GREENSBORO, NC (APRIL 2, 2012) – The North Carolina Golf Panel’s 2012 rankings of the best golf courses in what’s arguably the best state for golf are out, and as has been the case since the Panel’s debut in 1995, the revered Pinehurst No. 2 is again No. 1.
Donald Ross’s classic was restored in 2010 by designers Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw; just a few miles west of the legendary resort sits a dazzling Coore-Crenshaw original – Dormie Club – that’s the state’s Best New Course.
The Panel also voted on the top courses in six regions of the state, plus specialty categories such as the Best Collection of Par 5s (by course) and Hidden Gems (courses that are underrated). Taking a different slant, panelists also ranked the Most Influential individuals in golf among the state’s residents. All of these rankings are included in the April issue of Business North Carolina magazine and at www.NCGolfPanel.com/courserankings.cfm
Second to Pinehurst No. 2 in the Top 100 for the third consecutive year is Grandfather Golf & Country Club, the immaculately maintained Ellis Maples gem in Linville. Moving up a spot to third is the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, a George Cobb original fine-tuned by Tom Fazio; fourth is a Fazio original, the Old North State Club in New London. Completing the top five is Pine Needles, a Ross masterpiece in Southern Pines.
There was some shifting elsewhere among the top 10 as the Country Club of North Carolina’s Dogwood course improves from eighth to sixth. The remainder of the top 10, with its previous year’s ranking in parentheses: Charlotte Country Club (sixth); Elk River Club in Banner Elk (seventh); Forest Creek Golf Club (South) in Pinehurst (ninth); and Pinehurst No. 8 (12th).
In addition to Dormie Club, which debuts in the Top 100 at 22nd, the other course making a significant splash is Carmel Country Club (South) at 37th. Previously 83rd, the course underwent a Rees Jones renovation that included the creation of five new holes, making it eligible for Best New Course consideration. Other major moves in the Top 100 were made by the Meadows course at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary (72nd to 48th), Walnut Creek Country Club in Goldsboro (unranked to 80th) and the Country Club of Asheville (unranked to 81st).
The Top 100 courses are determined by a scoring system where panelists are asked to consider among these factors: conditioning, routing, design, strategy, memorability, fairness, variety and aesthetics.