Still No. 1- Pinehurst No. 2 Tops State's Finest 100
Change is a way of life, except when it comes to choosing the No. 1 golf course in the state.
The North Carolina Golf Panel, a group of close to 150 lovers of the game who laboriously devote themselves to the unenviable task of choosing the Top 100 Courses in the state, has again selected Pinehurst No. 2 as the best of the best.
This is no surprise, of course. The Donald Ross masterpiece that hosted U.S. Open Championships in 1999 and 2005 and is scheduled for another in 2014 has been at the top of the list every year since the panel's inception in 1995.
Under the panel's voting system, Pinehurst No. 2 received 6,042 points to perennial runner-up, the Tom Fazio-designed Old North State's 5,525.
Pine Needles, another Ross course that has steadily gained prominence in the past few years as it hosted three U.S. Women's Opens and underwent an extensive restoration project, is third in the rankings, released in the current issue of Business North Carolina Magazine.
Grandfather Golf and Country Club in Linville, one of Ellis Maples' finest creations, maintained its ranking at No. 4, but things began shifting after that point.
Charlotte Country Club, fifth last year, slipped to No. 8. The Country Club of North Carolina's Dogwood Course, another Maples layout, moved up a rung to the No. 5 spot, while Forest Creek South (Fazio) climbed from 9th to No. 6. Elk River (Jack Nicklaus) retained its No. 7 ranking.
Quail Hollow of Charlotte, a George Cobb layout which has been redesigned by Fazio and hosts the PGA Tour's Wachovia Championship, slipped a notch to No.9.
Rounding out the Top 10 was Pinehurst No.4, rebuilt by Fazio in 1999, which was ranked No. 12 a year ago.
Pinehurst No. 8, Fazio again, is listed at No. 11, moving up from 12th last year.
Linville Golf Club, a Ross favorite, dropped from the Top 10 and is now 12th, one notch ahead of Forest Creek's North Course.
The remainder of the Top 20, in order, are Biltmore Forest Country Cub in Asheville, Rock Barn Golf and Spa in Conover, National Golf Club in Pinehurst, The Country Club of North Carolina's Cardinal Course, Old Town Golf Club in Winston-Salem, The Club at Longview in Weddington, and Eagle Point in Wilmington.
The biggest jump in the standings was made by Cape Fear Country Club. Designed by Ross and recently restored by the talented Kris Spence, the Wilmington course vaulted 40 spots from No 62 to No. 22.
Fazio designed four of the Top 10 courses, while Ross designed three and Maples two.
Other Sandhills courses making the Top 100 list were Mid Pines (32), Mid South (36), Pinehurst No. 7 (40), Anderson Creek (55), Pinewild Magnolia (56), Tobacco Road (61), Legacy Golf Links (78), Pinehurst No. 6 (88), Southern Pines Golf Club (92), Country Club of Whispering Pines East (94), Little River Farm Golf Club (96) and Pinewild Holly (99).
The panel also ranked the courses by region. The Sandhills' top 12 were Pinehurst No. 2, Pine Needles, Country Club of North Carolina Dogwood, Forest Creek South, Pinehurst No. 4, Pinehurst No. 8, Forest Creek North, National Golf Club, Country Club of North Carolina Cardinal, Mid Pines, Mid South and Pinehurst No. 7.
Grandfather was the top one in the Mountains Region, Old North State in the Piedmont Triad, Duke University Golf Club in the Triangle, Charlotte Country Club in the Charlotte Metro, River Landing River Course in the Eastern and Eagle Point in the Coastal.
Bright's Creek, a Fazio design that is owned by Barton Tuck, the developer who created Forest Creek, not only earned Best New Course status but debuted at No. 23 in the Top 100.
Coming in a close second was Leopard's Chase, a Tim Cate design at Ocean Ridge Plantation. The fourth course at Ocean Ridge, Leopard's Chase was voted No. 34 overall.
Southern Pines Golf Club, which was recently leased by Avestra Golf Management and is undergoing an energetic renovation, topped the Hidden Gems list in the Sandhills. Also drawing notice in this category were Talamore Golf Club, Carolina Trace Lake Course, Pinehurst No. 1 and Seven Lakes Country Club.
The panel also ranked the best par-4 holes by region. Pinehurst No. 2's dramatic fifth hole topped this list, followed by Pine Needles' 18th, CCNC Dogwood's 14th, the 18th at Pinehurst No. 2 and the 18th at Pinehurst No. 8.
More like this story