Best Public Golf Courses in Wilmington, North Carolina

Updated February 2024 to update booking information.

By now, I’m guessing you’re familiar with our course guides.  If so, you know that I love golf in the Carolinas.  I make a buddies’ trip to play back here every year. 

Even with as much as I’ve played in this part of the world though, I’m constantly reminded that I haven’t even come close to getting to know this area and its golf.  So, when one of our readers emailed me and asked what I thought about golf in the city of Wilmington, I had to be honest and tell him that I’d never been there.  One thing led to another and, with the help of all of you, I’ve compiled enough input to come up with a guide to public golf in and around the area. 

Let’s get to it.

1

Cape Fear National at Brunswick Forest

Cape Fear National at Brunswick Forest
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The unanimous opinion was that Cape National at Brunswick Forest is the place to be if you want to experience some of the best golf that Wilmington has to offer. 

Unlike a lot of courses in the Carolina’s, the natural landscape remained largely unaltered during the design.  As a result, this track’s aesthetic beauty is second to none.  Nothing manufactured about this place in the least. 

The Tim Cate design meanders through wooded areas and wetlands, and significant undulations can be found throughout. 

The staff here go above and beyond to make sure every golfer has an unparalleled experience.  No detail is overlooked from the time you arrive at bag drop, to the time you close out in the 19th hole. 

I’m putting this place on the list when I get back with the boys this coming spring.

2

Castle Bay Country Club

Castle Bay Country Club
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Nestled in the picturesque landscape of Wilmington, North Carolina, Castle Bay Country Club beckons golf fans with its true links course design, featuring penal bunkers, native grasses, and a consistent challenge from the wind. This course offers a unique adventure, emulating the traditional links courses of Scotland and Ireland.

The penal bunkers and native grasses not only add to the aesthetic appeal but also provide a true test of skill for golfers of all levels. The consistent factor of wind adds an extra layer of complexity, making each round a memorable and demanding event.

Castle Bay Country Club stands out as one of the best public golf courses in Wilmington, North Carolina, offering a true links course experience. The design and layout of the course provide a genuine representation of the classic links style, attracting golfers who seek an authentic and demanding round of golf.

Whether you’re a local enthusiast or visiting Wilmington, Castle Bay Country Club is a must-visit for those looking to test their skills on a true links course.

3

Old Pointe Golf Club

Old Pointe Golf Club 4
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Located amidst native woodlands and rolling terrain, Old Pointe Golf Club offers a captivating parkland layout featuring Paspalum putting surfaces and a rich history dating back to 1975. This old, storied course has garnered positive reviews, making it a must-visit for golf enthusiasts.

Designed by the renowned architect Donald Ross, the course presents a challenging yet enjoyable adventure for players of all skill levels. The immaculate playing surfaces, from tee to green, coupled with the picturesque surroundings, make for an unforgettable round of golf.

Old Pointe Golf Club’s welcoming atmosphere also provides the perfect setting for family and friends to enjoy a day on the course. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or just starting out, this course offers an opportunity to test your skills while taking in the natural beauty of the surroundings.

With its rich history and well-maintained grounds, Old Pointe Golf Club stands as a testament to the timeless allure of the game.

4

Ironclad Golf and Beer Garden

Ironclad Golf and Beer Garden
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Ironclad Golf and Beer Garden provides a relaxed and inviting setting for golfers and beer lovers to enjoy a casual round of golf and a wide selection of beers in a laid-back atmosphere. Located in Wilmington, North Carolina, this venue offers an open layout without blind shots, making it ideal for casual golfers seeking an enjoyable event.

Additionally, the establishment boasts a diverse range of beer choices, catering to the preferences of beer lovers.

Following a major renovation, Ironclad Golf and Beer Garden has garnered high praise for its improved facilities and overall experience. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely round of golf or a laid-back beer garden atmosphere, this location offers the perfect blend of both. It’s an excellent choice for those who want to combine their love for golf with a relaxed social setting.

5

Carolina National Golf Club

Carolina National Golf Club
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If you’re ready to take your golfing adventure to the next level after enjoying the relaxed atmosphere at Ironclad Golf and Beer Garden, then Carolina National Golf Club awaits with its breathtaking 27 holes of award-winning golf designed by Fred Couples.

Nestled in Wilmington, the club offers a romantic coastal golf event with elevation changes up to 75 feet and water coming into play on most holes, all designed to challenge and captivate.

Known for its immaculate playing surfaces from tee to green, Carolina National Golf Club offers an underrated round of golf with beautiful surroundings.

The club’s reputation for providing an enjoyable yet demanding experience makes it a must-visit for golfers seeking a visually stunning course.

With the beauty and challenge of the Lockwood Folly River and native wetlands incorporated into the design, the course is a testament to the skill of the renowned designer, Fred Couples.

Carolina National Golf Club is a gem in Wilmington, ready to elevate your golfing adventure to new heights.

