April 17, 2020 — Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s No. 4 course re-opened to rave reviews in the fall of 2018. Members of the North Carolina Golf Panel saw it for the first time last summer and were duly impressed as well.
How impressed? So much so that Gil Hanse’s new design of one of the resort’s flagship courses landed in the ninth spot — up from 19th — in the 2020 rankings of the state’s Top 100 courses.
“The landscape now resembles what most believe Donald Ross saw when he walked this land more than 100 years ago,” says Kevin Brafford, the panel’s executive director. “The new No. 4 has a lot of ‘old’ to it. The vistas and the rolling topography are stunning. This golf course is a shotmaker’s dream.”
This marks the 25th year that the N.C. Golf Panel has rated courses in what’s widely regarded as one of the best states for golf in the country.
As has been the case every year, Pinehurst No. 2 leads the Top 100. Grandfather Golf and Country Club (Linville) and Mountaintop Golf and Lake Club (Cashiers) retain their second and third rankings from the previous two years.
Making their first appearances in the Top 100 in years are two classic designs that have benefited from recent extensive renovations: Providence Country Club in Charlotte (No. 79) and the championship course at Tanglewood Park in Clemmons (No. 82).
Founded in 1995 by public relations specialist Bill Hensley, the N.C. Golf Panel consists of more than 185 in-state residents from the mountains to the coast.
The annual rankings, which first appear each April in Business North Carolina magazine, are determined by a scoring system where panelists consider these factors, among others: routing, design, strategy, memorability, fairness, variety and aesthetics.
In addition to the Top 100, panelists also vote on the Top 50 You Can Play, plus the best dozen courses in each of six regions in the state.
For 2020, there are two specialty ballots (courses ranked by region): Best Bang for the Buck and Best Greens Complexes. All of current rankings can be found at NCGolfPanel.com.