North Carolina's top golf courses

By Kevin Brafford, North Carolina Golf Panel executive director

Golf hews closely to tradition, so it’s not surprising that — for the 18th-straight year and despite a major facelift that was completed last spring — the North Carolina Golf Panel has named Pinehurst No. 2 the best course in the state. Although not as old as No. 2, Business North Carolina is also forging quite a history with the panel, as this is the sixth-straight year its ranking of the best 100 Tar Heel courses appears in the magazine.

But while golfers do appreciate a legacy, they’re not afraid to reward change — as long as it’s for the better — as evidenced by the shifts in this year’s list. Dormie Club in West End, designed by the Austin, Texas-based firm Coore & Crenshaw Corp., not only took home the Best New Course award, it ranks as the 22nd best layout in its rookie year. Carmel Country Club’s South Course in Charlotte soared from No. 83 to No. 37 after its renovation.

The panel is a 135-member organization that includes journalists, golf professionals, college coaches, noted amateurs and business leaders. The top 100 is determined by a scoring system that considers conditioning, routing, design, strategy, memorability, fairness, variety and aesthetics. Panelists can only vote for courses they’ve played. Per usual, the panel threw in a few additional categories to stir up debate and, as it does every five years, pays homage to the most influential figures in Tar Heel golf.

View a full list of the state's 100 top golf courses and best courses by region here.

Once under a mountain of debt, a golf development near Sylva has a new owner, new business model and new hope.

A Q&A with golf-course designer Tom Fazio.