Northeast North Carolina may be best known for its miles of uncluttered beaches, farm land, and assortment of seafood restaurants and charming local shops, but for golfers, the Northeast NC can be an ideal and serene golfing retreat.
While neighboring vacation destinations, like Myrtle beach, SC, may boast dozens of golf courses clustered together, Northeast North Carolina's courses are scattered throughout the Outer Banks, the Currituck mainland and nearby towns just a short drive away.
All of these local courses are both challenging and relaxing with picturesque water views, uncrowded greens, and miles of beautiful landscape. Expect these courses to be dotted with live oaks, beach grasses and yaupon, providing golfers with a world of fun. On your next vacation, bring the clubs along and check out these exceptional golf courses on the Northeast North Carolina Golf Trail.
Northeast NC Golf courses
The Currituck Club
The Currituck Club in Corolla offers northern Outer Banks beach goers a fantastic golfing retreat just a few steps away from the beach. The Currituck Course, in operation since 1996, is 18 holes of pristine Bermuda Grass Greenway, designed by Rees Jones. This sprawling course crosses over flat coastal terrain, maritime forest, and even beach shoreline, giving golfers an excellent cross-section of the Outer Banks environment. The course has been designated one of the Top 25 Golf Courses in North Carolina by Golf Digest, and stretches across 6,885 yards of Outer Banks landscape.
The Bunkers Grille and Bar located at the club offers a casual dining locale for golfers post-game, or for a hungry vacationing family, with a wide selection of appetizers, soups, sandwiches and daily specials. Sport lovers can cost up to the bar with flat screen TVs, and everyone in the family can enjoy the club amenities off the course, including several tennis courts, volleyball courts, a fitness center, bike trails, and a playground for the kids.
Like most Outer Banks golf courses, rates are seasonal, with cheaper course rates in the off-season winter months. The course is open year-round, and even offers special "Twilight" rates at a discount for evening golfers. (The gorgeous Outer Banks sunsets are included for free.) Weddings and special events are also popular at the Currituck Club, as the clubhouse facilities features a nice reception area, on-site catering, and easy access to the Atlantic Ocean for beachfront weddings.
Because of the Currituck Club's central location in the heart of Corolla, tee times can fill up fast, especially in the popular summer months. If visiting the Outer Banks during prime season, you may want to book your tee time early.
Nags Head Golf Links
For the quintessential Outer Banks golfing experience, there's nothing quite like the Nags Head Golf Links. This 19 hole course is both a Golf Digest 4.5 star award winner as well as a Golf Week top 50 pick, yet it still retains its Outer Banks character with a cluster of sand dunes, Roanoke Sound views, and acres of quiet soundside terrain in between.
Because of its location along the sound in Nags Head, wind can be a factor and add to the challenge of the 6,126 yard course, but this element simply makes it more appealing for Outer Banks golfing regulars. The series of holes that border the Roanoke Sound, featuring views that extend all the way to Manteo, have been dubbed by Golf Digest as "among the most beautiful in the Eastern U.S.," and nature lovers will marvel at the variety of shorebirds that congregate on the outskirts of the course.
The Nags Head Golf Links also features a driving range and practice range on site, various group golf clinics as well as private lessons provided by PGA professionals, and a well-stocked golf shop. For golfing grub, visitors can head to the soundside grille and bar, and special event and wedding facilities are available for couples who want to wed overlooking the Roanoke Sound.
In fact, this course has become a very popular wedding destination over the years for its amazing waterfront location, sweeping sand dunes, and professional event planners provided by the club to ensure the couple's big day is perfect.
The Nags Head Golf Links features seasonal rates, with special twilight rates for spectacular sunset golfing, and tee times can be reserved well ahead of your vacation. As for accommodations, Nags Head has a variety of vacation rental homes a quick stroll away from the golf course at the Village at Nags Head. Contact a local property management company for rental homes with course-side locations.
Duck Woods Country Club
The Duck Woods Country Club is another gem in the northern Outer Banks, bordering the town limits of Southern Shores and Kitty Hawk, and featuring a gorgeous, woodsy 18-hole course as well as an impressive clubhouse. This is one of the area's oldest golf courses, dating back to the mid-1960s.
