The Dream 18: Tee Up At NC's Best Golf Holes
Narrowing down the Dream 18 golf holes in North Carolina is like a diner trying to choose among the delectable dessert choices on the waiter's tray at a fine restaurant. It is a next-to-impossible task. You want them all. You think you need them all. But you don't have room for them all.
North Carolina is blessed with an abundance of exceptional golf courses – more than 550 – and a host of memorable golf holes. There are awe-inspiring holes with precipitous elevation changes and panoramic vistas in the state's mountains. On the coast, there are photogenic and challenging holes that wind through maritime forests and across saltwater lagoons against stunning backdrops of the Atlantic Ocean. In between, in North Carolina's piedmont region, there are classic golf holes by the game's most renowned architects that have tested the world's best golfers in the heat of battle for major championships.
Picking the best of those holes is an ambitious (if not calamitous) undertaking. Will there be disagreement on the selections? You betcha. Will there be debate? Darn right.
Yet, we have forged ahead and picked a list of 18 holes in North Carolina's three distinct regions – all of them premier choices that golfers should consider on the state's fully loaded plate of tempting golf holes.
This best-of list is derived from an informal polling of some of the state's leading amateur players, media members, golf industry professionals, and business and tourism leaders.
One of the dreams of every weekend golfer is to be able to play the same courses – the very same holes – that the world's best professionals play during tournaments.
North Carolina's Pinehurst No. 2 provides golfers the chance to play a course that has twice hosted the U.S. Open Championship. The esteemed Donald Rosslayout will host a third tournament in 2014. No true golf fan can forget Payne Stewart's unbridled excitement when he captured the title there in 1999.
The fifth hole on Pinehurst No. 2, a 476-yard par 4, was an overwhelming favorite among the state's top holes. "I love this hole not just because it lays so beautifully on the land, but once you walk off the green you are at the confluence of at least five holes, perhaps the heart of this greatest of golf courses in North Carolina," says Dr. Henry Lister, a member of the North Carolina Golf Panel, which is known as the most authoritative statewide source of golf course rankings. "Take a 360-degree look around you, listen to the train whistle blow, the church bells ring and the wind whisper through the Longleaf pines, and be witness to so much great golf history, " he adds.
North Carolina's other top golf holes tend to elicit the same poetic passion. You want them all. You think you need them all. And, if you make the time, you can have them all.
The Dream 18 Public and Resort Golf Holes
No. 1 – Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, Southern Pines
No. 2 – Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa, Asheville
No. 3 – Linville Golf Club, Linville
No. 4 – Championship Course at Tanglewood Park, Clemmons
No. 5 – Pinehurst No. 2, Pinehurst
No. 6 – Tobacco Road Golf Club, Sanford
No. 7 – Lake Toxaway Country Club, Lake Toxaway
No. 8 – High Hampton Inn & Country Club, Cashiers
No. 9 – Rivers Edge Golf Club, Shallotte
No. 10 – Boone Golf Club, Boone
No. 11 – Tiger's Eye Golf Club at Ocean Ridge Plantation, Ocean Isle
No. 12 – The Reserve Club at St. James Plantation, Southport
No. 13 – Jones Course at Sea Trail, Sunset Beach
No. 14 – Pinehurst No. 4, Pinehurst
No. 15 – Nags Head Golf Links, Nags Head
No. 16 – Mid Pines Inn & Golf Club, Southern Pines
No. 17 – UNC Finley Golf Course, Chapel Hill
No. 18 – The Golf Club at Ballantyne, Charlotte
By Patrick Jones
By Patrick Jones
added: December 22, 2010
updated: January 3, 2011