Donald Ross Again Reigns in North Carolina Golf’s Best Courses

by | Apr 1, 2024 | Where to Play

Pinehurst No. 2 Again On Top of North Carolina Golf Panel Rankings

Pinehurst No. 2 – Donald Ross’s masterpiece – has once again secured the top spot as the best golf course in the state as determined by the North Carolina Golf Panel. Pinehurst Resort will host the 2024 U.S. Open on No. 2 for the fourth time, June 13-16. The Dogwood Course at The Country Club of North Carolina and Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club remain in the third and fourth positions, behind Grandfather Golf and Country Club in Linville. Sixteen courses from the Sandhills area are listed in the Top 100 rankings, including 13 among the Top 50.

The North Carolina Golf Panel was founded in 1995 and is recognized as the most authoritative statewide source of golf course rankings in a state that arguably boasts some of the nation’s best courses. The 185-member panel comprises golf media, club professionals and general managers from many outstanding courses, accomplished amateur players and college golf coaches, and others who actively promote golf in North Carolina.

“There’s a reason we are known around the world as the Home of American Golf,” said Phil Werz, president and CEO of the Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Golf drives our diverse economy; it’s the reason the USGA moved here, and we cannot wait to witness yet another U.S. Open in June when it will be played on the number one golf course in North Carolina—Pinehurst No. 2.”

Among the 2024 rankings of the Top 100 Courses in North Carolina, a total of 16 are located in the Pinehurst area. Those rankings include Pinehurst No. 2 (#1); The Country Club of North Carolina (Dogwood, #3); Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club (#4); Pinehurst No. 4 (#11); CCNC (Cardinal, #12); Pinehurst No. 8 (#13); Mid Pines Inn & Golf Club (#21); Dormie Club (#24); Forest Creek Golf Club (South, #32); Pinehurst No. 9 (#33); Mid South Club (#37); Forest Creek Golf Club (North, #39); Pinehurst No. 7 (#49); Pinewild Country Club (Magnolia, #67); and Southern Pines Golf Club (#69) and Talamore Golf Club (#77).


Pine Needles has earned a place amongst the country’s best golf resorts.

One course that’s not on the list is Pinehurst Sandmines. The 10th course at Pinehurst Resort – a Tom Doak design – is expected to open on April 3. Sandmines, undoubtedly, will be on next year’s list, possibly as high as Top 20.

This year, the panel also ranked the Top 50 Courses You Can Play, and the Pinehurst area once again dominated the list with 14 locations, or nearly 30 percent of the clubs, including the top seven and eight of the top 12. The top seven include Pinehurst No. 2, Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club, Pinehurst No. 4, Pinehurst No. 8, Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club, Pinehurst No. 9, and Mid South Club. Pinehurst No. 7 is 12th. Other golf clubs among the Top 50 include Southern Pines Golf Club (#18); Talamore Golf Club (#21); Pinehurst No. 6 (#34); Tobacco Road Golf Club (#38); Legacy Golf Links (#39) and Longleaf Golf and Family Club (#40).

“The Pinehurst area is like a fantasyland if you play golf and appreciate great courses,” said Kevin Brafford, executive director of the N.C. Golf Panel. “It would be akin to a fan of ballparks being able to see Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, and Dodger Stadium all in one city. That’s how blessed we are.”

Pinehurst No. 2 will host additional U.S. Open championships in 2029, 2035, 2041, and 2047. In 2029, it will once again host back-to-back men’s and women’s U.S. Open championships, repeating the only course in America to host that tandem of historic events in 2014.

For more information about all Pinehurst, Southern Pines, and Aberdeen golf courses, visit For the complete list of the Top 100 Courses for 2024, Top 50 Courses You Can Play, and other rankings, visit For additional coverage, pick up the April issue of Business NC magazine.




About the Author

<a href="" target="_self">Steve Pike</a>

Steve Pike

Steve “Spike” Pike is a lifelong journalist whose career covers Major League Baseball, the NFL, and college basketball. For the past 26 years, Spike has been one of the more respected voices in the golf and travel industries, working for such publications as Golfweek, Golf World, and Golf Digest for The New York Times Magazine Group. In 1998, Spike helped launch the website for the PGA of America. As a freelance travel and golf writer, Spike’s travels have taken him around the world. He has played golf from Pebble Beach to St. Andrews, walked the Great Wall of China, climbed an active volcano in the Canary Islands, been on safari in South Africa, and dived with sharks off Guadalupe, Baja California.