Friday, May 24, 2024

Sure shots

After one of the coldest and most unpredictable winters in many years, the initial signs of spring are obvious: longer days, clearer skies and the North Carolina Golf Panel’s annual list of the state’s top 100 golf courses. Just two courses are making their debut on the list compiled by the 180-member group: Cedarwood Country Club in Charlotte and Red Bridge Golf & Country Club in Locust. But an improving economy has spurred upgrades at several courses, and four of them — Chapel Hill’s Governors Club, Cary’s Prestonwood Country Club (Meadows course) and Wilmington’s Country Club at Landfall (Nicklaus course) and Porters Neck Country Club — each jumped at least 15 spots. Pinehurst Resort & Country Club acquired the former National Golf Club last June, the ninth course in the famed resort’s collection and its first designed by Jack Nicklaus. Pinehurst, which is owned by the Texas-based Dedman family, plans to spend about $1 million on improvements to the clubhouse and the renamed No. 9 course. Pinehurst No. 2 remains atop the panel’s list, its reputation bolstered by hosting back-to-back men’s and women’s U.S. Open Championships last June. Visitor spending at the two events topped $140 million — double the $70.8 million reaped by the 2005 men’s Open held in Pinehurst — and the tournaments had an estimated total economic impact of $238 million. Another top-ranked course known for hosting the annual Wells Fargo Championship, No. 7 Quail Hollow Club, gained global attention after the PGA Tour picked it to host The Presidents Cup in 2021. The semiannual competition pits top U.S. golfers against an international team comprising players not eligible for the European Ryder Cup team. Quail Hollow is just the fifth U.S. course selected to host the event, and the first in the Southeast. The Charlotte club will host the PGA Championship in 2017.

The panel that compiled the rankings consists of golf pros, college coaches, noted amateurs, business leaders and journalists. A minimum of 40 votes was required for a course to make the list, and panelists could only vote for ones they had played. Now in its 20th year, the list serves as a guide to the state’s most impressive courses, both public and private and located from the mountains to the coast.

Click here to view the list of North Carolina’s Top 100 Golf Courses

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