Scenic Drives: North Carolina’s Breathtaking Golf Courses
More than 400 golf courses dot the varying landscapes across North Carolina – many of them surrounded by soaring mountains, foothills vanishing in the misty distance or fresh ocean breezes. Take a swing through this lineup of the most scenic places to tee off.
1 Pinehurst Resort
1 Pinehurst ResortPinehurstSee on map
The most famous of Pinehurst Resort’s nine courses and designed by icon Donald Ross, No. 2 has hosted more championships (including the U.S. Open) than any other course in the country. Players conquer hidden, sandy swales and unsuspected rollaway slopes. Famed modern designer Tom Fazio’s No. 4 and No. 8 rank as esteemed rivals to No. 2.
2 Grandover Resort
3 Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club
3 Pine Needles Lodge & Golf ClubSouthern PinesSee on map
Pine Needles is part of an elite group of five resorts with two courses ranked among Golfweek magazine’s Top 25. Paired with its Mid Pines course, the 1921 Pine Needles features evergreens, recently restored bunkers and memorable challenges like hole 3’s sharply sloped putting green.
4 The Golf Club at Ballantyne
4 The Golf Club at BallantyneCharlotteSee on map
Certified by Audubon International for good stewardship of the environment, this course stars multiple water features and natural landscapes. The Dana Rader Golf School helps with navigating challenges like the 10th hole’s pond and boulders.
5 Farmstead Golf Links
5 Farmstead Golf LinksCalabashSee on map
A par-6 18th hole that meanders across the North Carolina and South Carolina state line highlights the Farmstead course. Sister course Meadowlands contains multiple waterfront holes and hilly fairways dotted with pines. Cap off a round with an Old Fashioned on the Georgian-style clubhouse’s spacious veranda.
6 Nags Head Golf Links
6 Nags Head Golf LinksNags Head See on map
Outer Banks salt air sets the tone for Scottish links-style golf. Carved into the barrier island landscape, the course’s location along the Roanoke Sound makes it “among the most beautiful in the Eastern United States,” according to Golf Digest.
7 Leopard’s Chase Golf Links
7 Leopard’s Chase Golf LinksOcean Isle BeachSee on map
One of four big-cat-themed courses at Ocean Ridge Plantation, Leopard’s Chase is full of surprises that seem to leap out of nowhere. Scene-stealing highlights include greens tucked away on an island (hole 4) and behind a waterfall (hole 18).
8 The Currituck Club
8 The Currituck ClubCorollaSee on map
Using diverse maritime geography, designer Rees Jones crafted a masterpiece of coastal golf among dunes and salt-air washed forest lands. Moody with ocean-driven wind changes, Currituck provides golfers with a different experience every round.
9 Linville Golf Club
10 Cleghorn Golf & Sports Club
10 Cleghorn Golf & Sports ClubRutherfordtonSee on map
With roots in a 16th century land grant from King George II, Cleghorn gives golfers the royal treatment. Hillside forests open wide enough for comfortable shot-making, and multilevel greens roll fast but true. The course opens with a birdie-friendly par 4 and ends with a par 5 – this one a tougher uphill challenge.
11 The Omni Grove Park Inn
11 The Omni Grove Park InnAshevilleSee on map
Follow in the footsteps of early 20th century tycoons and artists on the slopes of the inn’s 1926 Donald Ross course. Laid out below the inn’s veranda, the creek-lined course comes with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west.
12 High Hampton Resort
12 High Hampton ResortCashiersSee on map
Gentility holds sway here, where guests dress for dinner after enjoying golf, forest trails and heirloom dahlia gardens. High Hampton’s track eases through woodlands, along a lake protected by hills and in the shade of Chimney Top Mountain.
Take a swing through the state by checking out the Official North Carolina Travel Guide for more great golf courses and other scenic destinations.