Charlotte is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States. It's one of the country's prime banking centers, with both Wells Fargo and Bank of America headquartered there. In 2022, Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) was ranked the fifth-busiest in the world by Airports Council International. Multiple pro sports teams and events - like the PGA Tour's annual Wells Fargo Championship and, in 2022, the Presidents Cup - keep visitors shuffling in and out of town constantly. Cost of living is reasonable, the schools are solid and the city's central location within the South puts it within an easy drive of lakes, mountains and ocean.
All these factors contribute to an extensive public golf sector, with a host of well-regarded resort, daily-fee and municipal layouts making the scene. An early Tom Doak course, Charlotte Golf Links, was unfortunately closed for redevelopment in 2014. And The Golf Club at Ballantyne, a resort layout, shuttered ahead of the 2021 season in order to be redeveloped into green space as part of a larger community transformation project. But there remains no shortage of places to play, including some classic-era gems where Donald Ross was involved in the design.
Scores of golfers have contributed nearly 10,000 GolfPass ratings and reviews on golf courses in and around Charlotte.
Top 10 Charlotte golf courses
1. Warrior Golf Club
Located about 45 minutes north of Charlotte in the town of China Grove (no relation to the Doobie Brothers hit), this course was laid out by architect Stan Gentry in 1999 around a 50-acre lake, which comes into play on six holes.
"For my money, Warrior is the best course in the Rowan-Cabarrus County area.. The conditions are always top notch. The bermuda grass greens have had a chance to mature and roll quite true. The fairways are always in great shape, and the rough is demanding but not overly penal." - Review by ccharles, Charlotte Golf Advisor
2. Verdict Ridge Golf & Country Club
Like Warrior Golf Club, Verdict Ridge opened in 1999, and has steadily gathered a reputation as a top semi-private course in greater Charlotte, where weekend tee times can be hard to come by.
"VR is hands down the best public course in the Charlotte area. The conditions are always top notch, including the immaculate champion bermuda greens. The layout is tough but fair and really makes the golf enjoyable. You could play this course 1,000 times and not get tired of it." - graybrotherton
3. Eagle Chase Golf Club
This 1994 Tom Jackson design is situated in the town of Marshville, about 35 miles east of Charlotte. It has been honored among the Tar Heel State's top courses on the last six editions of our Golfers' Choice rankings.
"Could not be more impressed with (the) condition of this course and all the amenities. The course was in perfect condition, I could see the changes they made to help with draining and improvements to bad areas all throughout the course. The bunkers had nice sand in them and greens roll true. The carts are new and enjoyable to drive. My biggest applause comes from the CARTPATHS being re-paved! WOW, great job Superintendent and staff at Eagle Chase!! Best value in the Charlotte area!" - cave78
4. Springfield Golf Club
This Clyde Johnston design is located over the South Carolina line in the town of Fort Mill, but it is still close at hand to greater Charlotte.
"The course was fun to play and has many challenging holes. It has a few target golf par 4s that are interesting. The course uses the hilly terrain in the design that many approach shots are to elevated green(s). I will return." - bob0709
5. Rocky River Golf Club at Concord
This 25-year-old Dan Maples design in Charlotte's northeast suburbs meanders along its namesake body of water. Guests of the nearby Embassy Suites hotel receive discounted green fees.
"The staff and the grounds crew and everything about that golf course is amazing. Glad to see there are other golf courses in the area putting money back into their course to make it better. Rate(s) are slightly under other courses in lesser conditions. Please keep up the good work. Always a pleasure to play this great course." - znut94
6. Monroe Country Club
Donald Ross laid out nine holes here in the 1930s, with the inward half designed by Tom Jackson in the 1980s. In 2003, architect and Ross expert Richard Mandell knitted the two together.
