Topsail Island Golf
One of the lesser known secrets of the Topsail Island area are the fantastic local golf courses. With courses to fill any skill level, you'll find time for several rounds. All of the local Topsail Island Golf Courses are located on the mainland in the towns of Sneads Ferry and Hampstead; just minutes from the island.
Belvedere Plantation Golf & Country Club
Phone #: (910) 270-2703
Belvedere is a narrow par 71, 18-hole course with small greens and water hazards. The length is 6059 yards with a slope of 125. Hole 3 stands out for its carry over water to an elevated green. Greens fees range from $25 to $40, depending on the season and time of day. Fees include a golf cart. Reservations can be made for any time, with no restriction regarding how far in advance you can make them. Belvedere has a small pro shop, clubhouse and driving range on the premises. Belvedere offers PGA professional lessons and three- to four-day golf schools with accommodations provided. Tennis courts are also available on the premises.
Phone #: (910) 270-1978
Castle Bay is the area's newest 18-hole, links-style golf course. Every hole offers the challenge of water or a wetlands setting. Open to the public year round, seven days a week from sunup to sundown, this course is about two miles off U.S. 17 on Hoover Road in Hampstead. You can't miss the castle-type gates at the entrance. Rates for local residents, including cart, are $29 Monday through Thursday and $35 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Visitor rates are $35 Monday through Thursday and $45 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Discounts are available after 1 PM. Reservations can be made several months in advance. There is a pro shop and snack bar on the premises.
North Shore Country Club
Phone #: (910) 327-2410
North Shore is among the best-conditioned courses in the Topsail Island area. It was rated among the top 20 new courses of the decade by Golf Reporter magazine and has a four-star rating from Golf Digest. This course has 6866 yards, a 72.8 rating and a slope of 134, with water coming into play on 10 of the 18 holes. Thick Bermuda fairways and well-bunkered bentgrass greens place a premium on accurate shots. This course is quite popular with Raleigh and Triangle-area golfers, who come down to spend a day or two on the coast. The course is built on both sides of N.C. Highway 210, and an underground tunnel connects the two sides of the course. North Shore is lined with homes and tall pine trees. Golfers can sometimes be surprised and amused with alligator sightings in the course waterways.
The ninth hole is memorable for its required 250-yard tee shot-anything less is in the drink. Greens fees, including a cart, range from $48 to $72, and reservations can be made up to a year in advance. A driving range, putting green, professional lessons, club repairs and custom fitting are available. A clubhouse, bar and snack bar are on the premises. The Kiwanis Club of Topsail Island holds its annual tournament at North Shore in October. Information about the tournament can be obtained by calling the number above.
Olde Point Golf and Country Club
Phone #: (910) 270-2403
Olde Point is considered one of the finer challenges in the area. This 18-hole, par 72 course is 6253 yards with a slope of 120. Greens fees range from $26 to $50 depending on the season and time of day. Fees include a cart. A reserved starting time is required, and reservations can be made up to two weeks in advance. The 11th hole is a long, narrow, 589-yard par 5 with a gradual dogleg right that slopes laterally downward to the right into the woods and consistently defies players' depth perception. It is considered one of the toughest holes on the southern coast by many area pros and amateurs. Olde Point offers a pro shop, clubhouse, driving range, restaurant and snack bar.
River Landing Country Club
Phone #: (800) 959-3096
Home to four U.S. Open Qualifiers and the 2001 Mid-Amateur Championship, River Landing was rated one of the best courses in the state by North Carolina Magazine. The 27-hole layout combines artful landscape design and horticultural diversity with a variety of challenges from its five sets of tees. The Clyde Johnston-designed course features bentgrass greens and bermuda grass fairways and roughs. It totals more than 7000 yards from the back, with mixed elevations and carries over a variety of water hazards, including creeks, ponds and a river. The 6th, 8th, 16th and 17th holes hug the banks of the northeast Cape Fear River, while the 9th features par-resistant ravines. The signature 18th is a 402-yard, par 4 with a multi-tiered green; it's a dogleg left sloping downhill that dares you to avoid the ball-hungry bunker on the right. The elegant brick bridge there is one of many aesthetic delights. Also featured are a driving range, putting greens and snack bar. River Landing is a tranquil, private course (play is open to club members and their guests) in a golf community about 35 minutes east of Topsail. The management welcomes corporate outings, group functions and fund-raisers.
Porters Neck Plantation and Country Club
Phone #: (800) 947-8177
Porters Neck is an aficionado's course, aesthetically perfect and strategically challenging. Designed by Tom Fazio, this is a championship course (par 72) that emphasizes careful club selection. Impeccably maintained fairways undulate in sometimes deceptive fashion. Enormous waste bunkers and lakes abound, some of which span from tee to green (holes 11, 13, 14). Distinctive waste mounds planted with native grasses add to the course's character. Each hole presents conditions to make the most accurate golfer uncomfortable, yet leave no player unfulfilled. About 6 miles from Wilmington, this course winds through a private residential development adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway. Public play is invited, but limited. A full-service pro shop and PGA trained staff are available.