Fayetteville's Golf Bragging Rights
Why Fayetteville North Carolina Should Be On Your Golf Bucketlist
By Dave Daubert
The Sandhills of North Carolina, home to the Pinehurst Resort with its nine beautiful championship courses is the unquestionable epicenter of the game in the Tar Heel State. In fact, it is the 'Home of American Golf.' The roads leading away from the famed resort seem reluctant to give up on golf as well. A good many golf clubs ranging from centerpiece courses in upscale communities to local municipal layouts scatter out in all directions. Each one promising bonus play for those seeking that salve to soothe their golf itch while swinging their way through the state.
This is particularly true for travelers driving east from the destination. Luring players in the direction of the rising sun of Fayetteville and Cumberland County, where the most honorable definition of "military golf" abounds. With its location right off Interstate 95(as it slices through North Carolina from north to south), Fayetteville has golf courses that are easier to access from the big cities along the East Coast than its isolated neighbor situated an hour or so deeper inland. As the precise midway point for interstate travel between the Northeast and Florida, Fayetteville also has plenty of accommodations for the different pocket-books of its visiting golfers and hundreds of dining options. Whether driving north to escape the relentless heat & humidity of the extended summer in Florida, or 'getting out of dodge' to find fairer weather without snowplows, shovels, parkas, gloves and no golf, Fayetteville is the perfect respite for travelers to or from these extremes.
In terms of variety, Fayetteville's golf arsenal also has an advantage. Though the majority of its golf courses share many of the landscape characteristics that its famous neighbor has been blessed with, a few possess a style distinctly their own. That is because the sprawling city cuts across a transition zone from the coastal plain into the soft rolling crest of the sandhills. This changing topography afforded world-class architects tremendous backdrops upon which to sculpt their works. So with 10 outstanding layouts to add to the state's potent lineup, the game is well represented across the state's most sterile of habitats. The unique microclimate keeps things a little cooler and less humid than most other North Carolina regions, making it a great place to play any time of the year.
Fayetteville's golf offerings are distinctly different. It is more influenced by a bigger commitment in town, that of national security. The city is home to Fort Bragg, a major U.S. Army installation and the nation's largest population military base. In the more than 100 years since the fort was established, the city and U.S. Military have been inextricably linked, and the spillover has even flowed into the golf courses around town.
In terms of prestige, the course that likely solidified Fayetteville as a golf destination is Anderson Creek, a remarkable 1st design of University of North Carolina graduate, 1997 PGA Championship winner and Ryder & Presidents Cups Captain Davis Love III. But it takes a strong foundation to build a solid structure and that is where classic layouts such as Cypress Lakes, Gates Four, Bayonet at Puppy Creek, Keith Hills and pair of courses on base at Fort Bragg(Stryker and Ryder) validate Fayetteville's entry into the golf travel market.
Located less than 10 miles from Fort Bragg's front gates, Anderson Creek, Davis' first foray into golf course design in his native state located in an upscale gated community, is a groundbreaking achievement with a lot of Donald Ross influence named the state's "Best New Course" in 2001. The greens were designed to recreate the classical nature of Sandhills golf as they provide large roll-off areas and significant undulations.
Ideally situated just minutes off I-95 exit 41, Cypress Lakes Golf Club is the original home to the Floyd Family(including 4-time Major Champion Ray Floyd) and is a delightful design that is starkly different from anything in the region. It winds through and around a number of picturesque ponds surrounded by mature cypress trees, Designed by Stuart Gooden in 1968, Cypress Lakes was lengthened recently to test the modern game while retaining the spirit of a simpler time.
Holding down the fort south of the city, Bayonet at Puppy Creek Golf Club pays tribute to the military. The traditional William Byrd design is routed along the rolling terrain that borders the sandhills and is fed by its namesake Puppy Creek that comes into play on a few holes. The course prides itself on great conditions due in large part to the years of turf-grass experience through the ownership of Carolina Turf Farms, Inc. A great value with superb conditions. Built by golfers for golfers.
To the north is Keith Hills Golf Club, an original pair of Dan and Ellis Maples courses that have been streamlined into three outstanding nines set along the Cape Fear River. Characterized by wide fairways and thick rough in the high season, the holes play up to greens that are large and sloped. A number of elevated tee boxes make for dramatic tee shots as they allow players to stare down across rolling wooded terrain.
Rounding out Fayetteville's golf offerings are Baywood Golf Club, a Gooden design that stretches out to 6,763 yards with new ownership, Carolina Lakes is a fun playable course a few miles north. The Highland Country Club is the one private club in the area. Kings Grant Golf & Country Club is a semi-private 6,300-yard layout in a gated community very playable with great vistas throughout. For the dedicated players, Carver's Falls Driving Range is run by the Badgett family and a fun place to hone your game. VisitFayettevilleNC.com/golf for more information.
Revised: 02/08/2021 - Article Viewed 6,617 Times
About: Dave Daubert
David has been writing about golf since the turn of the century. He was Managing Editor at a regional golf magazine for 11 years, published in Canada, the IAGTO and a Staff Writer for The Georgia Golf Trail. His insightful perspective brings golf to life.