6

Beau Rivage Golf and Resort

Beau Rivage Golf and Resort
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Nestled in the picturesque wooded hills of Wilmington, North Carolina, Beau Rivage Golf and Resort offers an 18-hole championship golf course set amidst rolling dunes and undulating valleys. Here’s why you should experience the Beau Rivage Golf and Resort:

  • Scenic Setting: The course is set in a stunning landscape of wooded hills, rolling dunes, and undulating valleys, providing a picturesque backdrop for your game.
  • Challenging Layout: With water in play from estuaries of the Cape Fear River and elevation changes up to 75 feet, the course offers a challenging yet enjoyable experience for golfers of all levels.
  • Smooth Greens: The putting greens are made of TifEagle, known for their smoothness and speed, ensuring a top-notch putting experience.
  • Online Tee Times: Conveniently book your tee times online, making it easy to plan your visit to this unique and picturesque Wilmington golf destination.

Beau Rivage Golf and Resort is the ideal choice for golfers seeking a championship golf adventure in a romantic coastal setting. It’s time to elevate your Wilmington golf event at Beau Rivage.

7

Wilmington Municipal Golf Course

Wilmington Municipal Golf Course
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Restored to its original design by Donald Ross and featuring a traditional layout with oak and pine trees, strategically placed bunkers, and pushed-up greens, the Wilmington Municipal Golf Course offers an affordable and quality championship 18-hole golf experience in Wilmington, NC.

After a $1.5 million renovation, the course boasts doubled greens, restored bunkers, upgraded cart paths, and tee boxes, making it a revitalized gem in Wilmington.

As a public course, it provides accessibility to all golf fans. Ranked as the 50th best course in North Carolina by the Top 100 Golf Courses of the World website, this historic course designed by Donald Ross in 1926 promises a great golfing adventure.

When planning your visit, securing a tee time at the Wilmington Municipal Golf Course is essential, as it’s a popular choice for both locals and visitors. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or just starting out, this course caters to all skill levels, making it an ideal destination for a demanding yet enjoyable round of golf.

8

Magnolia Greens Golf Course

Magnolia Greens Golf Course
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Indulge in a memorable round of golf at Magnolia Greens Golf Course, a revered 27-hole facility known for its diverse challenges suitable for all skill levels.

The welcoming atmosphere makes it an ideal destination for a golf outing with family and friends.

Recognized as one of the top public golf facilities in the southeast, Magnolia Greens has hosted several PGA Tour qualifying events.

The venue includes a full-scale nine-hole course, The Azalea Course, providing additional options for golfers to adventure different challenges.

Positive reviews and enjoyable experiences from visitors have contributed to Magnolia Greens Golf Course’s reputation as a top public golf course in Wilmington.

Magnolia Greens Golf Course offers an exceptional golfing event with its varied challenges and welcoming environment, making it a standout choice for both casual outings and serious golfers.

Whether you’re looking for a challenging round or a relaxed game with friends and family, Magnolia Greens has something for everyone.

The recognition and positive reviews further solidify its status as a must-visit golf destination in Wilmington.

9

Eagle Point Golf Club

Eagle Point Golf Club
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As you take your golfing adventures to the next level in Wilmington, North Carolina, make sure to experience the stunning coastal views and demanding layout of Eagle Point Golf Club, a notable addition to the region’s top golf destinations.

Designed by Tom Fazio, this course has earned its place among Golf Digest’s top 100 American links. Spanning 7,259 yards, the course overlooks a saltwater bay and the Intracoastal Waterway, offering a breathtaking adventure.

Since 2009, Eagle Point Golf Club has consistently secured a spot in Golf Digest’s Top 100 Courses, a testament to its enduring appeal. Fazio’s design showcases the coastal geography, with live oaks, sabal palms, and waterways creating a picturesque yet challenging setting. Notably, this course is considered Fazio’s best work, offering a unique blend of target golf and captivating natural beauty.

The Down East-style clubhouse adds to the overall charm and comfort of the experience. If you’re seeking a memorable round of golf amidst unparalleled coastal scenery, Eagle Point Golf Club in Wilmington is a must-visit.

10

Compass Pointe Golf Club

Compass Pointe Golf Club 4
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One of the newest courses in the state is located just 10 minutes from downtown Wilmington.  It’s called Compass Pointe.

Designed by North Carolina native, Rick Robbins, this layout has quickly developed a reputation as a tough track. 

While the fairways are wide, the greens are substantial and can leave you with some difficult putts if you end up in the wrong spot. 

Waste areas, bunkers, and water are prominent features so proceed with caution.

A great test that’s still enjoyable for everyone, you can’t miss a round at Compass Pointe.

Conclusion

There’s no shortage of great golf destinations in North Carolina.  With that being said, Wilmington is one that often gets overlooked.

I didn’t know much about this part of the state until our readers chimed in with their thoughts about all the great golf there is to be found.  I send my sincerest thanks to all of you that contributed. 

If you have more to add or would like to share your own experience, we’d love to hear from you below in the comments.

 

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Paul Liberatore
Paul Liberatore

As the Founder of Golfers Authority Paul Liberatore Esq. has spent the last 7+ years writing about the best golf equipment or instruction from the top golf instructors in the world. He has been a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated Golf and GolfWRX. After graduating with honors from Purdue University, he realized that he had a passion for the golf business and the law. When he's not practicing law, or creating golf content on YouTube, he can be found on his syndicated Behind the Golf Brand podcast both on Apple and Spotify talking with the most prolific leaders in the golf industry. 

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