Tuesday, April 3, 2018

NC Golf Panel's Annual 'TopPlay' List Has Strong Sandhills Flavor

(GREENSBORO, N.C.) – Given that the Pinehurst area is a bucket-list destination for avid golfers worldwide, it’s no surprise that Sandhills courses dominate the top of the North Carolina Golf Panel’s rankings of the Top 50 Courses You Can Play for 2018.

Pinehurst No. 2, Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club, Pinehurst No. 8, Pinehurst No. 4, and Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club occupy the top five spots. The sixth through 10th rankings show evidence of the state’s diverse offerings of daily-fee courses from the mountains to the coast: Linville Golf Club (Linville), Pinehurst No. 9 (Pinehurst), UNC Finley Golf Course (Chapel Hill), Duke University Golf Club (Durham), and Bald Head Island Club (Bald Head Island).

“A few years ago some golf-crazy friends of mine from New Mexico came to visit for most of a week,” says Kevin Brafford, the Panel’s executive director. “One day we were playing just a few hundred yards away from the Atlantic Ocean – a couple of them had never even seen an ocean. Three days later, we were playing with the Blue Ridge Mountains as a backdrop. And in between we played courses in Southern Pines and Concord. They were in awe of the whole experience.”

This marks the 23rd year that the N.C. Golf Panel has rated courses in what’s widely regarded as one of the best states for golf in the country. Members also voted on the Top 100 Courses in the state and the top dozen courses by region. As has been the case every year, Pinehurst No. 2 leads the Top 100, followed by Grandfather Golf and Country Club (Linville), Mountaintop Golf and Lake Club (Cashiers), the Country Club of North Carolina’s Dogwood course (Pinehurst), and the Old North State Club (New London).

Both the Top 50 You Can Play and the Top 100 in the State rankings are determined by a scoring system where panelists consider among these factors: routing, design, strategy, memorability, fairness, variety and aesthetics.

Panelists also ranked the best dozen courses in each of six regions of the state, plus cast ballots to determine, by region, the top five in these specialty categories: courses they consider Hidden Gems, and the clubs with the Best Amenities. Lastly, panelists were asked answer this question: If you had to put together a three-day golf trip within the state, playing only courses that are open to the public, where would you go and play? Those answers, as well as the complete rankings, can be found at NCGolfPanel.com.

Link to all the 2018 rankings … http://www.ncgolfpanel.com/courserankings.cfm

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