(GREENSBORO, N.C.) – The North Carolina Golf Panel’s 2016 rankings of the state’s Top 100 courses are out, and as has rung true since the Panel’s founding in 1995, Pinehurst No. 2 remains firmly No. 1.
Members of the Panel also voted on the top dozen courses in six regions of the state and ranked the top five courses per region in two specialty categories: Hidden Gems and Most Challenging Tee Shots (by course). Additionally, the Panel was asked to come up with its Top 20 Favorite Donald Ross Courses, and, for the first time, determine the Top 50 You Can Play.
Second again this year in the Top 100 to Pinehurst No. 2, designed by the great Donald Ross, is Grandfather Golf & Country Club in Linville. The third- and fourth-ranked courses swap spots from a year ago: the Old North State Club in New London is now third and the Country Club of North Carolina’s Dogwood Course fourth. Fifth again this year is Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club in Southern Pines.
Ranking sixth through 10th, as they did a year ago, are: Elk River Club (Banner Elk); Quail Hollow Club (Charlotte); Charlotte Country Club (Charlotte); Pinehurst No. 8 (Pinehurst); and Wade Hampton Club in Cashiers. Within the second 10, Sedgefield Country Club (Ross) improved from 16th to 13th and Raleigh Country Club from 21st to 18th.
The most significant move in the Top 100 was made by MacGregor Downs Country Club in Cary. The 49-year-old course, designed by Willard Byrd, improved from 63rd to 37th thanks to a major renovation that included the rebuilding of tees and the conversion of its greens from bent grass to Champion Bermuda. Other courses that got a boost in their rankings thanks to more subtle renovations included N.C. State’s Lonnie Poole Golf Course (78th to 65th) and the Country Club of Salisbury (89th to 73rd).
The Top 100 is determined by a scoring system where panelists consider among these factors: routing, design, strategy, memorability, fairness, variety and aesthetics. The Panel’s 2016 rankings are detailed in the April issue of Business North Carolina magazine and at NCGolfPanel.com.