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Golf on North Carolina's Outer Banks: If you can find the Currituck Club, you may never leave

By Shane Sharp, Contributor

COROLLA, N.C. -- If you don't think the Outer Banks of North Carolina are "out there," you better ask somebody.

The Currituck Club G.C.
Rees Jones spun his magic at The Currituck Club.
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The Currituck Club G.C.Currituck Club golf course - hole 2
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A full 353 miles from Charlotte, 215 miles from Raleigh, and 251 miles from Wilmington, sits the town of Corolla -- perched on a sliver of land in northernmost reaches of the Outer Banks. Find it on the map, and you'll wonder how you could park a car on a chunk of earth so narrow, much less build one of the Tar Heel state's most sought after golf course communities.

But oh, did they build.

First an 18-hole Rees Jones designed golf course, then tennis courts, bike paths, basketball courts, sand volleyball courts, five residential communities, and a trolley system that connects it all. And with a newfound popularity spawned by word of mouth, and glowing accolades in two national newspapers, Currituck can forge ahead with its plans to construct 70,000 square feet of upscale shopping space, and an 80-room Inn is in the works.

Not bad for an island that is just 3.5 miles wide. "We are already three quarters of the way sold out here," says Currituck Real Estate Associate Lorena Godly. "It is amazing, considering our location, but I think that seclusion has become attractive to golfing families. We have residents from all over the world."

Golf at The Currituck Club

Sand Dunes-style courses are the norm in the Outer Banks, but most of them have never made their way onto lists of the state's top layouts. The Currituck Club could be the best of the lot, and Jones is mostly to blame.

By necessity, golf courses in the Outer Banks are often short, tight, and overrun with housing. There's just no much property to work with, so its hard to point the finger at anyone culprit when it comes to these less than sensational layouts.

As far as the Jones boys (Robert Trent Jones II and Rees) go, Currituck is low profile. Missing are the trademark Jones mounds, and in their place are gentle swales that really never poke their head up too far above sea level.

The course opens to the south on the sand dunes of the property, makes its way north along the Currituck Sound, turns south again toward the Dunes to open the back nine, and then finishes dramatically along the sound on the last four holes. Jones brought the 18th right up to the edge of the water, with the clubhouse nowhere in sight.

The par-3 15th hole has been hit with the signature label, and its little wonder why. Jones included a manmade pond that runs from tee to green, and appears to be part of the natural tidal basin. As you'd expect, there's plenty of water on the course, most of it sneaking into play on the front nine where holes four, five and six flirt with the local lagoons.

While it was obviously built as a real estate endeavor, Currituck's coastal crafted homes don't suffocate the course. Golf Magazine thought enough of the six-year-old layout to hit it with a "Top 10 You Can Play," in 1997, and Golf Digest has ranked it in the Top 25 golf courses in North Carolina.

That the Currituck Club golf course hasn't made its way into the thoughts of many golfers from the Old North State is a testament to its location. From North Carolina, it's a solid three-hour drive from Raleigh, which many North Carolinians consider to be way out east. But from Norfolk, Va. it's just a 90-mile drive south, and a chip shot away once you cross the Wright Bridge.

Shane SharpShane Sharp, Contributor

Shane Sharp is vice president of Buffalo Communications, a golf and lifestyle media agency. He was a writer, senior writer and managing editor of TravelGolf.com from 1997 to 2003.


 
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