Today, the Duck Woods Country Club is the only full service Country Club on the Outer Banks, with homes available for purchase or rent within the facilities' grounds.
The Country Club boasts a championship golf course, designed by architect Ellis Maples. This course may seem like one of the most private and secluded courses in the Outer Banks, as it is bordered by the maritime forests of Southern Shores, providing shady holes and secluded lodging and entertainment. PGA and LPGA golf lessons and club fittings are available, along with seasonal PGA, LPGA and USGA golf programs and events. A full service golf shop is also available on the premises, featuring high end equipment and apparel.
The club facilities are truly extensive and include a community pool with aquatic programs and swimming lessons seasonally available, a 2,000 square foot fitness center, special fitness classes including yoga and Zumba, and several tennis courts. The community environment allows local clubs and organizations to thrive, and the Duck Woods Country Club even has its own Women's Association, Book Club, and Toys for Tots drive.
The club premises also have an outstanding restaurant on site, which serves lunch and dinner seven days a week with fresh local ingredients. Special seasonal dining events occur throughout the year for Thanksgiving, Mother's Day, Christmas and Easter, and club members are welcome to join in the festivities.
As a full-service Country Club, membership is required to attend, however special rates are provided for non-resident members. For vacationers who want to turn their vacation into a year-round lifestyle, a number of properties on the course are available for sale, allowing club residents to immerse themselves in the word of activities and amenities provided by the Duck Woods Country Club.
The Pines (Elizabeth City)
The Pines is a picturesque, semi-private golf club that veers through the Albemarle pine thickets and is renowned for its elevated greens, expansive chipping areas, and wide fairways.
An established course that's just a few miles away from the Elizabeth City downtown waterfront, The Pines was completely renovated in 2004 to include lush Bermuda fairways and A1/A4 Bentgrass greens, which were reconfigured to USGA specifications. The new design was spearheaded by Tom Clark, of Ault and Clark Associates, and the new layout and condition has drawn acclaims for its challenging but altogether fun field of play. The course is 6,700 yards, has a slope of 135 and a rating of 72.8, and features 4 sets of tees aimed for players of varying abilities. Because of a number of second shots that play uphill to elevated greens, the Pines plays noticeably longer than it actually measures.
Additional amenities at The Pines for members includes a state-of-the-art saltwater pool, renovated practice facilities, and a dining and banquet area which serves daily lunch, weekend breakfasts, and dinner on Wednesday through Saturday nights. The Pines is also available for weddings and private events, and can accommodate up to 350 guests in their spacious ballroom with adjacent outdoor patio.
Rates vary based on a weekday or weekend tee time, with special Twilight rates after 2:00 p.m., and additional discounts for juniors, seniors, and police, military and firemen. Current rates are in the $20-$50 range for 18 holes.
Secluded but close to the busy hub of Elizabeth City, The Pines showcases the Inner Banks' uplands at their best while providing a fun and challenging venue for visiting and local golfers.
The Sound Golf Links (Albemarle Plantation)
The Sound Golf Links is a gorgeous course that takes advantage of its proximity to Yeopim Creek, Frank's Creek, and the wide-open Albemarle Sound to create a challenging field of play that presents some incredible over-the-water vistas.
Designed by acclaimed course creator Dan Maples, the course features plush fairways and well-tended greens that run parallel to ancient marshes and deep cypress groves that are laced with wild growing Spanish moss. The course clocks in at 6,431 yards, and features a rating of 71.9 and a slope of 130. Each of the 18 holes, which cumulate to a par 72, is distinctively different, but the last three holes which border miles of open water are a masterful and completely scenic finish. The Sound hosts several annual tournaments, including the June Biggs Cadillac Classic, and also offers lessons and other social events for members and guests alike.
A clubhouse restaurant is also located at The Sounds, which includes an upscale Dining Room and a more casual Grille Room. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, and Sunday for breakfast / brunch. Both dining venues offer a stunning view of the Albemarle Sound, and the clubhouse can also accommodate weddings and special events.
The course is available to members, guests of members, Albemarle Plantation homeowners, and non-members, with rates that vary accordingly. Special discounts are available for active military as well. Rates range from $30 to $54 for 18 holes. A gorgeous waterfront course with a simply stunning final three holes, The Sound Golf Links lives up to its name by showcasing the natural beauty of the Albemarle Sound-bordering Inner Banks.
Chowan Golf & Country Club (Edenton)
A favorite local course since it was established in 1962, the Chowan Golf & Country Club is a semi-private golf club that's located just 7 miles from the heart of Edenton. The 18-hole course, designed by Ellis Maples, steals the scene at this extensive club with a par 72 layout that extends 6,483 yards from the championship tees, and which winds through deep clusters of southern pines, natural wetlands, and quiet brackish ponds. Consistently renovated to adhere to USGA guidelines by course superintendent Tosh Towe, the 71.8-rated course will challenge golfers of all levels while providing a pretty introduction to the Inner Banks' wild scenery.
In addition to the striking course, the Chowan Golf & Country Club features a Pro Shop that also provides lessons, rentals and club repair, extensive practice facilities that include a driving range and practice green, and a "19th hole" snack bar with a variety of beverages, snacks and sandwiches. Members also have access to the salt water swimming pool, which offers seasonal individual and group swimming lessons. The club also boasts a grand ballroom that overlooks the Albemarle Sound and which is an ideal backdrop for weddings, corporate events, banquets, or club activities and meetings for up to 175 people.
More than 200 local families are members of the Chowan Golf & Country Club, and new member applications are always welcome. Non members are also welcome to play the famed 18-hole course. Rates vary based on day of the week, and range from $32 to $38 for cart and green fees with additional costs for club or driving range bag rental. As one of the oldest courses in the region, the Chowan Golf & Country Club still thrills longtime members and Inner Banks newcomers alike with a picturesque and top-notch course that is as challenging as it is naturally scenic.
Scotch Hall Preserve (Merry Hill)
The Scotch Hall Preserve is a stunning course designed by the master, Arnold Palmer himself. The 7,262 yard, par 72 course features 11 holes that are framed by the backdrop of the Albemarle Sound, presenting incredible views as well as a challenging but completely engaging design. The course boasts a 76.0 rating, and there are five sets of tees available, ensuring golfers of all abilities can enjoy a level playing field.
This Arnold Palmer Signature Course is an up-and-comer on the golf scene, with plans in the works to add a new clubhouse with an accompanying 107 slip marina. The grand course features 900 acres of play, an expansive practice area, an on-site clubhouse, and a number of regular tournaments and events that are open to members and non-members alike. PGA certified golf professionals are also on hand to provide both private and group lessons.
Currently, members can also enjoy the fantastic on-site beach club, which boasts a pool that overlooks the sound, a spiral waterslide and playground, a large hot tub spa, a sand volleyball court, and a pool pavilion which accesses the Soundside Beach Club Grille and outdoor dining terrace. The clubhouse is a popular venue for weddings as well, with gorgeous facilities that can accommodate up to 250 guests
Provisional membership is available, but the course is open for non-members as well. Rates range from $35 to $50 for 18 holes, depending on the tee time, and tee times can be booked online. Last minute specials are often available as well for golfers who want to plan a quick getaway.
Perfectly scenic with waterfront views that are in a class all their own, the Scotch Hall Preserve is a stunning destination for golfers who want to dive into a Carolina course that's designed by the master.
The Golf Club at Eagle Creek (Moyock)
Convenient to the Outer Banks, Currituck County, Elizabeth City, and Virginia's Hamptons Roads, the Golf Club at Eagle Creek is a welcome respite for busy commuters and vacationers alike. Built in 1999 by architect James A. Overton, Jr., this links-style course features 6,178 yards of play for a par of 72. It also features a slope of 120 and a rating of 72.3. With light elevation, Bermuda greens, and stately pines providing the backdrop, the Golf Club at Eagle Creek is a pleasant retreat from the busy communities that surround its central Moyock location.
Memberships are available for around $1200 per year, and feature unlimited greens and cart access as well as special discounts at the on-site Pro shop and dining room. The club also offers lessons and instruction for members or small groups, and can cater to a variety of special events including corporate meeting, member groups, and wedding receptions. There's also a practice course on site which include a full-length driving range complete with Bermuda grass tees, a practice putting green, and a chipping green.
