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The Outer Banks Golf Tour

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The Outer Banks have everything a golfer is looking for: well-manicured courses, great restaurants, a variety of lodging options, and unique activities besides golf.

A popular Tom Steele design nestled in the marshland of the Albemarle Sound, Kilmarlic Golf Club is our first stop. Consistently rated one of the top courses on North Carolina’s Outer Banks (host to the North Carolina Open in 2004 and 2009), Kilmarlic sits among 605 acres of maritime forest and sprawling wetlands, with scenic canopies of giant oak, pine and dogwood. At 6,550 yards from the tournament tees (par 72), what it lacks in length it makes up for in bite. A perfect example: the 213-yard par-3 Hole 17, with marsh and trouble along the left side—not long, but a slope rating of 144 from the tips tells the treacherous tale.

Nags Head Golf Links is a Scottish-style course that’s also considered one of the area’s must-plays. The breezes off the sound-side waters are as much a hazard as any on-course element. Holes 9 and 18 along the sound are stunning and challenging—the perfect way to end the front and back. The 19th hole is pretty special, too. Nags Head’s bar and restaurant serves great food and drink, with spectacular views across the immediate Roanoke Sound.

And speaking of amazing visuals, the Hole 7 at The Carolina Club is one of the most memorable offerings along the entire North Carolina coast. It’s the N.C. version of the TPC Sawgrass island green, in the form of a 166-yard nerve-tester with water, water everywhere. The Carolina Club is the longest OBX course, with plenty of other liquid challenges, plus two good risk-reward par 5s to complete each nine. 

Greens fees: $49-$140. www.playobxgolf.com.