When renowned course architect Ellis Maples first laid eyes on the rolling expanse of land in the Sandhills, he knew he had found the venue for his next course. Whispering Woods Golf Club encompasses both gentle slopes and steeper hills, offering a dynamic canvas atop which Maples designed holes with stark elevation changes. Today, golfers encounter a diverse layout that showcases anything from treacherously undulating bentgrass greens to a small roller coaster for bored caddies to enjoy. Carolina pines line the edges of the fairways and greens throughout the round, stretching out their thin trunks to snag any errant shots. The end product of Ellis’s vision is an 18-hole, 6,324-yard layout described by course architect Dan Maples, Ellis’s son, as “a golf course designed with the average player in mind, but good players won’t find a pushover.”
Bowlers can pursue pin-felling prominence for two hours at Family Sports Center, strapped securely inside a pair of aerodynamic rental footwear. Send weighty orbs careening down the center or swirling in the shape of your signature on any of the alley's 32 lanes, in as many games as you can muster in two hours. Automatic scoring appears on TVs that float overhead, preventing the need for recounts and game-settling thumb wars. Children younger than 12 years old can bank lighter balls off of bumpers summoned from underground slumber. Purchase up to two additional Groupons as gifts and come as a crowd, or extend the focus from your solitaire tournament to side-by-side solo bowls.
Crooked Creek Golf Club blankets the rolling Carolina countryside with a 6,271-yard layout that challenges golfers with dramatic elevation changes and high-risk high-reward opportunities. The longer of the two halves, the front nine showcases numerous shot-making opportunities, including the drive on the par-four third hole, where golfers must choose to play it safe or try to cut the corner on a water hazard that hugs the left side.
Dramatic elevation changes await on the course’s second act, where the rolling terrain is intersected by multiple water hazards and sweeping views of the surrounding topography. After a day at the links, golfers can refuel with a cheeseburger or a platter of torn up scorecards at Club’s restaurant, The Turning Point Grill.
Course at a Glance:
A staff of golf experts roams the grounds at 401 Par Golf Inc. ready to help beginners taking their first shot on the nine-hole par 3 course or seasoned veterans shoring up fundamentals on the lighted driving range. Head pro Mike Sullivan conducts lessons for any golfer committed to improvement, evaluating areas such as fitness, short game skills, and equipment before designing a lesson plan geared toward the player’s personal goals. Inside AA Golf Clubs, the onsite fitting and repair shop, Tom Miller fits golf clubs to each player’s body type and natural swing motion. After working up a sweat, players can head in for New Orleans-style snoballs and ice cream at Pelican’s – a better method for beating the heat than punching a thermometer.
As one of the oldest courses in the Raleigh area, Raleigh Golf Association’s 18-hole course retains the same expanse of lush greenery as its 1929 prototype while benefiting from a number of refinements made during a 1998 renovation overseen by David Postlethwaite. Fairways arch over emerald waves of grass, connecting to form a 6,088-yard course dotted with mature trees and waterways. The club also encompasses a nine-hole course that is occasionally open to the public and always open to Arnold Palmer doppelgängers. A pro shop stocked with the latest golf gear and accessories beckons to golfers in need of new equipment.
Course at a Glance: