Here's a sampling of some of the best public and semi-private courses in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. The Triangle benefits from its three top universities, as each offers public access to beautiful and challenging courses of the caliber usually reserved for private clubs.
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Duke Golf Club / Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club
This rolling golf course located on the Duke campus opened in 1957. It winds in and around Duke Forest and was the host of the 2001 NCAA Men's Golf Championship. This course, which features a driving range, six putting and chipping greens, seven sand bunkers and eight target greens was designed by Robert Trent Jones (and redesigned by his son Rees in 1994). Guests of the hotel and Triangle residents receive special rates. Tee times are available 14 days in advance.
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Finley Golf Course at UNC Chapel Hill
The UNC golf course is located just south of the campus in Chapel Hill. It's named for Raleigh businessman A.E. Finley, who funded its construction, and was designed by George Cobb. Opened in 1949, the Finley course got an overhaul and reopened in 1999. It was the site of the NCAA Men’s Regional Championships in 2015.
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Lonnie Pool Golf Course at NC State University
Opened in 2008, this course has views of the Raleigh Skyline and NC State's Centennial Campus. It was designed by golfer Arnold Palmer and is named for its benefactor, businessman Lonnie Poole. Tee times for the general public are available a week in advance.
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The Preserve at Jordan Lake Golf Club
This semi-private club has won a number of awards, including one from Golf Week as "One of America's 100 Best Residential Golf Courses." Designed by golfer Davis Love III, this course is an Audubon Society sanctuary. It's west of Raleigh, overlooking Jordan Lake. Tee times are available 7 days in advance for non-members.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
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Falls Village Golf Course
This course, opened in 1999, is near Raleigh Durham Airport and Research Triangle Park. It has five sets of tees and 18 holes with varying levels of elevation and difficulty.
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The Neuse Golf Course
John LaFoy designed this 18-hole course that opened in 1993. Located just outside Raleigh in Clayton, Neuse was named "Best New Public Golf Course" by Golf Digest magazine. Tee times for the general public are available 5 days in advance.
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Occoneechee Golf Club
This is a family-owned, semi-private course located in Hillsborough that opened in 1963. It's sort of a local secret so the pace of play is great even on Saturdays. There are special rates for Junior and Senior golfers. The general public can make tee times five days in advance.
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This par 71 course in Raleigh was designed by 1992 U.S. Open champion Tom Kite and opened in 2000. It's owned by the Fred Smith Company.