Course Spotlight

What Makes Carolina Golf Unique

By Abby Parsons, PGA
Published on

Ryan O'Tool of The United States plays her second shot on the 17th hole during the first round of the 2022 U.S.Women's Open at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club Getty Images

When I am asked where I grew up and I say “Pinehurst, North Carolina,” I am usually given one of two responses. First comes from a non-golf fan with: “Hmm. I don’t know where that is. Are you by the ocean or the mountains?” Well, the answer to that is neither, but I understand the question. Next answer comes from the standard golf follower and their face lights up, then immediately says: “Why are you here then?” “Here” being Whistling Straits, home of a Ryder Cup and three PGA Championships, but to many: nothing compares to the history of Pinehurst, North Carolina.
When one thinks about golf in North Carolina, most think of Pinehurst. There is more to Carolina golf than just the land of the pines. We are lucky to have the mountains, the sandhills, and the ocean all in one state. This calls for a variety of golf courses, but makes for an unforgettable golf trip. If you have not visited North Carolina to play golf, you are missing out.
The history of North Carolina golf is arguably unmatched to any other state in the US. Hosting a multitude of both men’s and women’s major championships, countless USGA events, a Ryder Cup, and a Presidents Cup approaching in September- North Carolina golf courses have witnessed it all.
How could one forget the famous pose of Payne Stewart on the 18th green at Pinehurst Number 2, or when Annika Sörenstam won her 9th major at Pine Needles, or when team USA clinched the Ryder Cup in 1951, or when Justin Thomas won his first major championship at Quail Hollow. So much golf history had, and so much more to come in the Tarheel state. 
Next up to the history books: the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles in Southern Pines, North Carolina this weekend. 
What makes Carolina golf unique is more than just the location of the courses and the history. There is the southern hospitality, the pristine conditions of just about every single golf course you step foot on, the Carolina blue skies, and the spectacular golf architecture all throughout the state. There is of course the humidity, but who cares about that when you are in a state with the motto: “Where the tee is sweet, and the tee off is sweeter.”
This state has helped shape so many golfers at different points in their careers. Arnold Palmer competed as a collegiate golfer in Winston Salem at Wake Forest University, Michele Wie won her first major at Pinehurst Number 2, Andy Ogletree went from winning the US Amateur in Pinehurst to being the low amateur at the Masters, and so much more. North Carolina is a place to make golf history, but also a place to inspire your own golf game.  
North Carolina will continue to host several major championships for many years to come, so the want for golf fans to head to the east coast will be present for a very long time.