An introduction to Asheville
In this post we’re going to look at the best golf courses in Asheville, North Carolina. The city of Asheville is located to the far west of the state. We’re not quite on the state line with Tennessee, but we’re not far off.
This is the Blue Ridge Mountains, a glorious landscape and one that Asheville sits firmly within. The great outdoors is unsurprisingly what many of the activities and things to do in the city revolve around.
For starters, there are a myriad of different hiking trails to explore where you’ll be able to enjoy 360 degree panoramic views. On one of the trails, you will inevitably come across one of the many waterfalls of which Transylvania County is renowned for.
But granted, if you’ve been playing golf most of the day, you might not want to go hiking…I get it. So staying within the town, you simply have to visit the historic downtown. There are loads of quaint little shops, bars and restaurants you can explore.
For a wash of culture, make sure you take a trip to the Biltmore Estate. This huge building was once the home of George Washington Vanderbilt and is reminiscent of classical French 17th century architecture.
But one of the things Asheville is most famous for is its local craft beer. There are loads of breweries which have popped up in recent years, too many to list here. But once you’re downtown, you won’t miss them.
The best golf courses in Asheville North Carolina
Country Club of Asheville
Amongst one of the first hundred private clubs founded in America, Country Club of Asheville is a thriving country club. It has all the amenities you would expect to find. This includes an Olympic-sized swimming pool, tennis courts, fitness center and much more.
But the anchor of this club is the superb Donald Ross designed championship golf course. The course we play today opened for play in 1928, after the club had to endure a few different site changes after having officially opened its doors in 1894.
The club eventually settled on the prime location in the northern outskirts of Asheville. From numerous points throughout the course, golfers can enjoy magnificent views across to downtown. It goes without saying, from most other points you’ll get a decent glimpse of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
From the back tees, the course is just shy of 6,700 yards, so length isn’t the challenge. Instead elevation changes can play havoc with club selection.
In 2016, there was an all-encompassing renovation project led by Richard Mandell to reestablish the core Ross design features. This has elevated Country Club of Asheville to its rightful place as one of the best golf courses in Asheville.
The Omni Grove Park Inn
The gorgeous 5-star Omni Grove Park Inn has been one of the places to be in Asheville since the early twentieth century. It is an imperious building overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains and Asheville to the south.
It was in 1926 that the infamous Donald Ross was called upon to come and create the routing for a resort course to accompany this illustrious hotel.
Ross had to contend with a relatively small plot for the routing and subsequently it made for a very tight driving course. From the backs the par-70 course measures just under 6,100 yards, short in today’s world of 7,000+ yardages.
But we need to remember this is a resort course, and one of the better resort courses in North Carolina. The overarching aim here is not to beat people up but about enjoyment. And you get it. There are elevated tee boxes on many holes giving you a good view of the hole to come.
Biltmore Forest Country Club
Just over a 10 minute drive south of central Asheville, towards the town of Biltmore Forest, is this historic private members club.
Biltmore Forest Country Club was founded in 1922 with a beautiful golf course designed by, yes you guessed it, Donald Ross! This is a golf course architect with over 400 creations to his name, and he clearly had a monopoly on the golf courses in Asheville in the early twentieth century.
The Biltmore family, owners of the Biltmore Estate down the road, were ultimately behind the construction of the country club. And today, this is a club which has achieved Platinum status placing it amongst the top 3% of private clubs in North America.
This is a great throwback Ross course and one which has stood the test of time. Unlike at the Omni Grove Park Inn, Ross had a large 135-acre wooded plot to play with. Although still not the longest of course by today’s standards, it is great fun. There are large greens, a multitude of bunkers and a fair amount of elevation change to keep things interesting.
This is without doubt one of the finest Donald Ross layouts and definitely one of the best golf courses in North Carolina, let alone Asheville.
