Pair Golf with Entertainment and Adventure in Charlotte

Pair Golf with Entertainment and Adventure in Charlotte

The Golf Club at Ballantyne is a championship course, featuring a practice area, golf pro shop, pavilion and the renowned Dana Rader Golf School

The Charlotte area offers a variety of activities that will make your planned getaway both eventful and fast-paced. But you can slow things down a bit by getting in a few rounds of golf at some of the many public golf courses, including several that were designed by notable golfers and architects.

From Charlotte’s trendy neighborhoods and bustling city center to its surrounding quaint towns, you’ll find good golfing, dining, entertainment, adventure and more.

4-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Stop for a quick opening round before heading to Uptown, where there’s something for everyone on every corner.

Day 2: Go racing – around a great golf course, a NASCAR speedway and the streets of a funky Uptown neighborhood.

Day 3: Sail up toward Lake Norman where three challenging courses are anchored and waiting.

Day 4: Finish strong on the links, but leave time for thrills of another sort.

Day 1: The Action Begins

As you head into town, you might want to make a stop for a quick round. If you’re coming in from the airport, try out Renaissance Park, a Michael Hurdzan design that can stretch out to a hefty 7,300 yards. Another option, not far from the University Research Park, is The Tradition with rolling tree-lined fairways and smallish greens that reward accurate shots. And over at Sunset Hills, you can try out something completely different with FootGolf, a challenging combination of golf and soccer imported from the Netherlands.

EpiCentre in Uptown Charlotte


The EpiCentre is a popular destination for dining and nightlife in Uptown Charlotte

If you’re going to really experience Charlotte, then you might as well start in its contemporary Uptown center, where culture and entertainment are complemented by a host of food and drink options. Begin at the square, the intersection of Trade and Tryon streets, and stroll off in any direction to explore. You’ll be tempted by fancy eateries and smaller local bistros, or head for the EpiCentre, an entertainment hub that houses more than two dozen restaurants, nightclubs and bars as well as a bowling alley, movie theater and hotel.

Not far away in the city’s historic Third Ward is the AvidXchange Music Factory with indoor and outdoor music venues, paired with bars, clubs and places to eat. If it’s baseball season, check out the Charlotte Knights at BB&T Ballpark, named the best ballpark in the minors in 2015.

Day 2: Round and Round You Go

If you have a thing for racing, start the day off with a visit to NASCAR Hall of Fame in Uptown, before heading to Rocky River Golf Club, about 20 minutes north in Concord. This Dan Maples design, bordered by the river and lush wetlands, is highlighted by a significant boulder in the middle of the third fairway that was too big to move and now makes for an interesting tee shot. The course is within earshot of Charlotte Motor Speedway, from which you might hear the roar of high-powered engines during your round.

Rocky River Golf Club in Concord

Rocky River Golf Club

In the backdrop of Rocky River Golf Club lies Charlotte Motor Speedway

After a stop in the 19th hole, make the short jaunt over to the speedway where you can tour the track. You can also visit nearby NASCAR team shops in the Concord and Mooresville areas, and see how racecars are assembled and tested for the biggest drivers in the sport. Or if a jolt of retail therapy is a better choice, the racetrack-inspired Concord Mills awaits with more than 200 outlet stores.

Spend the evening in one of Charlotte’s older, funkier neighborhoods. Head out North Davidson Street to NoDa where you can catch live music at Neighborhood Theatre, chow down in local eateries or check out the craft beer scene as NoDa Brewing Company, Birdsong Brewing, Heist Brewery and Free Range Brewing roll out the barrels. Another excellent evening outlet is the Plaza-Midwood area where folks gather in search of foodie adventures and nighttime fun.

Day 3: The Scenic Routes

Three substantial links opportunities lurk in the vicinity of Lake Norman, a massive body of water just north of Charlotte, renowned for boating, sailing, fishing and other water sports. Birkdale Golf Club in Huntersville, an Arnold Palmer design, has been voted one of the “Top Five Public Courses in the State.” Highland Creek Golf Club is considered by locals to be one of the most challenging golf courses in the area, while Skybrook Golf Club features beautiful rolling fairways with dramatic elevation changes.

After a rough day on the links, the quaint town of Davidson is a nice place to decompress. Billing itself as the “Best Small Town in America,” Davidson has ample choices of food and beverage, from bistro to taproom to pizza to artisan chocolates. Another place with plenty of action is Birkdale Village, where shopping, dining and entertainment converge.

Day 4: No Time to Rest

Plan a hearty breakfast today, and then head to The Golf Club at Ballantyne at the luxurious Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge on Charlotte’s south side for a spirited outing on a course handed 4.5 stars by Golf Digest. The layout features an abundance of big trees and enough water to keep you focused – and ask about the glow-in-the-dark putting for something with a twist. If kinks set in, the resort’s spa could be the answer. However, if your game has gone evil on you, check in for treatment at the on-site Dana Rader Golf School, consistently ranked by GOLF Magazine as one of the top 25 golf schools in the nation.

If you’re thinking 36 holes, put Olde Sycamore on the list. A Tom Jackson creation, this course sprawls across a rural setting encompassing tall pines and hourglass-shaped greens.

U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte

Enjoy a day of adventure at the U.S. National Whitewater Center

Or just maybe allow time for some off-course thrills and check out the U.S. National Whitewater Center along the Catawba River, where you can be adventurous with rafting, kayaking, mountain biking, rock climbing and zip lines, or relax on a patio with some local craft beer. Then, of course, there’s Carowinds, featuring more than 50 rides for all thrill levels, including record-setting roller coasters and a water park.

A good resource as you make plans is Visit Charlotte’s detail-packed website that offers plenty of guidance on things to see and do throughout the region. Because, like the signs around town say, “Charlotte’s Got A Lot.”

Enjoy all the area has to offer by mixing and matching activities and events to your particular interest. Be sure to check days and hours of operation for each venue.

Gary Carter is an Asheville-based travel writer who covers a range of topics for magazines, online publications and his blog, Eliot’s Tales 4 Gen B.


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