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21 May . 2024

Fair Weather Brings People to Wilmington’s Fairways

Wilmington’s moderate climate allows for a great variety of year-round outdoor activities with golf a key driver for weekend getaways and afternoons of play.

From public courses with beautiful fairways, to challenging disc golf destinations and even a few digital golf lounges, Wilmington can provide a perfect place to perfect your swing. The following list offers destinations open to the public. That is to say, we didn’t include Country Clubs and private courses, though there are plenty of those in the area, as well

The real deal:  18- and 27-hole courses

Beau Rivage Golf & Resort

This 18-hole layout takes full advantage of the region’s pine forests with wooded hills adding challenge and beauty. Beau Rivage is among the more dramatically landscaped courses on the coast with elevations that change up to 75 feet and lots of bunkers.  Water features take full advantage of estuaries off the Cape Fear River and putting greens of ultra-dwarf bermudagrass create a consistent surface for speed and true roll.  Beau Rivage also offers a restaurant, pool, pickleball courts and overnight guest suites for a perfect stay-and-play destination.

Wilmington Municipal Golf Course

Located in Wilmington’s mid-town, this championship course was designed by Donald Ross in 1926. A celebrated golf course designer, Ross’ legacy includes Pinehurst No 2, Seminole in Florida and Oakland Hills outside Detroit, the site of the 1996 U.S. Open.  Aside from such illustrious roots, the “Muni” as it is affectionately known, offers a challenging and affordable round of golf.  Recently restored, this course earned a spot on GolfPass’ Top 100 Walking Courses in America.

Inland Greens 9-hole Couse

This 9-hole course was originally the back-nine of an 18-hole par 3 course.  Renovations converted the front nine to a park with a walking trail, bocce ball courts, picnic shelter and a playground.  The back-nine maintains the par 3 course for a good quick game.

Across the river, Brunswick County offers a few more courses available for public play. 

Carolina National Golf Club is a 27-hole, semi-private course designed by Fred Couples. Located between Wilmington and Myrtle Beach, the mecca for golf, Carolina National winds its way through low country vistas, with views of the Lockwood Folly River. 

Magnolia Greens, located in Leland, also offers 27 outstanding holes.  Having hosted several PGA and USGA qualifying events, Magnolia Greens is a local favorite and has been recognized as a top course in the Southeast.

Disc Golf, sometimes likened to frisbee golf

Disk devotees would argue that description, but nevertheless, it’s generally how the game is played.  Throwing a flying disk (not a frisbee) to a target on a course with either 9 or 18 targets.  And, yes, you can play that here!

Arrowhead Park, not far from Riverlights, offers an 18-hole short course that winds around the park, popping in and out of the surrounding woods. With some elevation changes and a mix of tight and open fairways it’s a great place to play. And you can bring your dog!

Joe Eakes Park, in Kure Beach, offers tons of recreational opportunities, including an 18-hole, par-6, well-marked course. The longest fairway is 500 feet, and the course is a registered with the Professional Disc Golf Course Association.  As is…

Trinity Disk Golf, located behind Good Hops Brewing.  Just 9 holes and a par-3 located on four scenic acres. It’s described as “a short, technical course with lots of trees,” but perhaps its greatest feature is the cold brews awaiting your games’ conclusion. 

And finally:  Virtual or Digital Golf

There are several digital golf lounges with golf simulators that can take you to world renowned courses, all with a full bar at your service.  Talk about a winning combo!

Rounds Golf & Lounge offers virtual play on 80+ courses from around the world.  The simulators challenge even the most professional players with real-time full swing high speed camera technology. 

Back Spin Social promises a library of more than 100,000 courses, with their line: “Golf in Wilmington. Play anywhere.”  Book a simulator for practicing your swing, just play a round with friends or to check out a course you’re planning to visit IRL.  

Riverlights’ own Club Golf takes it all one step further with a registered PGA Golf Pro available for lessons, and organized leagues for more competitive entertainment.  With over 80 courses available, one could play Pinehurst, Pebble Beach or St. Andrews, while perfecting their swing, drives, chips and putts. A driving range and target golf game are also offered, along with zombie dodgeball, soccer, football and carnival games.  Fun!

Golf is an undeniable part of life in the coastal south.  Even the best find its challenge irresistible.  The great Hank Aaron is rumored to have said, “It took me seventeen years to get three thousand hits in baseball. It took one afternoon on the golf course.” Still, he probably loved it.