FAYETTEVILLE'S GOLF BRAGGING RIGHTS
The Sandhills of North Carolina – Pinehurst Resort with its nine pristine golf courses to be specific – is the unquestionable epicenter of the game in the state, in the Eastern United States, in the entire nation for that matter. Hence, the destination has become to be known as the “Home of American Golf.”
The roads leading away from the famed resort seem reluctant to give up on golf as well. A good many layouts ranging from centerpiece courses in upscale golf communities to local municipals scatter out in all directions. Each one promises bonus play for those seeking even more salve to soothe their golf itch while swinging their way through the Tar Heel State. This is particularly true for travelers driving east from the destination. Luring players in the direction of the rising sun is the city of Fayetteville and Cumberland County, where the most honorable definition of “military golf” abounds.
With its location right off Interstate 95 (as it slices through North Carolina from north to south), Fayetteville has golf courses that are actually easier to access from the big cities along the East Coast than its isolated neighbor situated an hour or so deeper inland. As the precise midway point for interstate travel between New York and Florida, Fayetteville also accommodates golfers with thousands of hotel rooms and hundreds of dining options.
In terms of variety, Fayetteville’s golf arsenal also has an advantage. Though the majority of its golf landscapes share many of the characteristics Pinehurst has been blessed with, a few possess a style distinctly their own. That’s because the city sprawls out across North Carolina’s transition zone from the coastal plain into the soft, rolling crests of the Sandhills. This changing topography afforded world-class architects tremendous backdrops upon which to sculpt their works. So with more than a half dozen outstanding golf layouts to add to the already potent Pinehurst-area lineup, the game is well represented across the state’s most sterile of habitats (with Fayetteville bolstering its eastern flank). The unique Sandhills microclimate keeps things a little cooler and less humid than most other regions, making it a great getaway at any time of the year.
Despite its proximity and its similar landscape qualities to the Home of American Golf, Fayetteville’s golf presentation feels distinctly different. It is more influenced by a bigger commitment in town, that of national security. The city, in fact, is home to Fort Bragg, a major U.S. Army installation and the nation’s largest population military base. In the more than 100 years since the fort was established, “Fayetteville and the U.S. military have been inextricably linked,” as written in the Fayetteville Observer, the city’s newspaper. And the spillover has even flowed into the golf courses around town.
In terms of prestige, the layout that likely solidified Fayetteville as a golf destination all its own is Anderson Creek. Since so much hype in recent decades has been about upscale designs with big-name architects, the combination of 1997 PGA Championship winner and North Carolina product Davis Love III along with an outstanding community course makes this reasoning hard to deny. But it takes a strong foundation to build a solid structure and that’s where classic designs such as Cypress Lakes, Gates Four, Bayonet at Puppy Creek, Keith Hills and a pair of courses on base at Fort Bragg (Stryker and Ryder) validate Fayetteville’s entry into the golf travel market.