In this blog post we’ll look at some of the best private and public golf courses in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
The city of Winston-Salem sits in the picturesque Piedmont Triad region, known for its beautiful landscape and rolling topography. Relatively central within the state, it is located to the north of the vast city of Charlotte and to the west of Greensboro.
Over the years, the city has gained notoriety for its unique blend of history and modernity. Particularly popular is Old Salem which is a living history museum. Whilst the Reynolda House Museum of American Art allows visitors to immerse themselves in art and culture.
Downtown Winston-Salem is a thriving place to visit, with plenty of brewpubs, restaurants and entertainment.
But let’s jump straight into the best golf courses in Winston-Salem.
The best private golf courses in Winston-Salem, NC
Maple Chase Golf & Country Club
We kick off the list of best golf courses in Winston-Salem, with a course which has been here since the 1950s.
Maple Chase Golf & Country Club was the brainchild of a group of local golfers, who wanted to start their own club. To design their course, they commissioned someone who knows the state like the back of his hand, the architect Ellis Maples.
With Maples’ input, the group of local golfers purchased a plot of 300 acres and shortly after Maple Chase Golf & Country Club opened for play.
Although back in those days, it was known as Pine Brook Country Club. It wasn’t until 2013 under new ownership, that the club changed its name.
The course itself is beautiful. It was crafted out of dense woodland and farm pastures creating two completely distinct nines. On the back nine, expect plenty of elevation changes which include some splendid views.
From the back tees the course measures over 6,700 yards. Although with five sets of tees, it can be shortened to 5,200.
Forsyth Country Club
We move from one great golf club, to arguably an even greater one, Forsyth Country Club.
This fine member’s club has existed since the early twentieth century, 1913 to be precise. Ever since then, it has been one of the most popular and sought after private clubs in Winston-Salem.
Literally a few miles from the center of the city, Forsyth’s routing has had the attention of two of the greatest golf course architects of all time. A few years after first opening, A.W. Tillinghast transformed the rudimentary 9 holes into something more refined.
Not too long after that, an even greater influence on the game put his marker down here. The renowned Donald Ross visited in 1920 and ensured Forsyth Country Club had a truly top class 18-hole championship course.
Ever since then, the club has maintained its course to the highest standards.
To post a good score, strike the ball well and choose your positions carefully. Granted, it’s not the longest from the back tees, measuring over 6,700 yards. But this is not about length. It’s about craft, strategy and patience.
This is a fantastic course with many traditional Donald Ross features. Befriend a member and enjoy this masterpiece.
Old Town Club
In the northern outskirts of Winston-Salem, towards Wade Forest University, is the superb Old Town Club. Considered one of the greatest golf courses in the world, this iconic club is something special to behold.
Originating in 1938, Old Town Club was the private golf course of Charlie and Mary Reynolds Babcock. To design their masterpiece, they commissioned the architect Perry Maxwell.
The story goes that Maxwell was recommended by Clifford Roberts, a business associate of Charlie and also co-founder of Augusta National Golf Club. Maxwell had recently finished renovating the original Alister MacKenzie greens at Augusta and impressed with the work he’d done, Roberts implored Charlie and Mary to use him.
Shortly after, Maxwell was given a 1,000 acre plot to choose where to route the course. The eventual parcel he set upon, was the making of this great course.
One thing that is immediately obvious, is the constant movement in topography. There are undulations everywhere resulting in very few flat lies and expansive sloping fairways. A handful of creeks meander through the site and come into play on a number of occasions.
Artistic bunkering and cross-course vistas blow-away visiting golfers.
If you do get the chance to play here, drop everything and enjoy one of the finest examples of golf’s Golden Age of architecture.
Bermuda Run Country Club (East & West)
Twenty minutes drive south west of central Winston-Salem, is the private club of Bermuda Run Country Club.
Unsurprisingly as a member-orientated club, it has a host of amenities to be enjoyed. Alongside great dining options, is an Olympic sized pool with a lazy river, and a large tennis center.
But the heart of the club is the golf offering, with two magnificent championship courses, the East and the West.
The East Course was the first to open in 1971, and was designed by the renowned Ellis Maples. This is without doubt the apex course at Bermuda Run Country Club, and is consistently ranked as one of the Top 10 golf courses in the Triad area.
Home to the Wyndham Qualifier and the Carolina Women’s Amateur, this is tournament quality golf. One feature it consistently gets high praise for is the quality of its greens. True and firm all throughout the year.
The West Course opened some years later in 2000. It was designed by Dan Maples and Don Charles and from the back tees reaches just over 6,600 yards.
The course has a nice variety of hazards, with lakes, creeks, elevation and plenty of bunkers coming into play. Water particularly becomes more prominent after the turn, with a number of holes requiring accurate approach shots over water.
For example, the 12th hole is a long par-3 where you’ll need to carry the water short of the green. From the backs it is a mere 226 yards!
The best public golf courses in Winston-Salem, NC
Olde Homeplace Golf Club
In Winston-Salem’s suburbs, between Union Cross and Wallburg, is the fantastic public golf course of Olde Homeplace. This is one of the finest public golf courses in Winston-Salem and the greater Piedmont Triad area.