"The course was very nice and in great shape! It’s pretty tough to hit the very small greens here and they are pretty quick too but roll true! Challenging for the good golfers and tougher for the higher handicappers. Will go back, playing a second time may help knowing where to miss and what to expect on some blind shots." - u2086449
7. Charles T. Myers Public Golf Course
Named for the county commissioner who designated its land for use as a golf course, this Bill Love layout is located in the city's east suburbs, owned by Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation.
"Fairways and roughs in good condition. Some sand traps were deep raked, some were wet packed sand. Greens held the approach shot, rolled true, were medium speed. Most holes had pin placement in challenging spots. Course is always crowded, but play moves consistently." - Bobcatbeck
8. Red Bridge Golf and Country Club
Opened in 2009, Red Bridge was designed by David Postlethwait, who previously worked for Pete Dye. It is located about 25 miles east of the city, partially in a residential development.
"Solid golf course, really like the layout. Very natural and relaxing. Course is challenging yet forgiving. Staff was very nice." - Bobzy
9. King's Mountain Country Club
Located about half an hour west of Charlotte, this Porter Gibson design dates back to the 1940s. With green fees maxing out around $40, it is regarded as a solid value for locals.
"The course was in great shape. Thought the greens were perfect. The fairways are very wide, with several hills and doglegs. The starter helped us by leading us to #10 which was quite a drive from the club house. We will play it again." - fredwblum
10. Waterford Golf Club
Three-time U.S. Open champion Hale Irwin laid out this semi-private course, which is located in Fort Mill, S.C.
"I've been playing Waterford for several years now, though it had been a little while. We could see see that a lot of work was being done to improve the course since we last played, particularly the cart paths. The greens were really nice when we played on Oct. 27 and the fairways were in great shape.. Kudos to the management for the investments they have been making." - Timmyterrific
Charlotte's top private golf clubs
Charlotte has one of the strongest private golf scenes in the country, with several classic Donald Ross designs and a host of modern gems rounding things out. The Charlotte City Amateur, one of the country's best such local tournaments, rotates between several of these prestigious courses each year.
Quail Hollow Club
The host of the PGA Tour's annual Wells Fargo Championship, plus the 2017 PGA Championship and the 2022 Presidents Cup, is a popular championship value whose "Green Mile" is home to a run of dramatic holes.
Charlotte Country Club
The city's historic country club dates to 1910 and is home to a Donald Ross design that hosted the 2018 U.S. Mid-Amateur, won by Kevin O'Connell.
Carolina Golf Club
This Donald Ross design dates to 1929, and was restored by Kris Spence in 2008.
Carmel Country Club
With two courses, this busy city club is a hot ticket among the Charlotte country club set. The North Course was originally designed by George Cobb and renovated by John Fought, while the Ellis Maples-designed South Course was most recently worked on by Rees Jones.
Myers Park Country Club
This Donald Ross course dates to 1921, with restorative updates by Kris Spence in 2008. It hosted the Junior Presidents Cup in 2022.
The Club at Irish Creek
Davis Love III did his best Donald Ross impression here, overhauling the former Kannapolis Country Club into something new and exciting in 2007.
TPC Piper Glen
This Arnold Palmer design is a long-standing member of the PGA Tour's TPC Network of courses.
Rock Hill Country Club
Classic architect A.W. Tillinghast is most closely tied with the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, but he laid out one course in South Carolina, and it's a very good one.
Honorable mention: other Charlotte-area golf courses of note
Sunset Hills Golf Course - Par 3 Course
It's not often that a short course will crack the list of a city's most popular, but visitors to this par-27 layout enjoy the relaxed feel, inexpensive green fees (less than $15) and quick play.
Dr. Charles L. Sifford Golf Course at Revolution Park
This nine-holer named for the man who broke the color barrier in golf is the most centrally located course in the city of Sifford's birth.
Mooresville Golf Club
Originally laid out as a nine-hole course in the 1940s by Donald Ross, Mooresville has lately become an outpost of the "Munaissance," as architect and leading Ross expert Kris Spence returned in 2016 to breathe new life into the layout, knitting all 18 holes together thematically according to Ross' principles.