North Carolina golf is on a true PGA Tour roll this summer.
First comes The PGA Championship Aug. 10-13 makes its inaugural visit to Quail Hollow Club, which played host to the Kemper Open from 1969-79, the PaineWebber Invitational from 1983-89 and has hosted the Wells Fargo Championship since it debuted in 2003. This year’s Wells Fargo Championship was played at Wilmington’s Eagle Point Golf Club.
Jordan Spieth will chase history at Quail Hollow. Fresh off becoming the second-youngest player in history to win three legs of the career Grand Slam — with a victory at the Open Championship in July — Spieth arrives in Charlotte with a chance to collect the only major trophy he's missing.
Meanwhile, the Wyndham Championship (Aug. 17-20) was founded in 1938 and is the PGA Tour’s sixth-oldest event excluding the majors. Contested annually on the Donald Ross-designed course at Sedgefield Country Club, the Wyndham Championship boasts one of the Tour’s most impressive lists of former champions, including eight-time champion Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, three-time champion Davis Love III and reigning Masters champ Sergio Garcia.
Raleigh-based McConnell Golf owns Sedgefield Country Club. During its nearly 15-year existence, McConnell Golf has earned a reputation for touching all the right bases through its stable of 12 private clubs, including Providence Country Club located only 10 miles from Quail Hollow. The company’s member-first, high-quality approach includes a wide variety of locations throughout the Carolinas from the mountains to the coast and now into Tennessee, as well as an honor roll of golf course architects — legendary names including not only Arnold Palmer and Greg Norman, but also Ross, Pete Dye, Tom Fazio and Hale Irwin.
Equally impressive is the list of tournament championships hosted annually by McConnell Golf courses. The company’s 2017 calendar of events is particularly impressive, featuring 18 professional, collegiate, amateur or elite junior level events.
McConnell Golf now stands as arguably North Carolina’s most recognizable golf brand this side of Pinehurst. Meanwhile, in the “Birthplace of American Golf,” one longtime local favorite Talamore Golf Resort has undergone some dramatic improvements and upgrades.
Talamore first made headlines for its famed stable of llama caddies and unparalleled customer service. Today, Talamore has grown to become one of the Sandhills’ premier golf getaways — which is why more than 90 percent of the resort’s customers return or refer new business.
Last summer, a quarter century after this popular Sandhills resort first opened, the green complexes at Talamore were converted from bent grass to Champion Bermuda and have received rave reviews. The Talamore green complexes were restored to their original 1991 Rees Jones design by recapturing the greens surrounds. Talamore’s latest line of upgrades also included a renovation of the Talamore clubhouse and golf course — now named, appropriately, The New Course at Talamore — unique resort activities such as weekly Pig Pickins’ at the Talamore Pavilion and Southern breakfast buffets in the resort’s popular Sodfather’s Grille.
Now, Talamore’s partner property across the street at the Palmer-designed Mid South Club is undergoing a similar golf course restoration and greens conversion, along with many other club enhancements. In all, these projects are among $6 million in capital improvements at Talamore’s four North Carolina and Pennsylvania facilities.
Finally, golf is also wildly popular along the North Carolina coast. No where is this more true than in the storied Outer Banks, where seashore isolationism allowed the Wright brothers to create manned flight and the same privacy enabled wild Spanish mustang horses to form a unique habitat on similar sandy soil.
“Away from it all” is how you’ll feel when you tee it up on any one of the outstanding golf courses located in the OBX. But don’t think for a moment that this coastal destination is bereft of things to do once your group’s round of golf is complete.
When not standing on a green or tee box looking out across the ocean or a sound, you’ll be busy living the good life in quaint villages and towns with funky names like Currituck, Corolla, Coinjock, Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Duck and Kitty Hawk. From true barrier island links courses to modern parkland marvels located inland, the region is so chock full of variety, you truly don’t have to go anywhere else. The challenges are as spectacular as the coastal views they possess.
The Currituck Club, routed by Rees Jones, rolls across diverse coastal terrain with sound-side views distinctly its own on the northern end of the barrier island. Nags Head Golf Links, crafted by Bob Moore, plays hard along the inner waterway on the southern end, where coastal winds and rugged shoreline combine, in true Scottish fashion, to create a unique golfing experience each and every day.
The OBX golf experience is enhanced by three other courses on the northern mainland but certainly worth leaving the island to go play. The Carolina Club and The Pointe Golf Club form a pair of the most immaculately manicured and impeccably conditioned golf courses around. Located minutes from the Wright Brothers Bridge amidst 605 beautiful acres of maritime forest, Kilmarlic Golf Club is nestled along the sprawling wetlands of the Albemarle Sound. As home to the 2004 and 2009 North Carolina Opens, Kilmarlic also hosts the Old Dominion/Outer Banks collegiate championship each autumn.
If you are visiting North Carolina in August to watch some world-class golf and decide you want to play some world-class courses, the Tar Heel State has you well covered.