Driving through the mountains of North Carolina is a popular activity, but it is not reserved to only the roads. It also extends to the numerous golf courses scattered throughout the region, where avid golfers can tee it up and drive golf balls nearly year-round.
Asheville sits in the midst of the Smoky Mountains, and there are more than 40 golf courses in the region. The weather is ideal for the sport much of the year. The cool mountain air is a pleasant contrast to the humid summer conditions found in most of the southeast, while the winters remain relatively mild, with daytime highs routinely climbing into the 50s.
And, of course, the scenery is stunning during the spring, when the flowers bloom, and the fall, when the changing leaves provide a canopy of bright colors. There are several courses that provide a picturesque complement to the surrounding scenery.
Premiere Golf Courses
The grand old dame of these can be found at the Grove Park Inn Resort. The course opened in 1899 and was redesigned in 1924 by legendary golf architect Donald Ross, who left his mark on several courses throughout Asheville. The 6,720-yard, par-70 layout emphasizes accuracy over power and is regularly ranked among the best in the nation. Playing a round during the peak season can cost as much as $150, but special rates are available and nine holes can be played for as little as $50.
Ross also designed two of Asheville’s premier private golf courses. The 6,606-yard layout at the Biltmore Forest Country Club opened in 1922 and recently underwent a $2.5 million restoration. In 1928, Ross built the 6,638-yard course at the Country Club of Asheville, with its famous clubhouse that overlooks the first fairway and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Not Only High-End
But the high-end resorts and clubs are not the only places in Asheville where golfers can enjoy Ross’ work. He also created the Asheville Municipal Golf Course in 1927. The 6,420-yard course is open and flat on the front nine, allowing golfers to pound away with their drivers, but narrows considerably on the back nine, placing a premium on accuracy. This change in design makes the course popular for both veteran and novice golfers, as does the green fees, which rarely top $20.
There are special rates for Asheville residents, including an annual pass. Golf also can be enjoyed at the Great Smokies Holiday Inn SunSpree Golf and Tennis Resort, and at The Crowne Plaza Tennis and Golf Resort, which offers a nine-hole course that was recently redesigned. Meanwhile, among the new courses still in the works is The Cliffs at High Carolina, which will be the first American golf course designed by Tiger Woods.
See where Asheville ranked on our list of Top 10 Golf Cities.