Beautiful Finishing Hole


Nags Head Golf Links:

Shot Making Demands at the Birthplace of Flight.

Posted by: Rick Parnham


The Outer Banks most southern golf locale is one of the most unique golf experiences in the area. This semi-private club opened in 1986 as part of the Nags Head Village development.  The clubhouse is situated a few yards from the shores of Roanoke Sound providing amazing waterfront vistas and a view of distant Roanoke Island. The surrounding community of colourful coastal stilt homes, awash in a rainbow of pastels, frame many of the holes while others are routed over and around exposed dunes and abundant wetlands.

Course architect Bob Moore is proud of his sophomore design. Brought in to be part of the master plan for the community and course, Moore said that the goal was to route a course that provided an ample number of home sites while providing a challenging, diverse layout. The resulting routing offers four tee decks ranging from 4415  to 6200 yard from the tips. With many quick to prejudge the quality of a golf course by the yardage on the scorecard, those venturing to Nags Head will not find a push-over the scorecard may suggest as a first impression.  Set alongside the Sound and with the Atlantic not more than a short par 5 away from the course, the narrow footprint is buffeted by gusts from both the Atlantic and the Sound. The ever present winds amp up the level of difficulty admirably.

The course places a premium on accuracy over length as pinching dunes and shrubs offer a narrow feeling on many of the tee decks.  Moore stated that he deliberately designed the landing areas to feel restricted to create an exacting, target feel to the layout in his quest to keep much of the natural roll of the dunes intact.  With pushed up greens, along with mounds and ponds in just the right places to get your attention, the course places heavy demands on finding the fairway with your tee shot. Great care must be taken to account for the hidden hazards crossing the landing areas, which force lay-up shots to avoid posting really big numbers on the card.

The short par 4 opening hole sets the tone for the round as the landing area is partially obscured by shrubs making the fairway appear smaller. Little more than a hybrid or 3 wood is all you need to find the short grass, thus avoiding a  troubling mound on the left and pot bunkers fronting the green on the right. The first encounter with the Sound happens at the par 5, 5th hole. The rolling waves slap at the sandy beach adjacent to the tee box. With thick scrubs and water to the left of the fairway, careful attention must be paid to wind direction. Only the longest of hitters can reach this green in two, however the pond interrupting the fairway short of the green creates a perplexing lay-up decision.

Another tricky par 4 awaits at the 8th tee. The double dogleg design presents options with the tee shot. Longer hitters can challenge the pond on the left leaving an easier approach with a wedge. Shorter hitters will have to be precise to find the strip of fairway located between the pond on the left, weedy wetland long and out-of-bounds on the right. The windswept, exposed green is fronted by a pair of pot bunkers that will collect anything hit short and off target. The 11th, a short par 4 dogleg left across and around the pond, may be one of the more daunting tee shots on the entire routing.  A delicate drive must carry the water and avoid drifting left into the hazard. A spacious, pushed up green is the final challenge, but with fall offs and plenty of subtle roll to the putting surface, par is no certainty.

With so many golf courses built as lengthy brutes, challenging the player with considerable yardage, it was refreshing to play a course that makes you think off the tee. The yardage book is invaluable for your round plotting for both line and distance for the tee shots.  The subtleties of the design offer a diverse variety of shot demands and plenty of risk / reward opportunities. Leaving the final green, I wanted to head back to the first with a new appreciation for the layout and a chance to take a different tact on many of the holes. Don't take the yardage lightly at Nags Head; playing it forward here is strongly advised to experience the full character of the layout.

Nags Head Golf Links

5615 S. Seachase Drive

Nags Head, NC


































Nags Head Golf Links: Par 71

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