Playing Golf In The Piedmont
North Carolina's Dream 18 For Women
What makes a course great for women is always rather subjective. We've tried to focus on courses that offer challenging layouts from the women's tees and not just shorter distance on the drive. These are courses that have put some thought into the variety of their layout options for women. They also retain the same challenges without putting undue burden on the female golfer. We also consider amenities and aesthetics including female pro shops, clinics for women and even the quality of the clubhouse. The courses are listed in alphabetic order and are not ranked or rated other than having made the list.
1. Bald Head Island Club, Bald Head Island
Bald Head Island Club's 18-hole championship golf course winds its way over dunes, around lagoons, along the ocean, and through a maritime forest. Many of the holes are bordered by the still lively natural habitats of herons, egrets, ibises, foxes and alligators. Awarded a coveted 3.5 stars from Golf Digest's Places to Play, the Bald Head Island Club course is known to play on several levels, and average golfers find is very playable from the forward tees.
2. Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge, Charlotte
Selected as a "Great Golf Resort of the World" by PGA Magazine, Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge is also home to a top golf course for women. The 4.5-star golf course offers many sets of tees to choose from; golfers can play with a forward set at as little as 4,700 yards, so it is wonderful for beginners to all skill levels. The challenging but fair golf course enables golfers to customize their own golf experience, offering private club-like amenities such as the renowned Dana Rader School of Golf, consistently ranked as Top 25 Schools in America by Golf Magazine. Rader, named a Top 100 instructor by Golf Magazine, is the school founder and LPGA Master Professional. She is ranked by Golf Digest Woman as one of the top teachers in the nation for women.
3. Boone Golf Club, Boone
This is a scenic course with a wonderful design by Elis Maples. The course is challenging, but it is certainly a "fair" course (68.6 rating, 5,096 yards for women) and the maintenance and service are second to none. Centrally located to the High Country, on the town limit of Boone and near Blowing Rock, the four-star course offers easy access to other activities in the region, such as the Blue Ridge Parkway, outdoor recreation and adventure, premier theater performances and art exhibits, as well as fine dining venues and resort lodging.
4. Bryan Park Golf & Enrichment Center, Greensboro
With two four-star courses, Bryan Park is listed among the best courses for women by Golf Digest Woman. Bryan Park hosts several women's tournaments including the annual Bryan National Collegiate Golf Tournament, the first women's major of the season. The course also conveniently places tee signage, hole layout maps and ball washers at the women's tees. Every Wednesday is Ladies Day with special rates.
5. The Cape Golf & Racquet Club, Wilmington
This Gene Hamm course captures the natural beauty of the coastal terrain and 24 lakes and ponds as the course meanders through tall pines and natural marshlands. The Cape has four sets of tees and the front one isn't just an afterthought. Teaching Pros include Helen Smith, an LPGA Class A Teaching Professional and Lifetime Member. Ms. Smith brings all of her skill and expertise to teaching not only women and children but anyone wanting the finesse that comes from competing as a pro.
6. The Golf Club at Chapel Ridge, Pittsboro
Chapel Ridge opened in April 2006 and has drawn rave reviews from women golfers. It is noted as a golf course that is very fair for the higher handicap and at the same time very challenging for the better player. Nestles in the foothills is also scored well for its undulating course and beautiful views. Chapel Ridge frequently hosts ladies clinics and women's groups.
7. Crooked Creek and Golf Club, Fuquay-Varina
Crooked Creek offers a great playing experience for women with preferred rates every day. Multiple tee boxes allow players of all abilities to enjoy their round, and course markings plus yardages are well defined and easy to locate. One of the most unique layouts in the Raleigh-Durham-RTP area, Crooked Creek features a stunning routing with dramatic 130-foot elevation changes. Crooked Creek is also the home course for the Triangle Chapter of the Executive Women's Golf Association.
8. The Grove Park Inn, Asheville
The course is yet another designed by the immortal Donald Ross. It is tough but fair; the picturesque views of Asheville's skyline, the shadows of Sunset Mountain and the unique architecture of the Inn make it worth the trouble. It plays very short from the forward tees, which is conducive to low scores on this very scenic tract nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Even if you have a rough day on the course you can make it up at the Gove Park Inn's state-of-the-art spa.
9. Jefferson Landing, Jefferson
Jefferson Landing is hailed as a top-rated golf course in the Southeast for men and women receiving 4.5 stars. The course's playability offers multiple sets of tees and rates both sets, and its yardages fall into the ranges of 5,051 and 5,751. The course has also gone through extensive renovations, which caught the eye of Travel + Leisure Golf as one of America's Top 100 Golf Communities two years in a row. Nestle between the New River and Mount Jefferson State Park in the Blue Ridge mountains, the course gets bonus points for the beautiful scenery.
