Golf has become so popular in Fayetteville that a local college even offers a bachelor’s degree in the sport.
Methodist University features a four-year Professional Golf Management program that is accredited by the PGA of America, with classes that include golf shop operations, agronomy, turf grass management, tournament operations and instructional teaching methods.
The college has a 100 percent job-placement record for students in the 24-year history of the program, with graduates going to work for companies such as Calloway Golf Co., Cleveland Golf, Mizuno, Nationwide Tour and Titleist. Away from the classroom, the Fayetteville region has more than a dozen quality golf courses and three military base courses that are closed to the public. Top area golfing venues include Anderson Creek, Bayonet at Puppy Creek, Baywood, Cypress Lake, Carolina Lakes, King’s Grant, Old Bluff and Tobacco Road, and the military courses are Ryder, Stryker and Willow Lakes. “Golf is a big deal in this area – it just seems to be getting more and more popular all the time,” says Bobby Ashburn, head professional at Baywood Golf Club.
“The weather in Fayetteville allows golfers to play year-round, and our location near Interstate 95 attracts many wintertime motorists who often stop here to play a course or two before they get back on the road to Florida. Then they often return here on their way back home to the north.” Ashburn says Baywood is especially nice because it features a championship 7,200-yard layout that is challenging yet fair to golfers of any skill level. “The course is mostly flat, and water comes into play quite a bit, plus the Bermuda grass greens are in good shape year-round,” he says.
“Our signature hole is the 17th, a par 3 that measures 165 yards from the back tees. It’s over water and almost always into the wind, and that wind always makes it a tricky tee shot.”
The 17th at Baywood is just one of several dozen signature holes that make golfing in Fayetteville such an enjoyable experience. Jon Hockaday, general manager at the Davis Love III-designed Anderson Creek Golf Club, says Anderson Creek actually features two holes that are especially interesting. “The fourth hole is an excellent par 3, with a 205-yard tee shot over water and then onto a sloping ridge going through the middle of the green that makes putting especially challenging,” Hockaday says. “Meanwhile, the 13th hole is a short par 4 at 335 yards, with the fairway well-bunkered all the way up the left side,” he adds. “Both the 4th and 13th holes are really fun to play, which is what golfing is all about throughout the Fayetteville region.”