It was designed by Mark Charles, the son of the renowned architect Don Charles. In fact, the Olde Homeplace Golf Club was not just designed by Mark, it is also managed by him and other family members.
The course opened in 1992, under its previous name of Homestead Golf Club. But due to trademark issues, it was changed to its current Olde Homeplace Golf Club in 1998.
Two years later, the largely unchanged layout had two new holes created. But aside from that, the course has remained much the same. From the back markers, the immensely fun course measures just over 6,500 yards.
The routing encourages you to pull out the driver, with fairways on the whole quite generous. Although if you do miss them, you’ll have some interesting lies to contend with.
Central to the 150 acre site is the large silo and barn, which gives the course its distinct character. Without doubt one of the best value and most fun courses in the area.
Meadowlands Golf Club
In Wallburg, just a few miles south of Olde Homeplace, is yet another fine public golf course in Winston-Salem. This is Meadowlands Golf Club and is a popular offering to the south of the city.
The course forms part of a much larger master-planned community featuring a number of tastefully designed houses.
Measuring just shy of 6,900 yards, this championship layout is a Hale Irwin signature design. The former major champion has designed over twenty courses nationwide, with this being one of a couple he’s put his name to in North Carolina.
Beautiful surroundings welcome visiting golfers and is clearly one of a number of reasons it is a popular club for members. Rolling fairways meander through the verdant plot whilst large greens are incredibly playable.
It is also a course which accommodates all levels of golfers. Aside from the multiple tee boxes on each hole, there is a nice mixture of challenging and easier holes. One of these nice golf experiences where you don’t walk off feeling beat up.
Great value too, with tee rates ranging between the $40-60 mark.
Oak Valley Golf Club
Located in Advance, just south of Bermuda Run, is yet another outstanding public golf facility, Oak Valley Golf Club.
This area twenty minutes south west of Winston-Salem, is a mini golfing hotspot. Within a few minutes drive, you have Bermuda Run Country Club, Oak Valley Golf Club, Tanglewood Golf Club and finally Salem Glen Golf & Country Club. What a choice!
Yet Oak Valley can confidently stand shoulder to shoulder with all of these courses.
The layout is an Arnold Palmer design which like others on this list, cuts through a luxury housing estate. But at no point do you feel encroached by the residential buildings.
It is also an expansive layout with the course measuring over 7,000 yards. There are bunkers, but not as many as you’d normally find on a Palmer course.
What you will find though, is water, and plenty of it! Actually water comes into play on 14 of the 18 holes, either in the form of large lakes or snaking creeks.
Unsurprisingly, it is considered as one of the more challenging layouts, due to its length, the constant elevation changes and water. Maybe one to avoid if you’re a much higher handicap.
Salem Glen Golf & Country Club
Yet another golf course located to the south west of Winston-Salem, in the Bermuda Run / Clemmons area. It’s fair to say people looking for public golf courses in Winston-Salem really are spoiled for choice.
Salem Glen Golf & Country Club started life in 1997 and is the only Nicklaus Design course in the Triad area.
Overseeing a large part of the work was the PGA Tour player Glen Day, who only a couple of years later went on to form his own design firm. This firm was called Day-Blalock Golf Course Design, partnering with Alan Blalock.
Regardless of who may have had most design input, Salem Glen is unquestionably a Nicklaus Design course. Working with the natural terrain, the course features have been enhanced with sculpted bunkers and pristine greens.
Immensely picturesque, what makes Salem Glen so enjoyable is the distinct nature of its two nines. The front nine is links in style, with wide accommodating fairways. Playing through the Yadkin River basin, except wetlands, creeks and lakes.
The second nine couldn’t be more different. You climb out of the basin and up into the rolling Carolina countryside. This includes impressive elevation changes of up to 150 feet.
Where the front nine was open and sweeping, the back nine is tight and tree-lined.
All in all, this is a stunning layout and without doubt one of the best public golf facilities near Winston-Salem, possibly even including Greensboro. Rated four stars by Golf Digest, I couldn’t recommend it more.
Reynolds Park Golf Course
I just want to round off this blog post with a special mention for the municipally funded Reynolds Park Golf Course.
This fun layout is one of the oldest courses in the Triad area, having opened for play way back in 1930. Updated in the early 1940s by the highly respected Ellis Maples and Perry Maxwell, and then some years later by Ed Seay, Reynolds Park has been a mainstay on the Winston-Salem golfing scene.
From the back tees it measures 6,551 yards, although golfers will have to contend with a number of pronounced elevation changes.
Clumps of wooded glades are best avoided, although generally this is a course where you can let rip on most holes. Fantastic value and right in the heart of the city.
What is the best golf course in Winston-Salem?
The best golf course in Winston-Salem is the exquisite Old Town Club. Designed by Perry Maxwell in 1938, this is a course highly respected as being one of the great examples of golf’s Golden Age of architecture. It is consistently ranked as one of the best golf courses in the world.