Blog\January 2016\A Golf Course Review: Bald Head Island

A Golf Course Review: Bald Head Island

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What’s it like to play on one of the top golf courses on North Carolina’s coast? We take a look at the history, renovation, and experience behind the Bald Head Island Golf Course.  



The Bald Head Island Club golf course originally opened in 1974, and was designed by George Cobb, famous for the Par 3 course at Augusta National and over 100 other southeastern course designs. Cobb’s Bald Head Island creation has garnered a number of lofty awards over the years including “Top 10 Coastal Courses”- NC Magazine, “America’s Best Places to Play,” Golf Digest, “Carolinas 100 Must Play Courses,” Golf Styles Carolinas, “America’s Top 100 Golf Communities,” and more. 

In an understated yet exciting design, the Bald Head Island Club golf course was designed to wind its way over dunes, around lagoons, along the ocean, and through a maritime forest. Four decades later, the excitement of playing the course remains the same. 


Despite claiming numerous prestigious awards, the Bald Head Island golf course began to take a hit over the years from ocean winds and years of play. According to Robert Norton, General Manager of the Bald Head Island Club, it was time to reassess the course and its waning potential. 

“Our greens had outlived their useful life, and as time passed, some elements of the course had begun to present unfair challenges.” 

In 2007, the Bald Head Island Club chose Tim Cate, an award-winning architect, to carry out the hefty job. With his own number of national “Best of…” lists - Tim Cate had already dedicated his life to raising the bar for design excellence in coastal North Carolina and would prove to be the perfect man for the renovation.  

Under a nearly $4 million renovation, Cate kept the charm of Cobb’s original course vision, while widening the fairways and undulating the greens. Links magazine recently rated the course the second-best renovation in the country, just behind the legendary Pinehurst No. 2.

The Course

The golf course, a quick drive and ferry from Wilmington, NC, is so aesthetically pleasing now that it’s almost a completely different course.

The award-winning course sports a South Pacific theme (similar to Bali Hai in Las Vegas) with large palm trees, expansive bunkering, and plenty of water hazards to contend with. Several types of wildlife are found on the property and views of the ocean beyond the surrounding homes are seen a handful of times throughout the round. 

With a slope rating of 143 and course rating of 73.7, serious golfers enjoy the challenge and weekend warriors find it very playable from the forward tees. The Club’s relaxed atmosphere and helpful lessons offered by the pro staff make it enjoyable for families to introduce their children to the game.


Best Par 3:  8th - 173 Yards



Best Par 4:  9th - 430 Yards



Best Par 5:  11th - 513 Yards



Just a short distance from Wilmington, NC and Southport, the award-winning greens on Bald Head Island are more accessible than ever. 

Staying on Bald Head Island

By purchasing a guest membership (with golf access) you are well on your way to enjoying the finest coastal golfing experience. In order to have golf access with your guest membership you must be renting a home that has a Golf or Sports membership. For additional details, please consult your rental agent

Day Trip 

Visiting the course as a guest of a member is always welcomed at the Bald Head Island Club. Please contact the Bald Head Island Club golf shop at 910-457-7310 for all golf questions, including dress code, rates and everything in between.


Published on Sunday, January 10, 2016

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(844) 833-6320

P.O. Box 3069, Bald Head Island, NC 28461 US