(GREENSBORO, N.C.) – The North Carolina Golf Panel’s 2014 rankings of the best golf courses in what’s arguably the best state for golf have been released, and as has been the case since the Panel’s launch in 1995, the revered Pinehurst No. 2, perhaps Donald Ross’s best work, again is No. 1.
Members of the Panel also voted on the top dozen courses in six regions of the state, plus two specialty categories: Best Greens Complexes and Best Finishing Holes. In addition, the Panel had fun with two other ballots: a determination of North Carolina’s All-Time Best Golfers (required to either be born in or have significant ties to our state), and the Best “19th Hole,” a salute to the relaxing post-round tradition enjoyed by many golfers.
Second again to Pinehurst No. 2 in the Top 100 is Grandfather Golf & Country Club, the Ellis Maples gem in Linville. Moving from fifth to third is the Dogwood course at the Country Club of North Carolina in Pinehurst. Completing the top five are the Old North State Club in New London and Charlotte’s Quail Hollow Club.
Ranking sixth through 10th are Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club (Southern Pines); Elk River Club (Banner Elk); Charlotte Country Club (Charlotte); Pinehurst No. 8 (Pinehurst); and a newcomer to the top 10, the Tom Fazio-designed Wade Hampton Club in Cashiers, 19th a year ago.
Significant moves in the Top 100 were made by Old Chatham in Durham (from 28th to 18th); Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club in Southern Pines (38th to 25th), a Ross design recently restored by Kyle Franz; the Highlands course at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary (42nd to 29th); Trump National Golf Club in Mooresville (92nd to 33rd), the former The Point Lake & Golf Club invigorated by new owner Donald Trump; the Country Club of Asheville (80th to 60th); the Tournament Players Club at Wakefield Plantation in Raleigh (90th to 73rd); and Cape Fear National Golf Club in Leland (87th to 74th).
The Top 100 courses are determined by a scoring system where panelists consider among these factors: routing, design, strategy, memorability, fairness, variety and aesthetics. The Panel’s 2014 rankings are detailed in the April issue of Business North Carolina magazine and at NCGolfPanel.com.