The North Carolina Golf Panel’s (NCGP) ranking of the “Top 100 Golf Courses in the State” is out, and Champion Hills has moved up four spots from last year’s list to 35th in the state. The full list was unveiled at Business N.C. earlier this week.
The NCGP Top 100 is comprised of both public and private courses, of which there are over 600 in the Old North State. The vaunted list includes U.S. Open Anchor Site Pinehurst No. 2 at Pinehurst Resort, storied Grandfather Golf and Country Club, Pine Needles Lodge and Club (host of the 2022 Women’s U.S. Open), and Quail Hollow Club (site of the 2022 President’s Cup), as well as other noted Western N.C. courses like Wade Hampton Golf Club and Mountaintop Golf and Lake Club.
“North Carolina is one of the best states for golf in the U.S., and the NCGP’s rankings are respected from the mountains to the coast,” says our PGA Head Professional Scooter Buhrman. “We’re honored to be ranked once again and look forward to an exciting year ahead.”
Founded by beloved public relations specialist Bill Hensley who passed away in 2022 at 96, the NCGP consists of approximately 175 members from the mountains to the coast. Since its inception, it has emerged as the authoritative source of golf rankings in a state that boasts many of the country’s most highly-regarded layouts. The panel’s unique composition includes media, club professionals, general managers, accomplished amateur players, prominent business figures, and others who actively promote golf in North Carolina.
Published annually in Business North Carolina, the rankings are determined by a scoring system in which panelists consider these factors, among others: routing, design, strategy, memorability, fairness, variety and aesthetics. Panelists can vote only for courses they’ve played. In addition to the Top 100, they also vote on the “Top 50 You Can Play,” plus the best dozen courses in each of seven regions in the state. For 2022, there are two specialty rankings: “Best Shorter Courses” (under 6,500 yards) and “Best Resorts.” All current rankings will be posted at NCGolfPanel.com.
One fact that wasn’t lost on the panel: Champion Hills is Fazio’s former home course and club. The legendary golf course architect devised a brilliant route wending through heavily forested hills, deep ravines and cool mountain streams in a scenic Blue Ridge Mountain setting. He and his team of shapers pulled ridges into valleys and filled hollows to create “playing platforms,” providing golfers with level lies amid 350 feet of elevation change.
When it comes to course rankings, Champion Hills is demonstrating it doesn’t all come down to length. We’ve moved up significantly over the past three years in Golfweek's “Top 200 Residential Golf Courses in the U.S.,” and continued enhancements planned for 2023 and beyond will further elevate playability and conditioning. We’re also one of the few golf courses in the Carolinas to feature five sets of tees rated for women, responding to the growth in this rapidly expanding player segment.