Golf News

Top public and private golf courses in North Carolina

Mid Pines

This is a special year for North Carolina. In June the U.S. Open returns to Pinehurst Resort’s famed No. 2 Course, originally designed by Donald Ross and restored to its sandy and bouncy glory in 2011 by the team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. 

Pinehurst No. 2 has always been special as the host site of major championships, tour events, top amateur competitions and a bucket-list destination for golfers around the world. Its turtle-back greens are legendary, challenging players of every level. 

But to focus entirely on No. 2 is to miss so much of what North Carolina offers. From the mountains to the coast, the state is packed with great golf. The Golfweek’s Best rating program backs this up, with numerous layouts around the state appearing on various course-rankings lists. 

Let’s take a look at two of the most popular lists: Golfweek’s Best top public-access courses in North Carolina and the top private courses in the state. If you’re planning a short trip, a full season among the pines or a retirement packed with great golf, this is the place to start. 

The rankings below include the course name, its location and whether it is classic ( c ) or modern (m). If the classic or modern indicator includes a number, that is where the course stacks up in Golfweek’s Best ranking of top 200 classic or modern courses in the U.S., with 1960 as the dividing line between the two eras. 

Also worth noting for golfers who have never had the experience: The courses at Pinehurst Resort are named numerically. That is represented in the lists below. No. 2 is the course on which the U.S. Open will be held, and No. 4 is the course renovated several years ago by Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner. Five of the resort’s courses are included below in this year’s rankings – the resort’s recently opened No. 10 course did not kick off in time to appear in this year’s rankings but surely will in years to come.

Mid Pines in North Carolina (Courtesy of Mid Pines)

1. Pinehurst Resort (No. 2)
Pinehurst (18c)

2. Pinehurst Resort (No. 4)
Pinehurst (95m)

3. Mid Pines
Southern Pines (T131c)

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4. Pine Needles
Southern Pines (T156c)

Book your trip to Pine Needles

5. Tobacco Road
Sanford (m)

Book your trip to Tobacco Road

6. Pinehurst Resort (No. 8)
Pinehurst (m)

7. Southern Pines GC
Southern Pines (c)

8. Bald Head Island Club
Bald Head Island (m)

9. Thistle Golf Club
Sunset Beach (m)

10. Duke University GC
Durham (c)



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