The new full-service restaurant at the club, The Eagle Creek Bar & Grill, features plenty of cold drinks and hearty meals to enjoy after a long day at the links. Non-members are also welcome, and frequent visitors attest that the Eagle Creek rates are some of the lowest in the area, with rates that vary from $15 to $34. Special discounts are available for juniors, military personnel and seniors. Reasonable and perfectly relaxing, The Golf Club at Eagle Creek is the perfect golfing destination for busy Outer and Inner Banks professionals and visitors alike.
Holly Ridge Golf Course (Harbinger)
Outer Banks visitors need only drive a few minutes inland to find the Holly Ridge Golf Course, an affordable and close-at-hand destination that offers vacationers a quick golfing escape.
Holly Ridge has 5,533 yards of play, with a slope of 122 and a rating of 67.5. Known locally as a solid "quick course," the 18-hole golf course with a par 71 has a few bunkers to keep things interesting, but is gentle enough for beginners as well. Despite the short-in-length design, however, the course is challenging enough to test the golf skills of more experienced golfers. The landscape is pretty and comprises of typical "Inner Banks" terrain, with a small handful of ponds and water hazards, a little sand in the landscape, and towering lines of pines providing the backdrop.
Friendly staff oversee a small clubhouse which features drinks, packaged snacks, and equipment, and lessons are available by LPGA Major Champion, Cathy Johnston-Forbes, who spent years on the women's professional tour.
The biggest draw to this course, however, is the surprisingly low rate which runs from about $15 to $30, (including golf cart rental), which varies depending on the time of day and the season. A convenient, quick, and remarkably affordable course in the heart of Currituck County, the Holly Ridge Golf Course is a great destination for golfers who need an easy-going break from the neighboring beach scene.
Kilmarlic Golf Club
The Kilmarlic Golf Club is consistently rated one of the top courses on the Outer Banks, and essentially all of North Carolina. Located just a few miles across the Wright Memorial Bridge on the Currituck mainland, Kilmarlic is an all-inclusive resort with expansive lodging, a terraced clubhouse with a grille and charming bar, and of course, phenomenal golf.
The 605 acre course was designed by golf architect Tom Steele, and comprises a large parcel of maritime forest and local Outer Banks wetlands. Golfers will find themselves surrounded by canopies of live oaks, towering pines, dogwoods, and small freshwater and saltwater ponds. Nature lovers will adore the wildlife that flocks here, including regal egrets, ibises and Great Blue Herons.
Rates are seasonal and fluctuate slightly in the summer months, but with the Outer Bank's year-round temperate climates, a good round of golf can be enjoyed in January just as easily in July. Golfers can opt for just 18 rounds, a 2-day pass, or enjoy an extended stay at one of the many vacation rentals at the course, either at the Club Cottage for groups of 8 or more, or at a number of vacation rental homes within the club's parameters.
Regardless of where you stay of how long you play, the Kilmarlic Golf Club is an ideal Inner Banks retreat offering world class golf with an Outer Banks atmosphere.
Still need to book a rental home? Find rental homes participating in The K Club, the Outer Banks premier amenity program.
Visiting a number of the courses on the Outer Banks is the best way to delve into the local golf scene, as every course is just a little different, and offers its own unique slice of the Outer Banks environment and lifestyle.
Golfers who love the coastal vibe and landscape, but want to avoid the crowds and hype that can overcome some resort destinations on the East Coast will surely fall in love with the Outer Banks. Though the area offers just a small handful of courses, the courses and clubs themselves have been designed and maintained with intricate detail to both the playability of the greens, as well as the preservation of the natural coastal setting.
This is why Outer Banks golfers can expect to play along the sand dunes, enjoy holes bordering the local saltwater sounds, or spot a great blue heron or visiting egret as they wind through the course. The Outer Banks is known for keeping things deceptively simple, and with acres of fairways tucked away behind live oaks, cedar trees and sea oats, vacationing golfers can enjoy the scenic landscape of the Outer Banks while perfecting their swing at a championship course.
Book a tee time well in advance, particularly during the June, July, and August months when Outer Banks tourism is at its peak, and enjoy a round of golf along the East Coast's most natural yet breathtaking waterfront settings.