Golf Course is one of the top courses in North Carolina. It’s backed by its awards from the Women’s Open Championships and Golfweek. The course was originally designed in 1927 by Donald Ross and restored in 2017 by Kyle Franz in stunning detail.

The course has a lot of complexity. The first hole causes many to lower their guard with a fairly easy par. After that, the course takes you for a ride. It’s more important than most courses to be in the perfect spot. With lots of collection areas, raised greens, and undulations, the course will take you for a ride when you least expect it.

7. Quail Hollow, Charlotte

Quail Hollow
Credit: Quail Hollow

Access: Semi-private
Site: quailhollowclub.com
Green Fee: $107-$132
Stay and Play Package: No stay and play packages are available

Quail Hollow provides rolling fairways, ample bunkers, and complex greens. George Cobb designed the course in 1961. Since then, it’s undergone a few improvements. Some of the redesigns and modifications came from other famous architects, including Arnold Palmer and Tom Fazio.

Unfortunately, it’s not easy to play at Quail Hollow unless you’re able to get in via a tournament. The country club is members-only, and someone is only allowed to join with member recommendations. This means you can’t even apply for a membership. Instead, you have to get chummy with one of the current people there and hope they recommend you.

8. Mid Pines, Southern Pines

Mid Pines
Credit: Mid Pines

Access: Open to the public
Site: midpinesinn.com
Green Fee: $95-$235
Stay and Play Package: Stay and play packages are available

In a rare turn of events, the Mid Pines Golf Course has managed to keep its natural design. Created by Donald Ross in 1921, it hasn’t undergone any remodels or modifications since then. It was restored once by Kyle Franz with impeccable detail to keep its design perfectly accurate. If you’re into the classic courses, then Mid Pines isn’t one you want to miss.

This isn’t a course to challenge your skills. Instead, it’s meant to offer a place for friendly competition among fellow golf enthusiasts. That hasn’t stopped some tournaments from happening in the course, including the USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship. However, if you’re looking for something more laid back, then Mid Pines is the place to play.

9. Roaring Gap Golf, Roaring Gap

Roaring Gap
Credit: Roaring Gap

Access: Private
Site: roaringgapclub.com
Green Fee: $85-$95
Stay and Play Package: No stay and play packages are available

Opened in 1925, the Roaring Gap Golf Course by Donald Ross is a great course to give a chance. When the course first opened, people traveled from hundreds of miles around to try out the course. The course and surrounding area were planned out to be a huge resort in order to compete with bigger city golf courses like those in Boston and Chicago. Unfortunately, the growth was halted by the Great Depression.

The lack of initial space and lodging didn’t ruin the course itself, however. It’s a bit of a challenging course. This is especially true for those who have played on mostly flat courses until now. Some holes feature plateaus so if your ball doesn’t land just right, it falls off of the course into challenging hazards below.

10. Charlotte Country Club, Charlotte

Charlotte Country Club
Credit: Charlotte Country Club

Access: Private
Site: charlottecountryclub.org
Green Fee: $100-$130
Stay and Play Package: No stay and play packages are available

Listed as one of the top 20 private clubs in the United States, the Charlotte Country Club isn’t a course to be overlooked. The course was designed by Donald Ross, and restored by Ron Prichard. The club itself first opened in 1910.

This course offers a challenge, but not through complex designs. It’s a simple course that uses the natural curves and hills known in North Carolina to its advantage. Everything about this course is rather simple. However, it’s done exceptionally well and is beautiful and challenging in its simplicity.

11. Champions Course at Bryan Park

Champion Course at Bryan Park
Champion Course. Credit: Bryan Park

Access: Open to the public
Site: bryanpark.com
Green Fee: $40-$59
Stay and Play Package: No stay and play packages are available

This championship course doesn’t offer much hand-holding. There are forced carries over the water, tree-lined fairways, and various ranges of elevation changes. Despite the challenges, it’s really a good course for all ability levels thanks to various tee options at each hole. There are Gold, Red, Blue, and White tees as well as hybrid tee boxes.

There’s a mix of all sorts of scenery such as waterfront property, large natural bunkers, and beautiful trees. The greens are in great condition throughout the year. They are firm and smooth, which makes the course fun to play on. Each hole on the course offers a different length and playstyle to let you put all of your skills to the test.

12. Mountaintop Golf & Lake Club, Cashiers

Mountaintop Golf & Lake Club
Credit: Mountaintop Golf & Lake Club

Access: Private
Site: mountaintopgolfclub.com
Green Fee: $200
Stay and Play Package: No stay and play packages are available

The Mountaintop Golf & Lake Club has some fairly strict rules that make it a challenge to play at. Despite the struggle to try your hand at the course, it’s well worth the fight. The course was designed by Tom Fazio and offers a variety of beautiful views.

Not only do you get the challenging and unique design that comes with any Tom Fazio course, but you also get to look at towering hardwoods, natural springs, and wide-open views whenever you’re playing. Even if you don’t mind playing in bad weather, you’ll want to make sure your first visit here is on a clear day. These views aren’t ones you want to miss out on when visiting.

FAQS

Is There a Way to Keep Your Golf Equipment Safe When Traveling?

The best way to keep your equipment safe whenever you fly from one destination to another is by using a golf travel bag. Golf travel bags protect your clubs and your actual golfing bag. The bag goes over all of your equipment and helps to protect your clubs from rough handling during transportation and damage from other luggage.

Where Does the PGA Play in North Carolina?

The PGA tournament played in North Carolina is the Wells Fargo Championship. Quail Hollow, located in Charlotte, North Carolina, has hosted the tournament since 2003.

Is Pinehurst #2 Open to the Public?

While some of Pinehurst’s courses are open to the public, many of them are for members or resort guests only. Such is the case with Pinehurst #2. Additionally, #4, #6, #7, #8, and #9 are only open to members or resort guests. If you want to play a Pinehurst course without being a member or booking a stay at the resort, courses #1, #3, and #5 are open to anyone.

How Many Golf Courses Does North Carolina Have?

North Carolina has upwards of 500 golf courses to choose from. While the exact number is a little vague, depending on what people classify as a proper golf course, it’s thought that there are about 549 courses to choose from.

Does Tiger Woods Have a Golf Course in North Carolina?

There were plans for Tiger Woods to build a golf course in North Carolina in 2007. Unfortunately, it was put on the shelf with no future plans for the course to be finished as of 2018. Since then, there’s been no word of the golf course ever finishing. The course should have been built at The Cliffs at High Carolina.

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