Outer Banks, NC – Golfing in North Carolina may not be the first thing that comes to mind when the average international traveler thinks of when they are planning a sightseeing tour of America, but that doesn’t bother those who are in the know. This is not a place where jetsetters flock for the latest nightclubs; this is where vacationing families and friends come together for cookouts, crabbing, and walks on the sweeping expanses of open beachfront. Sitting on the porch and listening to the waves crash in the early evening is about as exciting as things get, and the people who like to come here are just fine with that. The easy-going, slow pace of things around here is a soothing balm to the weary city-slicking souls who come to get away from it all.
Over the past 15 years, Northern Carolina has developed another attraction to go with its mellow pace and gorgeous beaches: Golf courses have sprouted rapidly, as golf tourists lay claim to a land built for the sport.
“The golf is equal to or better than the experience you can have at bigger destinations,” said Patrick Damer, general manager at the Rees Jones-designed Currituck Club, which opened in 1996.
To be sure, the number of courses in places like the Outer Banks does not begin to compare to the plethora of daily-fee layouts in Myrtle Beach, S.C, or the resort courses in the Hilton Head area.
But golf has become an attractive alternative for summers spent along the Outer Banks, from the uniquely contoured Currituck Club that borders Currituck Sound in Corolla to the coastal feel of the Nags Head Golf Links in the southern end of the island.
Information on all the Outer Banks courses can be found at www.playobxgolf.com.
Off the Outer Banks island is a sprawling, forested course spread over 605 acres that features wetlands, giant oaks, North Carolina pines called Kilmarlic Golf Club.
“We had a fairly flat piece of property with the marshland area that allowed us to give some different looks of green grass against the marsh,” said director of golf Bryan Sullivan, who has been at Kilmarlic since its inception, or, as he said, “since they put the first shovel in the ground.”
“We tried to incorporate as much of the natural areas as we could to give it that Outer Banks feel.”
But here’s the best part about Kilmarlic for travelers: Next year, the course plans to institute a travel program that will allow golfers to be picked up at their homes and transported to and from the course. That way, Mr. Sullivan said, vacationers with just one car don’t have to worry about the golfer taking the vehicle for part of the day. This is just another simple Carolina approach so that vacationers can easily Google “car rental USA” and everyone can have a vehicle to get around.
“We’re going to do everything to make it as easy as possible to come here,” Mr. Sullivan said.
It’s already enjoyable to play golf at the Outer Banks. Now it’s getting a whole lot easier to bring the whole family out here, too.