Brad Redding invokes more than 20 years of PGA-instructing experience to guide golfers of every skill set, from novice players to Gary Players. Groups of 10 to 12 can immerse themselves in Redding's teachings, trademarked as The Plane Truth, and enjoy unlimited range balls after each session. Clinics are held on Tuesdays at 5 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m., in the first three weeks of every month, excluding January and February. Call ahead to reserve a spot.
Whispering Pines Golf Course is set back just minutes from the beach and nestled among towering pines and mature hardwoods. From the first tee, golfers descend into the serene grounds as drives trace narrow fairways past tall stands of trees that give way to hidden rough, carefully placed lakes, and several feral golf carts that hurriedly scurry back under cover. Though the course is designed to be enjoyable for golfers of all abilities, a higher-than-average slope and handicap rating from the back tees signal a test for more-experienced players. Many holes place an added emphasis on short-game accuracy, as golfers must thread approach shots through an array of bunkers before sinking putts on undulated TifEagle Bermuda grass greens that serve as homage to the architect’s beloved bean-bag chairs. A certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, the course is flush with wildlife, from squirrels and foxes who bark out polite applause to indifferent heron, stirred only by a hole-in-one or a golf bag stuffed with anchovies.
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.
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.
The water hazards at Lakewood Links may seem innocuous at first glance—until golfers realize that they are seemingly everywhere. Waterways come into play on 11 holes throughout the round, often in positions that leave golfers little room for error. On the ninth hole—a 421-yard par-four rated the most difficult on the course—a pond intersects the fairway right down the middle, making golfers think twice about hitting their driver off the tee. The par three 13th hole is the course's signature track, and for good reason: from the tee box, golfers take aim at a scenic island green stationed 173 yards in the distance. Before rounds, golfers can warm up with practice strokes at the driving range or by using their tees as chopsticks over lunch at the Bamboo Bar.
Course at a Glance: