Cleaved into a dense forest of long-needle pines, Beau Rivage Golf & Resort’s course takes golfers careening across 18 holes of immaculate fairways as they gently undulate into picturesque elevation changes. Towering tree lines, tight doglegs, and intervening water hazards haunt golfers throughout the round, forcing clubbers into multiple blind shots and at least one shot from a tree canopy.
Suites stretching to 900 square feet, replete with a separate common area, kitchenette, and in-room wet bar, overlook the verdant greens. Private patios and balconies proffer views of the lush course, and the hotel's 19th Hole bar and lounge serves libations and heaping helpings of trivia and karaoke. The resort ensures days start off right, dishing out hot breakfast at the Verandah Bar & Grill at 7 a.m. and encouraging warm-ups on the 10,000-square-foot putting green and elevated driving range.
Echo Farms Golf & Country Club evokes the links-style courses of Scotland on its 18-hole championship golf course. That’s because renowned British architect Ian Scott Taylor worked his magic on the original design, improving everything from landscape to length. Tiff-eagle bermuda grass greens provide a challenge for players of all stripes, and the adjacent Cape Fear River adds a natural obstacle throughout play. Elsewhere, the country club offers five tennis courts and a competitive-sized swimming pool.
At Azalea Sands Golf Club, a waterless hole doesn't come into play until the tenth hole, and only three are found throughout the course. However, those players piqued by the prospect of challenge will find their niche along the 18-hole layout. First opened in 1972 and revamped in 2009, the course pits players against its mix of ponds, fairway- and green-side bunkers, and surrounding forest—a natural setting unmarred by the presence of housing developments or busy streets filled with traffic of escaped golf carts.
Course at a Glance: