Birdies and Eagles: Play Audubon International-Certified Golf Courses

In their pursuit of birdies and eagles, golfers can play North Carolina courses that are committed to protecting the habitats of resident and migratory birds. Here’s a look at courses certified by Audubon International’s Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf and its Signature and Classic Sanctuary Programs. All of these courses are open to the public.

1 Lonnie Poole Golf Course

Aerial of green golf course surrounded by trees and Raleigh skyline in distance
photo credit: Lonnie Poole Golf Course

1 Lonnie Poole Golf Course

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Arnold Palmer Design took cues from nature with NC State University’s 250-acre course. Elevation changes dictated the routing of play around large buffer areas that were left in place to protect streams and wetlands. Keep your ears open for dozens of songbirds including Eastern bluebirds, summer tanager, indigo bunting, Eastern towhee and American goldfinch. Palmer’s only collegiate course is part of the Audubon International’s Signature and Classic Program.

2 Pinehurst No. 8

Aerial view of No. 8 at Pinehurst Resort with sand bunkers, cart path, greens and pond

2 Pinehurst No. 8

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The endangered red-cockaded woodpecker has friends in high places at Pinehurst Resort. During construction of the Tom Fazio-designed No. 8 course, Pinehurst signed the nation’s first Safe Harbor agreement to protect the species’ habitat. Pinehurst’s efforts also support the brown-headed nuthatch. The course is part of the Audubon International’s Signature and Classic Program.

3 Cypress Landing Golf Club

Overhead of golf carts on path, meandering through course and trees
photo credit: Cypress Landing Golf Club

3 Cypress Landing Golf Club

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Players can gauge distance by the birdhouses placed at 50-yard intervals along the fairways of the Bill Love-designed course. A bald eagle might soar into view on the signature 15th hole, and sightings of pileated, red-headed and other woodpecker species are possible throughout the tree-lined course on the Pamlico River.

4 Bald Head Island Club

Aerial of golf course surrounded by stream, trees and marshes in background

4 Bald Head Island Club

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With island development guided by an environmental study, it’s natural for the Bald Head Island Club to share Audubon International’s commitment to sustainability. As a result, golfers often see osprey, ibis and egrets, not to mention the occasional alligator, as they follow the George Cobb-designed course over dunes, around lagoons and through a maritime forest.

5 The Currituck Club

5 The Currituck Club

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Guests at Sanderling Resort in Duck can enjoy the privilege of playing at this Rees Jones-designed masterpiece on the northern Outer Banks. Golfers take their cue from birds that flock to settings that include dunes, wetlands, maritime forestland and soundside shoreline. The transient and resident avian population includes herons (great blue, little blue and green), tundra swans, mockingbirds, blue- and green-winged teals, and pileated woodpeckers.

Visit Outdoor NC for additional tips on how to connect with nature and help preserve the natural beauty of our state.

Updated January 29, 2024
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