Southeastern North Carolina offers premiere retirement golf course communities for a golf-centered lifestyle whether you are an amateur enthusiast or of a much more experienced handicap. When considering golf course living, whether in New Hanover County or Brunswick County, one can expect well-maintained greens and exquisite courses designed for years of challenging play. Our North Carolina golf retirement communities in the Wilmington area contain some of the finest homes in the state and are situated amongst the rolling hills, on lush grass, with Spanish moss swaying from the trees.
Bald Head Island: Bald Head Island is accessible only by ferry, and once you arrive on the island you must travel by golf cart – cars are banned. This is fitting when you consider that the island is home to an acclaimed seaside golf course, uniquely positioned between the Atlantic Ocean and lush maritime forests. The 18-hole course, designed by George Cobb, a 20-year lead consultant for the Augusta National, challenges players with a refreshing sea breeze and sloping fairways. Nature dominates the lifestyle on this island and is always at the forefront of golf communities in North Carolina.
Brick Landing Plantation: The centerpiece of Brick Landing Plantation is its championship 18-hole Ocean Isle Beach golf course, affectionately known as “The Brick,” which winds through this plantation golf community. The course takes full advantage of the terrain’s natural beauty, including tidal saltwater marshes, the Intracoastal Waterway, and a hardwood forest. Regarded as one of North Carolina’s finest retirement golf communities, The Brick offers enticing challenges to all levels of players.
Brierwood: Designed by Dr. Ben Ward, Brierwood opened in 1969 and was the first golf course community in the South Brunswick County islands. Today, it’s setting in a coastal pine forest and its slope rate of 129 make Brierwood ideal for golfers of all abilities. Some claim that this mature 18-hole championship golf course is the most played in coastal Carolina, which is quite impressive when you consider the area’s many communities with golf courses. It offers wide landing areas and small greens, with a plethora of lakes and ponds, not to mention plenty of Southern hospitality. This retirement golf community is located in the town of Shallotte, 20 miles into North Carolina.
Brunswick Forest: Cape Fear National Golf Course, located in Brunswick Forest, is destined to be one of the coastal South’s most distinguished golf course communities. Designed by Tim Cate, it features a playing field as dramatic as the landscape itself. Magnificent forests of mature oaks, maples, pines and magnolias create the old-world ambiance of some of the Southeast’s most seasoned courses. The Cape Fear National Golf Course winds through undulating land and features several bridges through wetlands, three waterfalls, and beach bunkers, all flanked by native grasses and wildflowers. This is a course whose considerable aesthetics make it one of the premier retirement golf course communities on the coast.
Brunswick Plantation: Located in Calabash, NC, Brunswick Plantation & Golf Resort, with three newly improved golf courses is a just a short distance from the heart of Myrtle Beach. It offers an elegant setting that balances luxury and style with time-honored elegance and Southern charm. Featuring a 27-hole championship layout designed by Willard Byrd and Clyde Johnston, the course was recently upgraded with all-new Bermuda greens and smooth new cart paths as part of a “million-dollar makeover.” With an active retirement community and a spectacular golf resort, it’s an ideal choice if you're looking for golf course communities in North Carolina.
Carolina Shores: Built in 1974 by Tom Jackson, the idyllic Carolina Shores Golf and Country Club in Calabash, NC offers a traditional, yet challenging layout, with tree-lined fairways, beautiful natural landscapes, and strategically placed water hazards. It’s a course that favors finesse over brute strength, and it offers 5 different sets of tee boxes for all levels of play. Anyone who spends time in this retirement golf community will understand immediately why Tom Jackson described it as one of his favorite designs.
Crow Creek: Since opening in February 2000, Crow Creek Golf Club has become one of the most popular retirement golf communities in the Myrtle Beach area. Created by architect Rick Robbins, a former Jack Nicklaus design associate, the course winds through developer Jerry McLamb’s 500-acre family homestead. Known for its imaginative layout, undulating L-93 bent grass greens, manicured Tifsport Bermuda fairways, and the genuine hospitality of the staff, it’s a golf course community that feels like home.
