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What’s The Top Rated Course in NC that YOU can Play without Being a Member?

What’s The Top Rated Course in NC that YOU can Play without Being a Member?

First, ranking the state’s best golf courses has been accurately compared to standing over a 7 Iron, hitting over a small pond to a pristine, picturesque green. We should be able to do it, but often we’ll make a mistake or two. So this post is a subjective one to say the least. Someone emailed us asking, "Hey guys, I love this website and wanted to ask, "What’s the best course open to the public that I can play in North Carolina?" – John S, Atlanta, Georgia.

John, we’ve posted some of the annual top rankings for the golf courses in the state in the past. Recently one golf guru posted the following as their top rated courses within the Tarheel state:

1 Pinehurst No. 2
2 Grandfather Golf and Country Club
3 Quail Hollow Club
4 Charlotte Country Club
5 Pine Needles Golf and Lodge
6 Elk River Club
7 Wade Hampton Golf Club
8 Pinehurst No. 4
9 Country Club of North Carolina (Dogwood Course)
10 Linville Golf Club
11 Biltmore Forest Country Club
12 Forest Creek Golf Club
13 Old North State Club
14 Tobacco Road
15 Eagle Point Golf Club
16 Pinehurst No. 8
17 Sedgefield Country Club
18 National Golf Club
19 Old Town Club
20 Leopard’s Chase

Those knowledgeable about golf in the state know that Pinehurst No. 2 is not ONLY the top ranked course in the state, year after year, it is one of the best in the United States. What a lot of people don’t know is that it IS open to the public.

Pinehurst No. 2 is considered a masterpiece of design. It features some of the most spectacular green settings anywhere. Pinehurst No. 2 is strong enough to have hosted the 1999, 2005 and 2014 (men’s and women’s) U.S. Opens. Golf packages begin at $339 per night


I’m going to speculate that John’s question might have more accurately been written, "What’s the best Public course in the state that won’t be booked up for the next year and that I can afford to play on my salary…since I work at McDonalds?"

Okay, maybe that’s overstating the question, because the average duffer is pretty set financially…but you get the point.

Pine Needles Club in Southern Pines is ranked 5th on our list above and that would make it the number TWO rated Public course – using this semi-failed system. At $120-$225 for greens fees, it’s probably a bit too rich for some budgets. They do offer some great stay and play packages where you can lodge for $179 a night Sundays-Wednesday and play a round for additional $40.

Next on the list for Public play would be Pinehurst No. 4 ranked 8th in the state and 3rd for public play. With packages starting at $339 a night in the Spring…we’ll move on.

Here’s the gist of this short article. Based on this recent poll – erred or not – of those open for Public Play, your best bet would be Leopard’s Chase in Ocean Isle Beach, NC where you can play one of the top 20 courses in the state at about $73.00 a round.

<Mount Mitchell Golf Club (Photo used by permission of Mount Mitchell Golf Club)

A course NOT on the list above, but one that always gets a nod as one of the best public courses in the state and one that won’t break the bank is that of Mount Mitchell Golf Club in Burnsville, NC. Open April through November, you can always get a round of golf there at $50-$90 depending on weekdays or weekends and the season.

The Mount Mitchell Golf Club offers a variety of challenges to the visiting golfer. The course is a four and one half star rating by Golf Digest’s "Places to Play." North Carolina Magazine ranked Mount Mitchell in the top ten public courses in the state. It features bent grass from tee to green, is virtually flat, has a pristine river flowing through it and awesome views on every shot. Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, one hour from Asheville, Mount Mitchell Golf Club remains a favorite golfers’ haven.

It is a player friendly par 72, with no blind shots and scenery that makes it hard to keep your mind on golf. It features bent grass tees, greens and fairways. It is in the Toe River valley and is virtually flat. The golf course opens in April and closes during the month of November.

The club house offers fine dining and relaxation in Hawtree’s Pub. The Pro Shop is well stocked with stylish golf attire.

On site accommodations are available as follows: Two and three bedroom town homes on 18th fairway, private homes throughout the golf community, from two to five bedrooms and one and two bedroom units on the eighth fairway with a spectacular view of Mount Mitchell.

Rates for 2011
Townhouses, Houses & Condominiums

Nightly $100 – 400
Weekly $800 – 1,400
Monthly $2,200 – 3,800

If you have suggestions that you feel better answers John’s question, drop us a email at [email protected]  and we’ll post it.

See you on the course.

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