10 best affordable golf courses in North Carolina

10 best affordable golf courses in North Carolina

Photo courtesy of Peter Drew via Unsplash.

By Ryan Pitkin

June 24, 2024

Here are 10 affordable golf courses around North Carolina where you can get 18 in on the cheap.

North Carolina has been in the spotlight this spring when it comes to professional golf, with the Wells Fargo Championship taking place at Charlotte’s Quail Hollow Club, followed by the US Open in Pinehurst in June. 

Rory McIlroy came within a stroke of winning both, having taken home the top prize at the Wells Fargo Championship but losing out to Bryson DeChambeau the following month at the Pinehurst Resort and Club. 

McIlroy’s one-stroke differential with Open winner DeChambeau meant he took home nearly $2 million less than he could have, but having won $2,322,000, we don’t think he’s complaining—he likely hasn’t spent the $3.6 million he took home from Charlotte in April. 

We don’t all make that sort of money for a week’s work—or a lifetime’s for that matter—but you’d need something close to it to get on the course at either Quail Hollow or Pinehurst. So where are the courses where you can play your most picturesque 18 holes without having to put up the scratch of a pro golfer to get on? 

We’ve compiled just such a list, moving west from the mountains to the coast so that you can find one closest to you. 

*Rates may change based on season, day of the week, use of a cart and a number of other factors. 

**Ratings are for each location’s most difficult course or tee boxes

10 best affordable golf courses in North Carolina

Asheville Municipal Golf Course, courtesy of Bill Fitzpatrick via CC BY-SA 3.0.

Best affordable golf courses in Western North Carolina

Laurel Ridge Country Club

49 Cupp Lane, Waynesville

Course rating: 72.4

Slope rating: 146

Cost to play 18 holes: $65

Built in 1986 by renowned golf course architect Bob Cupp, Laurel Ridge offers every challenge expected of a mountain course, but with a delicate balance of fairness and playability. The hills, inclines, and rolling meadows tested Cupp’s design ability and the construction engineering genius of course builder Jim Holmes. But the end result is both obvious and demanding, even for the scratch golfer. 

Perhaps the best part of this course for anyone used to golfing down in the Piedmont or closer to the coast: At Laurel Ridge, the average temperature is 70 degrees in the summer. 

Asheville Municipal Golf Course 

226 Fairway Dr.

Course rating: 71.1

Slope rating: 122

Cost to play 18 holes: $80

To our knowledge the only course on this list that’s included on the National Register of Historic Places, this classic layout was designed by famed course architect Donald Ross in 1927. At 6,440 yards from the back tees, the course isn’t long by today’s standards, but it proves that length does not make a great course. 

Cross Creek Country Club

1129 Greenhill Road, Mount Airy

Course rating: 72.7

Slope rating: 138

Cost to play 18 holes: $65

Nestled at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this course has been voted among the Top 100 Golf Courses in North Carolina thanks to its picturesque fairways and undulating greens that create a true challenge for all golfers.

A recent Kris Spence renovation updated the putting surface with an A-1 and A-4 blend of lush bent grass, while 68 strategically placed bunkers and seven bodies of water throughout the course add to the scenery—just don’t hit at ‘em. 

Best affordable golf courses in the Piedmont

Harry L Jones Sr. Golf Course

1525 W. Tyvola Road, Charlotte

Course rating: 75.8

Slope rating: 126

Cost to play 18 holes: $50

Located atop a landfill just minutes from the airport, this municipal course was named for the beloved county manager who passed away in 2017. Four sets of tees provide a mix of distances that are suitable for all levels of play.

Skybrook Golf Club

14720 Northgreen Drive, Huntersville

Course rating: 74.1 

Slope rating: 137

Cost to play 18 holes: $85

This John LaFoy Championship course opened for play in the summer of 2000. With rolling fairways and incredible scenic views, the golf course winds through the Skybrook community just north of Charlotte. 

New ownership came on in 2019, implementing several course projects such as the installation of new MiniVerde Bermudagrass greens. Dramatic elevation changes and generous landing areas provide a friendly yet challenging round of golf. 

Forest Oaks Country Club

4600 Forest Oaks Drive, Greensboro

Course rating: 75

Slope rating: 142

Cost to play 18 holes: $59

A PGA Tour stop dating back to 1962, architect Ellis Maples designed this course to be one of the most challenging courses in a state renowned for its golfing prowess. This semi-private course, long the home of the Greater Greensboro Open, was ranked by the NC Golf Panel as the 13th-best course available for public play in the state. 

Lonnie Poole Golf Course

1509 Main Campus Drive, Raleigh

Course rating: 74.7

Slope rating: 142

Cost to play 18 holes: $85

The legendary Arnold Palmer designed this course on the NC State University campus alongside members of his Arnold Palmer Design Company, which included NCSU grads Erik Larsen and Brandon Johnson. 

Though built as a venue for the university’s men’s and women’s golf teams, it’s also a public course that has become a local favorite due to its breathtaking views of the Raleigh skyline and the world-renowned Centennial Campus. 

Best affordable golf courses in Coastal North Carolina


105 Scotch Hall Court, Merry Hill

Course rating: 77.1

Slope rating: 146

Cost to play 18 holes: $90

This award-winning Arnold Palmer Signature course covers 7,262 yards with seven sets of tees. Occano offers terrific views and challenging play for golfers at every skill level. Well-groomed fairways and greens keep Occano difficult yet friendly, and the staff can offer tips and tricks for playing your best round.

The Pearl Golf Links

1300 Pearl Blvd., Calabash

Course rating: 73.5

Slope rating: 134

Cost to play 18 holes: $75

Made up of 27 holes designed by Dan Maples amongst the woods and marshes along the Calabash River, The Pearl offers three distinctly different 18-hole golf experiences: The Pearl East, The Pearl West, and The Pearl North. The Pearl opened in 1987 and was quickly ranked among Golf Digest’s top places to play. 

Wilmington Municipal Golf Course

311 Donald Ross Drive, Wilmington

Course rating: 73.3

Slope rating: 140

Cost to play 18 holes: $44

The Wilmington Municipal Golf Course was designed by Donald Ross in 1926 to provide the public with a quality, championship 18-hole golf course. Recently restored to the Donald Ross original design by doubling the greens and restoring the bunkers along with upgrading golf cart paths and the tee boxes, this revitalized gem was on GolfPass’ Top 100 Walking Courses in America and named the 50th best course in NC by the “Top 100 Golf Courses of the World” website.

This article first appeared on Good Info News Wire and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.10 best affordable golf courses in North Carolina10 best affordable golf courses in North Carolina


  • Ryan Pitkin

    Ryan Pitkin is a writer and editor based in Charlotte, where he runs an alternative weekly newspaper called Queen City Nerve. He is also editor of NoDa News, a community newsletter in the neighborhood where he has lived for 15 years.

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