Pinehurst No. 2 has once again secured the top spot as the best golf course in the state as determined by the prestigious North Carolina Golf Panel.
Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club in Southern Pines moved up three spots to fourth with the Dogwood course at The Country Club of North Carolina placing fifth.
Pinehurst No. 8 rounded out the top 10. Overall, 17 Pinehurst area golf courses are included among the Top 100 rankings.
The North Carolina Golf Panel was founded in 1995 and is recognized as the most authoritative statewide source of golf course rankings in a state that arguably has some of the nation’s best courses.
The 135-member panel is composed of golf media, club professionals and general managers from many outstanding courses, accomplished amateur players and college golf coaches and others who play an active role in promoting golf in North Carolina.
“It’s no surprise the ‘Home of American Golf’ boasts a significant number of courses among the Top 100 in North Carolina,” said Phil Werz, president and CEO for the Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. “While (Pinehurst) No. 2 is on everyone’s bucket list to play, we are fortunate to have numerous quality and world-class golf courses that rival any golf destination on the planet. When you combine great golf with a growing craft beer scene, great local dining and shopping and fun events year-round, our area is an amazing destination for not only golfers, but for couples, meetings and groups.”
While Pinehurst No. 4 was ranked just inside the Top 20 (No. 19), the Gil Hanse redesign opened last September, so few panelists were able to visit it to include in this year’s rankings.
However, that ranking is expected to rise sharply in 2020 with more panelists able to play and rank it, according to Kevin Brafford, executive director of the N.C. Golf Panel.
“In 2019, panelists will get the opportunity to see the wonderful work of Gil Hanse and the Pinehurst staff have created,” said Brafford. “I expect our 2020 rankings will certain reflect the national acclaim the course is receiving.”
The panel also ranked the Top 50 Courses You Can Play and the Pinehurst area once again dominated the list with 15 listed, or 30 percent of the clubs, including the top six – Pinehurst No. 2, Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club, Pinehurst No. 8, Pinehurst No. 4, Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club and Pinehurst No. 9.
Other golf clubs among the Top 50 include Mid South Club, Pinehurst No. 7, Talamore Golf Resort (New Course), Southern Pines Golf Club, Pinehurst No. 6, Legacy Golf Links, Longleaf Golf & Family Club, Tobacco Road and Seven Lakes Country Club.
Pinehurst area golf courses are no strangers to the national and global stage as well when it comes to major championships.
In 2019, Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club will host the U.S. Senior Women’s Open, May 16-19. Pinehurst No. 2 and No. 4 will welcome competitors for the U.S. Amateur, August 12-18.
In 2021, The Country Club of North Carolina will host the U.S. Junior Amateur. In 2022, the U.S. Women’s Open returns to Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club.
And the U.S. Open will be back at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2024, marking the fourth such major championship to be played at the club over a course of 25 years (1999, 2005, 2014 and 2024), the most to be played over the course of a quarter century than any other location in the country.
All of those events are sanctioned by the United States Golf Association (USGA).
For more information about all golf courses in the Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen area, visit HomeofGolf.com. For the complete list of the Top 100 Courses for 2019, Top 50 Courses You Can Play and other rankings, visit NCGolfPanel.com.
