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Best Public Golf Courses in Raleigh

By Kris Hart

Raleigh is a great market for golf and a very unique since 3 of the top 5 public golf courses in the area are located on college campuses. If you happen to be a student in the Raleigh/Durham area, you are very lucky to have great public golf courses and facilities located right on campus. No matter where you live in the city, there are good options in all directions for golfers looking to play at great courses. Below is a list of the best public golf courses in Raleigh. To be considered for the list, courses need to be at most 45 minutes from city center since that is our barometer on how far someone would drive on a normal weekend day to play a round of golf.

1) Duke University Golf Club – Durham, NC - 34 minutes from City Center – The Duke Golf Club has been named one of the top courses in the Southeast. This public course is a Robert Trent Jones Sr, and Reese Jones design. I think the designers said it best, “It is a work of art that is a singular masterpiece and one that will leave you with the distinct impression”. The course is typically in fantastic shape, has an awesome layout, and has 5 sets of tees which make the game fun for any type of golfer. The Duke University Golf Club is the most expensive of the three university courses we highlight and greens fees are $100 for the general public and $65 for students on the weekends. You can even stay the night overlooking the 18th green at the Washington Duke Inn. Learn more about the Duke Golf Club.

UNC Finley Golf Club

2) UNC Finley Golf Club – Chapel Hill, NC - 31 minutes from City Center – This is one of the best public courses in Raleigh after the redesign of the course in 1999 by George Fazio. UNC Finley has been able to host numerous collegiate tournaments including the annual Men’s and Women’s Tar Heel Invitational, as well as the NCAA Men’s Regional Championships in 2015. The cost to play the course is $90 on the weekend and $65 for students. The course is well manicured, always in good shape and has the feel of an expensive private course. The course has a great layout with some fantastic bunkering which helps challenge your skills, imagination and mental capacity. Learn more about UNC Finley.

3) Pine Hollow Golf Club – Clayton, NC - 20 minutes from City Center – If you are looking for the best value
public golf course in Raleigh, Pine Hollow is your place. The greens fees at the course are only $44 on the weekends and $32 on weekdays. Although the course is a bit on the shorter side (6508 yards from the back tees), the facility has a great layout and is very fun to play for golfers of all abilities. There are a good mix of holes from long to short par 3's and par 5's and the greens always seem to be in great condition. The course has over 100 reviews on golf advisor and gets over 4.6 stars which is pretty solid! Learn more about Pine Hollow.

Lonnie Poole best public golf in Raleigh

4) Lonnie Poole Golf Course – Raleigh, NC - 10 minutes from City Center – This public golf course is located on the
campus of NC State. The location of this facility is prime if you live in the city of Raleigh since you can get to the course in about 10 minutes. Greens fees at Lonnie cost $85 on the weekend for the general public and $55 for students. The course offers many different membership packages and annual/monthly plans for players as well. The cool thing about Lonnie Poole is that you can see the city skyline from the course. The course was designed by Arnold Palmer and is still managed by Arnold Palmer Golf Management. The layout and overall experience at the course are fantastic which is proven by the numerous awards the course wins on an annual basis from Golfweek, Golf Digest, Golf Advisor and many more. Learn more about Lonnie Poole. 

Want To Play Tournaments At Great Courses Like UNC Finley? >> Check out the  Raleigh City Tour >>

5) Heritage Golf Course – Wake Forest, NC - 25 minutes from City Center – Heritage is rated by golf digest as a 4.5 out of 5 and one of the best public golf courses in the Raleigh area. The course is located conveniently North of the city in the Wake Forest district. The greens fees at the course are $78 on the weekend and $58 during weekdays which is aligned with the costs to play other top public golf courses in the area. Heritage is a semi private course which is known for its hospitality and fun atmosphere. The greens at the course were replaced in 2014 and Heritage offers a very generous practice facility including an 8000 square ft putting green. Learn more about Heritage

I hope this helps you find a great public golf course to play in the Raleigh area. Have some courses that you love that should be included on this list? Email oliver@nextgengolf.org with your suggestions. 

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