The Carolinas ‘Second Season’ is Prime Time for this Favorite Pastime.
by Shane Sharp
The fall is golf’s “second season” throughout the Carolinas. High temps in the 70s and lows in the 50s mean course conditions are peaking from the beach to the mountains. Bermuda and Zoysia grass fairways are hanging on to their green hue while bentgrass greens are flourishing. With more than 220 days of sunshine, and average precipitation below four inches each fall month, golfers are almost guaranteed a full-18.
What’s more, North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina serve up some of the Southeast’s most stunning fall foliage. These five golf destinations offer bang for the buck, sublime conditions and are easily accessible via the Carolinas’ highways and byways.
This 36-hole resort with its recently re-imagined hotel conveniently located off I-85 is one of the state’s best kept golf secrets. Golfers can experience both the East and West courses – wrought by Gary Panks – over the course of two days while bedding-down in elegant AAA Four Diamond digs.
Fall golf at Rumbling Bald Resort
A short drive from most major North and South Carolina cities, Rumbling Bald’s two mountain-style courses are the epitome of fall golf. Apple Valley is a Dan Maples design that’s spacious off the tee but demanding on approach shots. Bald Mountain is shorter, sporty and conveniently located near onsite lodging.
Rumbling Bald is also perfect for side trips deeper into the Blue Ridge Mountains for hiking or sightseeing. Situated on the north end of Lake Lure, water sports are still in-play well into October. The resort offers a fall-foliage focused golf package, starting at $290 and including two nights’ lodging, two rounds of golf, range balls and breakfast.
Pinehurst Resort’s No. 4 Course
Okay, so the longleaf pines of North Carolinas’ Sandhills region aren’t exactly resplendent with fall color. But hey, it’s the Pinehurst Resort. This timeless golf haven, one of the top golf destinations in the world, isn’t resting on its reputation, either. The new No. 4 course re-opened to rave reviews in the fall of 2018, and the like-new Cradle short-course is perfect for families, couples and settling bets.
Home to 10 courses and three AAA Four Diamond hotels, Pinehurst’s Manor Inn just reopened following a multi-million-dollar facelift. Now, golf groups have a true place to call home. It features two private hospitality suites with room for 20 that can be reserved for the entire length of stay. The new North and South Bar serves a curated selection of whiskies, cocktails and craft beers from the PBC.
New ownership has Cherokee Valley positioned as one of the Upstate’s only true stay-and-play destinations. Cottages conveniently situated across from the clubhouse are ideal (and affordable) for golf packages. A new, full-service restaurant is opening this fall featuring a Blue Ridge Mountain gastropub theme. Just 30 minutes from Greenville, S.C. and 45 minutes from Asheville, N.C., Cherokee Valley is an optimal basecamp for exploring the Western Carolinas.
Golf at Furman Golf Club
For golfers looking to experience two of the best college courses in South Carolina, school is in session. Both the Furman Golf Club and Walker Course at Clemson University are open to the public and are incredible values (especially if walking 18 in the afternoon). Located 45 minutes apart, visitors can spend the night in Greenville or Clemson and soak up fall in two of the Upstate’s most eclectic cities.