GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The North Carolina Golf Panel's 2013 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.
The Panel also voted on the top dozen courses in six regions of the state, plus specialty categories such as the Best Collection of Par 3s (by course), Most Memorable Courses, Best Opening Hole, and Best Practice Facilities. All of these rankings are included in the April issue of the award-winning Business North Carolina magazine and at www.NCGolfPanel.com.
Second to Pinehurst No. 2 in the Top 100 is Grandfather Golf & Country Club, the immaculately maintained Ellis Maples gem in Linville. Third this year is a Tom Fazio design on Badin Lake in New London, the Old North State Club. Fourth is the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, a George Cobb original fine-tuned by Fazio and the site of the Wells Fargo Championship. Moving up a position to complete the top five is the Dogwood course at the Country Club of North Carolina in Pinehurst. The remainder of the top 10: Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club (Southern Pines); Elk River Club (Banner Elk); Charlotte Country Club (Charlotte); Pinehurst No. 8 (Pinehurst); and the South course at Forest Creek Golf Club (Pinehurst).
Making significant moves within the top 100 were the two courses at the Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, which were visited by panelists for the first time in nearly a decade. The Pete Dye-designed course improves from 62nd to 35th, and the Jack Nicklaus-designed course, which has 27 holes, leaps into the rankings at No. 60. The biggest splash comes from the Highlands course at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary (host of the SAS Championship on the Champions Tour), which debuts at 42nd. Also making a favorable impression is the Currituck Club in Corolla, which was visited by the panel for the first time and ranks 71st.
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.
Kevin Brafford, Executive Director, N.C. Golf Panel, 336.509.8886