Once again Golfweek has named three Brunswick Islands golf courses as being among the best public courses you can play in North Carolina. Each of the three courses were designed or renovated by locally based golf course designer Tim Cate: Bald Head Island Club, Tiger's Eye and Thistle Golf Club.

Bald Head Island Club

Golf course at the Bald Head Island Club in North Carolina.

The classic George Cobb design was completely overhauled by Cate in 2012, and for all intents and purposes, is a new golf course. Cate worked off Cobb’s original drawings, but added his own touches to the Bald Head Island Club course, including multi-tiered tees, expanded and raised green complexes, and landscaped dunes. The par-3 16th showcases Cate’s full range with new tees, green location, and a coastal dune and bridge over an enlarged three-acre lagoon. To schedule a tee time you must purchase a temporary membership while renting a house on the island that has a Club membership.

Tiger’s Eye

Tiger's Eye Golf

Tiger’s Eye is part of the Big Cats courses at Ocean Ridge Plantation in Ocean Isle Beach. Tiger’s Eye is distinguished by dramatic elevation changes and a stunning combination of natural waste areas, native grasses, wildflowers, pine and oak trees and water, including Carolina bays, two waterfalls and marshland typical of a coastal environment. Golfer's tend to remember par 3s, and Tiger's Eye's collection of one-shot holes rivals any course in the region if not the state.

Thistle Golf Club

Mackay course Thistle Golf Glub

Thistle Golf Club pays homage to Scotland's original 'Thistle Club' which was established in 1815. Throughout Thistle's 27 holes, defining features such as rolling mounds, dense and diverse vegetation, masterfully placed waste bunkers, and man-made lakes exemplify its Scottish heritage while presenting artful challenges. The par-3 9th on Thistle's Stewart course is seen as one of the more iconic and picturesque finishing holes in the area as it requires golfers to hit their approach over water and land it on an elevated and dramatically sloped green surrounded by pot bunkers.   

Can't get enough of Tim Cate designed courses?  Be sure to check out Cape Fear National in Brunswick Forest as well as Leopard's Chase and Panther's Run, which are also part of the Big Cats courses in Ocean Isle Beach. Utilizing the unique coastal landscapes encompassing the Brunswick Islands, Cate's designs and signature features (such as coquina boulders and waterfalls) make his layouts some of the most sought after to play on the Carolina coast.

With over 30 memorable golf courses, 45 miles of beach and 5 islands, the Brunswick Islands offer an exceptional golfing experience. With so much great golf, it’s no wonder NC’s Brunswick Islands is also known as NC’s Golf Coast. Learn more about the area’s golf courses, beaches, and accommodations at www.ncbrunswick.com.

Article update July 15, 2022