10. Linville Golf Club, Linville
Designed by Donald J. Ross, the Linville golf course opened in 1928. It is one of the most spectacular courses in the state and is a great challenge for women golfers of all levels. Golf Digest has placed it 10th among the "Top 75 Affordable Golf Courses" and Golf Magazine has ranked it 25th in the category of the "Top 100 Course you can play in the U.S."
11. Magnolia Greens Golf Plantation, Leland
Magnolia Greens Golf Plantation has five sets of tees including red tees for "standard" women's play, and gold tees rated for longer women's play. They have female staff to conduct women's leagues throughout the summer. Magnolia Greens offers locked, separate restrooms on the course that are air conditioned and heated. Another plus is most of the holes allow golfers to move the ball on land to greens with very few forced carries.
12. Mountain Glen Golf Club, Newland
This facility features spectacular views of the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains just 30 minutes from Boone. Every hole presents the golfer with awe-inspiring beauty. Mountain Glen presents a challenging round of golf on a scenic course in a friendly atmosphere. The course is a great value and includes lush fairways and smooth greens for an enjoyable round of golf.
13. Pinehurst No. 8, Village of Pinehurst
Listed as a top women's golf course by Golf Digest Woman, No. 8's set up is fair and challenging layout for ladies with both low and high handicaps. The ladies tees were strategically placed to offer the same golfing experience as the men. The course features strong shot values for women; no forced carries, no out of bounds, and the overall length is not overly challenging. The greens are large with lots of room to roll the ball. The course has held several women's events ranging from the LPGA Club Professionals Championship to the women's North and South Championship. Pinehurst also features a series of women only schools at the Pinehurst Golf Academy and is also listed by Golf for Women as one of the best places for instruction.
14. Pine Needles, Southern Pines
Pine Needles ranked as the #2 course in the nation for women according to Golf Digest Woman, it also hosted the U.S. Women's Open in June 2007 for the third time. It is the home course of LPGA charter member Peggy Kirk Bell and is widely regarded by every golf publication as one of the finest courses in the Carolinas. Bell also pioneered the Golfari and golf instruction for women.
15. The Preserve at Jordan Lake Golf Club, Chapel Hill
A Davis Love II signature course, the Preserve has been designated as an Audubon International Certified Sanctuary Golf Course. The Preserve's goal is to provide the best golfing experience possible while maintaining a refuge for wildlife in a healthy environment. The course's director of instruction is Dona Lerner, a Class A Member LPGA Teaching & Club Professionals. The course also offers three tee box options for women with rating ranging from 72.6 to 76.8.
16. Sea Scape Golf Links, Kitty Hawk
Sea Scape Golf Links club offers two sets of tees for women: The shorter of the two measures 4,733 yards for the beginner to moderate skill level, while the longer layout measures 5,377 yards to challenge the most skillful of female players. The course ratings respectively are 69.6 and 72.2 so as to encompass golfers of all abilities. The female members of the staff along with the owner's wife, Sue Sullivan, take an active roll in providing those little extra splashes of color on the course through a wide array of flowerbeds that are really eye-catching. The true beauty of the golf course lies in its natural surroundings of rolling fairways, drastic elevation changes, several views of the Atlantic, and several holes that wind through the maritime forests.
17. Sea Trail Resort & Convention Center, Sunset Beach
Sea Trail Golf Resort offers three courses of distinction by top architects Rees Jones, Dan Maples and Willard Byrd. All three courses offer spectacular views and wind through tall pine forests along the shores of pristine lakes and creeks. The courses offer multiple tees so women can chose the challenge and length they wish to play. On site accommodations are villas in a beautiful park like setting perfect for safe walking and jogging. Sea Trail is an ideal location for women's groups looking for memorable golf vacations.
18. Star Hill Golf Club, Cape Carteret
Star Hill Golf Club is a semi-private facility offering 27 holes. From the regular ladies tees there are no forced carries on any tee shot, greatly enhancing pace of play. For the more skilled ladies, the men's senior tees offer a greater challenge. The superior drainage of the sandy soil allows carts on the fairways when most other courses must restrict carts to paths. The club has both a Ladies Golf Association and a Nine-Hole LGA. The club lounge is often occupied by the ladies groups for socials and bridge. In addition to an annual Pro-Lady Tournament, Star Hill hosts two major ladies golf association outings from the Downeast WGA and the Crystal Coast WGA.
added: January 17, 2011
updated: January 19, 2011