Nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Sherwood Forest Golf Course in Brevard NC offers the same amenities as many other local courses—beautiful scenery, perfectly manicured greens, and reasonably priced packages. It does, however, offer something the others don’t: four-legged caddies. Llamas, to be exact. For the price of about $40, you can play 18 holes while one of these wooly, five- to six-foot tall quadrupeds carries your clubs.
Sherwood Forest’s greenskeeper, Mark English, has been considering using llamas on the links for nearly twenty years. In fact, back in 1992, when Golf Digest rated the course one of the top ten in the state, English was still dreaming of putting the pack animals to work on the greens. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago, when English was able to bring in almost a dozen llamas, that he was finally able to see his dream come to fruition. Since then, the course has become a main attraction for families looking for a memorable excursion, as well as more serious players who are looking to add a little extra excitement to tee time.
Since llamas have been bred as pack animals for centuries, the idea that they are perfect for the position of caddie shouldn’t come as too big a surprise. Trained and fitted with special equipment, the docile creatures are capable of holding two golf bags—one on either side—making them ideal for couples or friends who go out to cruise the links in pairs. Not only are the South American animals perfect in temperament and ability, but llamas even have feet that are uniquely suited for strolling the greens. Unlike horses or cows—or golf carts, for that matter—llamas have soft feet that won’t damage delicate Golf Course Grasses. Though llama caddies lack the ability to offer advice and encouragement, many players find their calming presence a valuable asset. Sometimes, all it takes is a few moments with the llama to get players back on course. And, those worried about the “cleanliness” of the course will be pleased to know that the llamas have been trained to use a “litter box,” which ensures that the greens stay clean and visitors stay happy.
In addition to the llamas, which are only available on Tuesdays and some Saturdays and Sundays, the 2,260-yard, semi-private Sherwood Forest Golf Course offers players 18 holes, including a heavily wooded front 9 and a wide open back 9. Though there are no sand bunkers, unique holes and water hazards challenge players throughout the course. The Brevard NC course also offers refreshments, a pro shop, and rental Golf Clubs NC.
Perhaps even more surprising than the idea of using llamas as caddies is the fact that Sherwood Forest isn’t the only North Carolina Golf Course to offer this unusual amenity. Talamore at Pinehurst in Southern Pines NC also offers players the opportunity to get up close and personal with these beasts of burden. Designed by Rees Jones, this 7,020 yard course has received international acclaim, and was ranked one of the top five new courses in the United States by Golf Digest shortly after its opening.
So, during your next visit to North Carolina, make sure you play a round or two at Sherwood Forest Golf Course or Talamore at Pinehurst. You’ll make memories you’ll never forget, and gain a new appreciation for an animal you probably never thought you’d run into on the links. Make sure to browse GolfNorthCarolina.com for all of your North Carolina Golf needs, including NC Golf Real Estate, Golf Carts NC, and a comprehensive list of Golf Courses of NC.