Cliffs at Walnut Cove
The last of our golf courses in Asheville, North Carolina, is The Cliffs. It is a series of communities, seven to be precise, spanning across different locations in the Carolina mountains. Each of these are luxury communities where members can enjoy a range of different activities.
The Cliffs at Walnut Cove is the one towards the Asheville region, just to the south of the city in the mountains. This is a glorious valley location bordered by the Pisgah National Forest, near-enough halfway between Asheville and Hendersonville.
Members get to enjoy amongst others, a state-of-the-art wellness center, outstanding cuisine and an acclaimed golf course. This is a Jack Nicklaus signature course and opened for play in 2005.
Walnut Cove golf is one of those courses where you can’t help but stand back and admire the surroundings. The front-nine meanders through former farmlands whilst the back-nine takes you through the native woodlands where you’ll need to avoid the cascading streams. All the time there are magnificent views of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Depending upon your ability, there are a range of tee boxes to choose from. But for big hitters, the back markers extend the course length to just under 7,300 yards. Expect impeccable conditioning.
Best Golf Courses in Hendersonville
Hendersonville Country Club
Literally minutes away from downtown Hendersonville, just to the southwest, is Hendersonville Country Club. This is a private member-owned club which opened in 1927 although the golf course opened in stages following this date.
Like so many of the courses on this list, the location is idyllic with glorious views across to the distant mountains. The plot is partly located in a valley, so expect rolling hills and subtle elevation changes.
This is another Donald Ross design, which despite the slight elevation change, is easy to walk. The fairways weave through mature pines and hardwoods and you can’t but admire the way Ross strategically routed the layout. This is one of these courses you just wouldn’t tire of playing time and time again.
It has to be said, Ross has numerous courses in this part of the Appalachians, but Hendersonville Country Club is definitely slightly overlooked by some of the more high profile Ross creations in nearby Asheville.
If you are in this neck-of-the-woods, you wouldn’t be disappointed with a trip here to play an unheralded Ross creation.
Champions Hills Golf
Up in the Valley Hill neighborhood of Hendersonville, southwest of the city, is one of Western Carolina’s premier private clubs, Champions Hills.
Clearly there are many private clubs and gated golf communities around the nation, but few will better this unique setting. You’re up in the beautiful surroundings of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, where peace and calm prevail.
And to top off what is an already outstanding club, is the Tom Fazio designed golf course. It has been recognised as one of the finest in the state by most golf publications whilst Golf Digest ranked it the best year-round course in Western North Carolina.
Fazio has pulled-off a top class routing through the densely forested hills and deep ravines. As you play around here, you’ll encounter plenty of elevation changes although incredibly, only twelve of the holes play downhill.
There are five sets of tees on each hole whilst also featuring ‘combo tees’, which are positioned 15-30 yards in front of forced carries for those slightly higher handicap golfers.
This is a course genuinely open to all levels, and even in Fazio’s words, he says this is a course which looks challenging, but plays easier. Either way, it is a spectacular course, in a stunning location in immaculate condition.
Cummings Cove Golf & Country Club
Last on our list is the delightful Cummings Cove, situated just over a 15 minute drive west from central Hendersonville.
This country club has a low-key vibe, not overly pretentious, instead friendly and relaxed. As a membership, they get to enjoy a range of facilities but the golf course is central.
Like so many of these courses, the location is pure bliss – 650 wooded acres with stunning mountain views. And it is within this parcel of land the 18-hole par 71 course has been crafted.
It isn’t the longest by today’s standards with from the back tees the course stretching to just under 6,500 yards. But there is a real variety of holes with some special par 3s. One for example virtually hangs off a cliff and the 10th is straight over water to a narrow green. It is also quite rare to finish with two par 5s.
Throughout the round you will encounter densely tree-lined fairways, lakes, streams and even the odd waterfall. You can understand why this is one of the most popular courses in the area.
What is the best golf course in Asheville, NC?
The best golf course in Asheville, North Carolina, is Country Club of Asheville. The course was designed by Donald Ross and is located to the north of Asheville downtown.