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||story Alex Eberspaecher photography Judy Eberspaecher
North Carolina is an amazing playground of endless white beaches, lighthouses, museums, gardens and historical sites. There are attractions to suit the whole family including the legend of the first English settlement, The Lost Colony. These settlers disappeared without a trace over 400 years ago, but their story is retold every summer on the site where it took place.
There is also the Wright Brothers National Memorial dedicated to the story of man’s first powered flight. Nearby, The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum celebrates the maritime heritage of the area. There are more shipwrecks here per mile than almost anywhere else in the world.
The wind rarely stops blowing in North Carolina. March is pleasantly warm and mostly sunny by April—when the first visitors from the great white north show up with their colourful surfboards and shiny golf clubs. The snow and icy roads quickly become a thing of the past.
The blazing colours of the redbud trees, azaleas and blazing rhododendrons that line the road rejuvenate us with the anticipation of an enjoyable golf season to come.
Courses range from the most player-friendly ones (suitable to most of us - especially me) to many that can be listed in the prestigious magazines as among the top 20 of the Eastern U.S.. Playing golf, on average, is more affordable here than equitable courses in Ontario and quite often more spectacular for the scenery. The average fee in spring is about $60 while during the high season a round can cost you slightly more than a hundred. In all cases the price includes a cart.
Golf packages are often available and can be even more affordable. Some clubs have partnered with hotels and resorts. Another option might be to rent a beach house for a week. On the Outer Banks, there are plenty of deals if families like to share.
All the courses undermentioned although they may indicate they are private, are actually semi-private and guests (visitors) are as welcome as members. We visited and played the following clubs. Whilst I provide a figure for green fees, I suggest you check at the time of booking, because the cost can fluctuate within the season. Golf clubs are open year round for play.
CURRITUCK GOLF CLUB
To rent a member’s home - www.villagerealtyobx.com
This open links-style course is the northernmost island golf course on the Outer Banks. The 7000 yards of coastal terrain include towering sand dunes, wetlands and some forests. Many holes play along the water’s edge and the winds provide a changing challenge. Golf magazine awarded the course as one of the Top 10 You Can Play in N.C. The scenery is spectacular and is surrounded by new member-owned beach houses that are for rent to visitors. See club for details. Ask about discounted green fees and unlimited golf.
DUCK WOODS GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB
Southern Shore, N.C.
This is a “private” club, but the public is always welcome. Although not along the seashore, water comes into play on every hole except 8, 16 and 17. Located in a natural setting, it is sufficiently sheltered for playing on very windy days. The rates are very reasonable and start at about $50 including a cart during off-season play. Take extra balls and bug spray.
NAGS HEAD GOLF LINKS
Nags Head, N.C.
North Carolina is the site of “The Lost Colony” and Nags Head golf course is my choice of “The Lost Golf Balls.” I’m not sure if it’s my slice, the designer’s insistence to concentrate on the rugged sea shore or just the fact water comes into play on most holes. I got away with blaming the strong winds. This course is a true Scottish links-style championship course with a natural windswept landscape. It’s one of the prettiest courses I have played in the Eastern United States. At 6100 yards, it’s long. The fairways are Bermuda grass. I played purposely short, but don’t miss playing Nags Head. You certainly will not regret it.
KILMARLIC GOLF COURSE
Powell’s Point N.C.
Golf and Hotel Package at Hilton Garden Inn
The Kilmarlic course undoubtedly stands out with its unique natural beauty of the Outer Banks. Play within the 605 acres of maritime forest on 18 holes of immaculately kept fairways and greens. Lined by giant oak, pine and flowering dogwood, the course distinguishes itself not only by its beauty, but with generous fairways and gently sloping greens often surrounded by deep bunkers. Although the hot summers are somewhat tempered by prevailing winds sweeping constantly over the Outer Banks, I really could not imagine a more spectacular course to play. This is one of the finest courses I have had the pleasure of playing.
JUST THE FACTS:
Driving distance from Mississauga to Nags Head N.C.:
1330 km or about 13 hrs.
Average spring temperature:
March - 16 (high), 7 (low),
April - 21 (high), 12 (low),
May - 25 (high), 16 (low).
June - 28 (high), 20 (low).
To rent a vacation home:
|ABOVE Nags Head Golf Links
Duck Woods Golf & Country Club
North Carolina’s roadways are lined with redbud trees
Currituck is the northernmost
The author plays Kilmarlic - one of the finest