15 WNC golf links rank in NC's top 100
Five layouts among top 14
As usual, the mountains of Western North Carolina are well represented in the annual rankings of the state's top 100 golf courses.
A total of 15 layouts – including five of the top 14 – in the N.C. Golf Panel's 2009 list of top 100 courses are in WNC.
The highest-ranked local course is No. 3 Grandfather Golf & CC in Linville, one of three High Country choices in the state's top 11.
Elk River Club in Banner Elk, Jack Nicklaus' first WNC design, is No. 8 and the Donald Ross classic Linville GC is No. 11.
Buncombe County's highest-ranked course is also a famed Ross layout, Biltmore Forest CC at No. 12.
“We're delighted to be ranked inside the top 15 in the state,” said BFCC president Bill Brazil. “I've played this course for 35-40 years and you never tire of it.
“That's quite a list (of WNC courses). Grandfather is a perennial top five course - I can't think of a better layout in the state - and Linville is a fantastic Ross course.”
World-renowned designer Tom Fazio of Hendersonville built the No. 14 course, Wade Hampton GC in Cashiers.
Arnold Palmer Designs makes its first appearance on the list at No. 24, with Balsam Mountain Preserve near Sylva, chosen by the panel as Best New Course for 2009.
The panel, which consists of about 150 media members (including the author), golf industry personnel, amateur players and business leaders, had an outing at Balsam Mountain last year and came away impressed.
“Not only do I think it's the best new course in the state, I think it's one of the best, period,” said Roger Taylor of Conover. “I rate it with some of the best I've ever played.”
The other WNC courses and their rankings include: Bright's Creek in Mill Spring (No. 21); The Cliffs at Walnut Cove in Avery's Creek (31); Linville Ridge in Linville (39); Lake Toxaway CC (59); Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa (60); Mount Mitchell GC in Burnsville (67); Hound Ears in Blowing Rock (85); Boone GC (94) and Trillium Links in Cashiers (98).
For a complete list of the top 100 courses and a breakout of the top layouts by region, go to http://www.ncgolfpanel.com/.
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