Top 100 Courses for 2019 (second number is previous year’s ranking)
1. 1. Pinehurst No. 2, Pinehurst
2. 2. Grandfather Golf and Country Club, Linville
3. 3. Mountaintop Golf and Lake Club, Cashiers
4. 7. Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club, Southern Pines
5. 4. The Country Club of North Carolina (Dogwood), Pinehurst
6. 6. Quail Hollow Club, Charlotte
7. 5. Old North State Club, New London
8. 8. Charlotte Country Club, Charlotte
9. 9. Elk River Club, Banner Elk
10. 10. Pinehurst No. 8, Pinehurst
11. 12. Sedgefield Country Club (Ross), Greensboro
12. 11. Wade Hampton Golf Club, Cashiers
13. 13. Cape Fear Country Club, Wilmington
14. 14. Old Town Club, Winston-Salem
15. 15. The Country Club of North Carolina (Cardinal), Pinehurst
16. 16. Eagle Point Golf Club, Wilmington
17. 19. Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club, Southern Pines
18. 17. Old Chatham Golf Club, Durham
19. 18. Pinehurst No. 4, Pinehurst
20. 20. Raleigh Country Club, Raleigh
21. 22. Rock Barn Country Club (Jones), Conover
22. 21. Biltmore Forest Country Club, Asheville
23. 24. River Landing (River), Wallace
24. 25. Forest Creek Golf Club (South), Pinehurst
25. 26. MacGregor Downs Country Club, Cary
26. 23. Trump National Golf Club, Mooresville
27. 27. Prestonwood Country Club (Highlands), Cary
28. 28. Governors Club, Chapel Hill
29. 30. Country Club of Landfall (Dye), Wilmington
30. 31. Pinehurst No. 9, Pinehurst
31. 34. Treyburn Country Club, Durham
32. 37. Country Club of Landfall (Nicklaus), Wilmington
33. 29. Linville Golf Club, Linville
34. 32. Forest Creek Golf Club (North), Pinehurst
35. 33. High Point Country Club (Willow Creek), High Point
36. 35. The Hasentree Club, Wake Forest
37. 38. Forsyth Country Club, Winston-Salem
38. 36. Myers Park Country Club, Charlotte
38. 39. Finley Golf Course, Chapel Hill
40. 40. Greensboro Country Club (Farm), Greensboro
41. 43. River Landing (Landing), Wallace
42. 44. Bald Head Island Club, Bald Head Island
43. 41. Duke University Golf Club, Durham
44. 49. Dormie Club, West End
45. 42. The Club at Irish Creek, Kannapolis
46. 46. Gaston Country Club, Gastonia
47. 45. Leopard’s Chase, Sunset Beach
48. 59. Country Club of Asheville, Asheville
49. 48. Scotch Hall Preserve, Merry Hill
50. 50. Hope Valley Country Club, Durham
51. 47. Pinewild Country Club (Magnolia), Pinehurst
52. 53. Mid South Club, Southern Pines
53. 51. Tiger’s Eye, Sunset Beach
54. 52. Sedgefield Country Club (Dye), Greensboro
55. 54. Balsam Mountain Preserve, Sylva
56. 55. River Run Country Club, Davidson
57. 78. Starmount Forest Country Club, Greensboro
58. 56. Alamance Country Club, Burlington
59. 60. Pinehurst No. 7, Pinehurst
60. 57. Prestonwood Country Club (Meadows), Cary
61. 61. Lonnie Poole Golf Course, Raleigh
62. 58. Carmel Country Club (South), Charlotte
63. 62. Grandover (East), Greensboro
64. 63. Bryan Park Golf and Conference Center (Champions), Browns Summit
65. 69. Jefferson Landing, Jefferson
66. 64. The Currituck Club, Duck
67. 66. Pinewood Country Club, Asheboro
68. 65. Thistle Golf Club, Sunset Beach
69. 68. Lake Toxaway Country Club, Lake Toxaway
70. 71. Croasdaile Country Club, Durham
71. 70. Porters Neck Country Club, Wilmington
72. 75. Ballantyne Country Club, Charlotte
73. 76. Cedarwood Country Club, Charlotte
74. 72. Linville Ridge, Linville
75. 67. St. James Plantation (Reserve), Southport
76. — The Peninsula Club, Cornelius
77. 74. Tournament Players Club at Wakefield Plantation, Raleigh
78. 77. Hound Ears Club, Blowing Rock
79. — Mimosa Hills Golf Club, Morganton
80. 79. Wilson Country Club, Wilson
81. 73. Cape Fear National Golf Club, Leland
82. 80. Grandover (West), Greensboro
83. 81. Kilmarlic Golf Club, Powells Point
84. 87. Bermuda Run Country Club (East), Bermuda Run
85. 83. Brier Creek Country Club, Raleigh
86. — Benvenue Country Club, Rocky Mount
87. 85. Rocky River Golf Club, Concord
88. 89. Mill Creek Golf Club, Mebane
89. — Compass Pointe Golf Club, Leland
90. 86. North Ridge Country Club (Lakes), Raleigh
91. 82. Country Club of Salisbury, Salisbury
92. 92. New Course at Talamore, Southern Pines
93. 88. Crow Creek Golf Club, Calabash
94. 90. Carolina Golf Club, Charlotte
95. 93. Southern Pines Golf Club, Southern Pines
96. — Brook Valley Country Club, Greenville
97. 99. Stoney Creek Golf Club, Whitsett
98. — Pinehurst No. 6, Pinehurst
99. 96. Heritage Club, Wake Forest
100. 94. Blowing Rock Country Club, Blowing Rock
Feature photo of Pinehurst No. 2 by Sandhills Sentinel Sports Reporter/Photographer John Patota.