Course Spotlight

North Carolina’s Incredible Golf Courses

By Brendon Elliott, PGA
Published on
A view from the 18th hole of Quail Hollow Club on September 30, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Gary Kellner/PGA of America)

A view from the 18th hole of Quail Hollow Club on September 30, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Gary Kellner/PGA of America)

The famed Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, is on full display this week for the Presidents Cup. It's one the Tarheel State's many exceptional golf courses. North Carolina boasts some of the best golf courses in the United States, and some may argue, some of the best courses in the world.
The courses around the Village of Pinehurst, NC, are surely on anyone’s list to set up some fun tee times, but there are countless other great public access courses in the Tarheel State that should be included on your must-play list.
While there are far too many amazing courses in NC to feature in this quick glance, here is a sampling of can't-miss tracks:
Pinehurst Golf Resort
Pinehurst Resort boasts 9 world-class public-access golf courses as well as the Cradle, a 9-hole short course designed for golfers of all ages and abilities. 
Some of the highlights of Pinehurst Resort include…
No. 2 - This unbelievable course is without question the centerpiece of the resort — a Donald Ross layout at his finest. Known for its innovative green complexes, No. 2 takes advantage of the rugged, sandy landscape to create a perfect test for players. It’s no wonder that No. 2 has hosted more championships than any other course in America with its incredible layout and idyllic setting. It's really that good.
No. 4 - No. 4 makes the most of North Carolina's famed sandhills with Gil Hanse using the natural topography and landscapes like only he can. With its impressive rolling topography, stimulating bunkering and dramatic vistas, The 4 is an absolutely amazing challenge that should always be on your Tarheel Tee Time list.
No. 9 - Known for its difficult layout, No. 9 is a Jack Nicklaus signature design that showcases all the classic Nicklaus features like wide, winding fairways, compelling water features and exceptional undulated green complexes. It's definitely a must play.
The Cradle - Perfect for beginners and the kiddos but with just enough teeth to be fun for seasoned golfers as well, the Cradle is an unique short course designed by renowned architect Gil Hanse to be enjoyable for the whole family. Simply put, it's 789 yards of flat-out fun golf.
Tobacco Road Golf Club
Located just northeast of the Pinehurst Resort, Tobacco Road is another must play. Featuring a brilliant layout on an unique piece of land, Tobacco Road is as exciting to play as it is stunning. Designer Mike Stranz's artful routing through the Carolina landscape takes the course to the next level. Tobacco Road that has a reputation for being one of the toughest tracks in NC but it's still a very fair, fun test if played from the correct tees. 
Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club
The Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club is home to the unbelievable Pine Needles Golf Course, a Donald Ross gem that was first opened in 1927. The course, which was restored by Kyle Franz in 2017, has received countless awards over the years. The 7,000-plus-yard layout captures the native terrain beautifully and provides players with an unforgettable experience from tee to green. Adding to Pine Needles Lodge and Club's appeal is “The Loop”, a fun four-hole practice course that wraps around the historic driving range.
Bryan Park - Champions Course
One of North Carolina’s iconic public golf courses, the Champions Course at Bryan Park is known for its scenic lakeside location, expansive bunkering and exciting layout. This Rees Jones masterpiece is sure to challenge & excite all types of players. With its insightful layout artfully routed through the stunning rolling terrain, the Champions course is an unique treat.
Duke University Golf Club
An absolute must visit for any golf adventurer heading to North Carolina, Duke University Golf Club originally was designed by famed architect Robert Trent Jones. After years of enjoyable play, Duke University Golf Club was restored by Jones' son Rees in 1993. It's such a special spot that Jones himself had this to say about this gem, “…the golf holes were on the ground, just laying there, waiting to be grassed over.” 
With more than 600 golf courses in NC, it'd would take years for a golfer to play them all but these courses are a few must-play tracks that dot this amazing golf state. Add on the interesting fact that the famed Donald Ross has more than fifty courses in North Carolina — meaning around 10% of the state's golf courses were touched by the acclaimed designer —and it's clear that all golfers need to go tee it up in beautiful North Carolina.