Country Club Of North Carolina Thrives In Pinehurst Amid Growing Appeal For Golf Communities
The real estate market tied to golf communities has been on the upswing given the game’s resurgence during the pandemic, particularly so for properties with a prime location. And when it comes to golf hotbeds, it doesn’t get much better than the Country Club of North Carolina, which is just minutes down the road from the iconic Pinehurst Resort, a beloved 9-course destination known the Cradle of American Golf.
When golfers drive through the area, they can’t help but come across the Pinehurst courses, which are front and center off the main thoroughfare. By contrast, less than three miles away, the member-owned CCNC is almost hidden away, tucked within a 2,000-acre property marked by tall longleaf pines and three lakes. There are two private golf courses, 22 miles of windy roads and a diverse mix of homes – from modern to those that date back to the club’s founding in 1963.
“It’s a way to experience Pinehurst in a totally different way than everyone else does,” said Nick Gray, who oversees membership development efforts for CCNC, which has more than 900 members in total. Approximately 800 are golf members.
While rich in amenities, golf is the clear-cut number one at the Country Club of North Carolina, which was created almost 60 years ago as a central location for its members to golf and socialize. In addition to the natural beauty of the Sandhills region, 90% of the state’s population lived within 100 miles of Pinehurst.
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CCNC is hosting the 2021 U.S. Junior Amateur this week, the third USGA championship to be conducted at the club. Previously, CCNC hosted the 2010 U.S. Girls’ Junior as well as the 1980 U.S. Amateur, where Hal Sutton capped a dominant summer stretch with a 9-and-8 victory in the title match. Jack Nicklaus won the 1972 U.S. Professional Match Play championship at the club.
CCNC’s Dogwood Course was designed by Ellis Maples and Willard Byrd, and renovated in 2016 by Kris Spence. The Cardinal Course was designed by Byrd and Robert Trent Jones Sr., with a renovation conducted by Arthur Hills between 1999 and 2002. Scenic, challenging and a terrific compliment to the great golf in the area, each of CCNC’s courses is ranked by Golf Digest among the Top 30 in the golf-rich state.
Like most golf facilities in the region, there are also ties to architect Donald Ross. Maples’ father, Frank, was a longtime construction superintendent for Ross, who designed more than 50 courses in North Carolina alone, including the celebrated No. 2 and four others at the Pinehurst Resort.
Additionally, CCNC has a 50-year overseas relationship with Royal Dornoch, playing an annual Ryder Cup-style intra-squad match with the Scottish club Ross called home. Dornoch Lake is one of the major bodies of water on club grounds while CCNC recently introduced its popular Dornoch Grill among a series of extensive upgrades; among them a new pickleball center, new indoor and outdoor dining areas, a new ladies locker room, and more. The club is about six years into a major 15-year investment effort, with upgraded practice facilities and Toptracer range technology among the next short-term undertakings.
“We see a lot of generational engagement,” said Gray. “Over 25% of our membership is second and third generation. People get in and want to pass it down, so you have a great mix of different generations. I think the difference versus a place like Florida is that a lot of children didn’t grow up playing there. They did here.”
Roughly 40% of CCNC’s membership is local, with another 40% hailing from other parts of North Carolina. About 20% are national members. While all homes on the property are single-family residences, there are about 20-25 in the club’s rental program that are available to members and their guests. The club manages all aspects of the rentals for homeowners – booking, check-in and out, maintenance and cleaning — an effort that has further enhanced CCNC’s national membership.
The rental homes are available for up to about a week, allowing CCNC’s members and their guests to experience the Dogwood and Cardinal courses as well as Pinehurst’s other area courses, its restaurants, and its overall lifestyle.
While golf communities are hot right now, location is still the biggest selling point. And the growth and success of CCNC, a private club in the Sandhills, shows that there aren’t many places fonder in a golfer’s heart than Pinehurst.