2021 top 100 golf courses in N.C.

 In April 2021

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Golf’s popularity exploded over the past year as a safe alternative during troubled times.


With scarce tee times and busy courses, golf in 2021 has picked up where it left off in 2020. While some segments of the economy spent the majority of last year getting kicked in the teeth by COVID-19, the golf industry was the equivalent of a big-box home-improvement retailer with demand often exceeding supply.

Nationally, the number of rounds played in 2020 exceeded 500 million, according to the National Golf Foundation, an increase of nearly 14% from 441 million rounds played a year earlier. That occurred despite the loss of an estimated 20,000 rounds in late spring due to virus-related shutdowns and anxiety.

Only once has the sport experienced a greater 12-month percentage increase, a 63-million round spurt in 1997. That was the year a 21-year-old Tiger Woods won the Masters by a record 12 shots.

North Carolina’s courses thrived last year, aided by the state’s favorable climate. Bryan Park in Browns Summit, just north of Greensboro, boasts two layouts open daily to the public: the Champions and Players courses. Combined, the two courses saw 60,000 rounds, a 20% increase from 2019. “For a period in the late spring and early summer, it felt like every day was a weekend,” says Kyle Kolls, Bryan Park’s general manager. “That’s how busy we were.”

This is the 26th year that the N.C. Golf Panel has rated the state’s best courses. The panel is made up of businesspeople, journalists and others who share a love for the sport. They picked the same 20 top courses last year as in the previous year, with a few minor changes in order.

Grandfather Golf & Country Club, the second-ranked course in the state (behind only Pinehurst No. 2), saw a 10% increase in rounds played in 2020. “That was with little or no tournament play and limited guest access,” says Chip King, the club’s director of golf. “And we are projecting rounds to continue to increase this summer.”

— Kevin Brafford is the executive director of the North Carolina Golf Panel.

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WEST
1. Grandfather Golf & Country Club, Linville
2. Mountaintop Golf & Lake Club, Cashiers
3. Elk River Club, Banner Elk
4. Wade Hampton Golf Club, Cashiers
5. Rock Barn Country Club (Jones), Conover
6. Biltmore Forest Country Club, Asheville
7. Linville Golf Club, Linville
8. Balsam Mountain Preserve, Sylva
9. Country Club of Asheville, Asheville
10. Hound Ears Club, Blowing Rock
11. Jefferson Landing, Jefferson
12. Mimosa Hills Golf Club, Morganton

CHARLOTTE METRO
1. Quail Hollow Club, Charlotte
2. Charlotte Country Club, Charlotte
3. Trump National Golf Club, Mooresville
4. Myers Park Country Club, Charlotte
5. Gaston Country Club, Gastonia
6. Ballantyne Country Club, Charlotte
6. The Club at Irish Creek, Kannapolis
8. River Run Country Club, Davidson
9. Carmel Country Club (South), Charlotte
10. Cedarwood Country Club, Charlotte
11. The Peninsula Club, Cornelius
12. Providence Country Club, Charlotte

TRIAD
1. Old North State Club, New London
2. Sedgefield Country Club, Greensboro
3. Old Town Club, Winston-Salem
4. Forsyth Country Club, Winston-Salem
5. High Point Country Club (Willow Creek), High Point
6. Greensboro Country Club (Farm), Greensboro
7. Starmount Forest Country Club, Greensboro
8. The Cardinal by Pete Dye, Greensboro
9. Bryan Park Golf & Conference Center (Champions), Browns Summit
10. Grandover Resort (East), Greensboro
11. Alamance Country Club, Burlington
12. Pinewood Country Club, Asheboro

TRIANGLE
1. Old Chatham Golf Club, Durham
2. Raleigh Country Club, Raleigh
3. MacGregor Downs Country Club, Cary
4. Governors Club, Chapel Hill
5. Prestonwood Country Club (Highlands), Cary
6. Treyburn Country Club, Durham
7. Hasentree, Wake Forest
8. UNC Finley Golf Course, Chapel Hill
9. Duke University Golf Club, Durham
10. Hope Valley Country Club, Durham
11. Lonnie Poole Golf Course, Raleigh
12. Prestonwood Country Club (Meadows), Cary

SANDHILLS
1. Pinehurst No. 2, Pinehurst
2. The Country Club of North Carolina (Dogwood), Pinehurst
3. Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, Southern Pines
4. Pinehurst No. 4, Pinehurst
5. Pinehurst No. 8, Pinehurst
6. The Country Club of North Carolina (Cardinal), Pinehurst
7. Mid Pines Inn & Golf Club, Southern Pines
8. Forest Creek Golf Club (South), Pinehurst
9. Pinehurst No. 9, Pinehurst
10. Dormie Club, West End
11. Forest Creek Golf Club (North), Pinehurst
12. Mid South Club, Southern Pines

EAST
1. River Landing (River), Wallace
2. River Landing (Landing), Wallace
3. Scotch Hall Preserve, Merry Hill
4. Benvenue Country Club, Rocky Mount
5. Wilson Country Club, Wilson
6. Brook Valley Country Club, Greenville
7. Cutter Creek Golf Club, Snow Hill
8. Carolina Colours Golf Club, New Bern
9. Greenville Country Club, Greenville
10. Highland Country Club, Fayetteville
11. Walnut Creek Country Club, Goldsboro
12. Belmont Lake Golf Club, Rocky Mount

COASTAL
1. Cape Fear Country Club, Wilmington
2. Eagle Point Golf Club, Wilmington
3. Country Club of Landfall (Dye), Wilmington
4. Country Club of Landfall (Nicklaus), Wilmington
5. Bald Head Island Club, Bald Head Island
6. Leopard’s Chase, Sunset Beach
7. The Currituck Club, Corolla
8. Tiger’s Eye, Sunset Beach
9. Thistle Golf Club, Sunset Beach
10. Porters Neck Country Club, Wilmington
11. Kilmarlic Golf Club, Powells Point
12. Crow Creek Golf Club, Calabash

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