Landfall: The Country Club of Landfall is one of coastal North Carolina's few private clubs. This exclusive golf community was founded in 1985, and is anchored not only by two beautiful clubhouses, but also by two courses with 45 holes designed by Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus. The tennis/sports complex was designed by legendary tennis star Cliff Drysdale. The complex contains 14 multi-surfaced tennis courts open day or night, an Olympic size swimming pool, and a state-of-the-art fitness center. If your idea of a wonderful retirement community includes playing outstanding courses in a beautiful setting year round, Landfall is the golf course community for you.
Lockwood Folly: Players of Lockwood Folly Country Club enjoy incredible tree-lined fairways with massive oaks, stately pines, quiet ponds and abundant wildlife. Built upon a former hunting preserve and designed by Willard Byrd, the 18-hole, par 72 golf course is so close to the Atlantic Ocean that the roar of the surf remains with golfers long after they’ve completed their round. Lockwood Folly is located on the Carolina coast mid-way between Myrtle Beach and Wilmington, NC, making it the perfect “off the beaten path” retirement golf community in southeast North Carolina.
Magnolia Greens: Just five miles south of Wilmington on Highway 17 sits Magnolia Greens Golf Plantation. This course designed by Tom Jackson has 27 holes, G2 & L93 Bent Grass Greens, 419 Bermuda fairways, and five tee boxes per hole. Golf Digest ranked this course "four & half stars." Magnolia Greens Golf Plantation was also host to the 1998 and 1999 PGA tour qualifying. This is a retirement golf course community that offers the best to its residents and guests, including an 8000 square foot recreational facility that features an up-to-date weight and cardio room, aerobics room, sauna, heated indoor swimming pool, sloped beach access style outdoor swimming pool and game rooms.
Meadowlands: Named one of the “Top Ten Best New Courses” by North Carolina Magazine and listed as one of the Top 100 Women-Friendly Courses, Meadowlands Golf Club is one of the premier retirement golf communities for golfers who believe that couples who play together stay together! Designed by Willard Byrd and located in Calabash, NC, the course’s 7,054 yards are artfully sculpted around pristine fresh water lakes and natural vegetation. Spacious, gently sloping fairways offer a surprising variety of elevation changes that will keep you on your toes.
Ocean Ridge: Ocean Ridge Plantation is home to the award-winning Big Cat golf courses – Lion’s Paw, Panther’s Run, Tiger’s Eye, and Leopard’s Chase. These courses offer challenging holes for all levels and, with a fifth Big Cat, Jaguar’s Lair, in the works, it will eventually be home to a jaw-dropping 90 holes. Willard Byrd designed Lion’s Paw, while the other Cats are the work of Tim Cate. As far as communities with golf courses go, few offer the range you’ll find at this Ocean Isle Beach treasure. And dare we say it? Getting a birdie on one of these courses is the Cat’s meow!
Porters Neck Plantation: Porters Neck Country Club, a Tom Fazio designed course, is conveniently located off Highway 17 in the northern vicinity of Wilmington, and was ranked by Golf Digest as Number 1 on the North Carolina coast. Situated on 650 acres of faultless, coastal land, this retirement golf community boasts two gorgeous swimming pools, seven hydro clay surfaced tennis courts, a fully equipped Sports Center and an 18th Century Federal-style clubhouse.
River Landing: Designed by nationally acclaimed architect Clyde Johnston, of Hilton Head, SC, River Landing takes full advantage of the region’s natural beauty, which includes scenic lakes and lush woodlands. Located in Wallace, NC, it’s close to both the Northeast Cape Fear River and famous destinations like the riverfront town of historic Wilmington, NC, offering more than the average retirement golf course community. The stunning 36-hole layout will challenge experienced golfers, while players of all levels can enjoy classic yet clever design.
Rivers Edge: A stunning masterpiece designed by Arnold Palmer, Rivers Edge is a golf community that offers a championship course just a few steps from your home. The 18-hole signature course provides sweeping marsh and river views, elevation changes, and five sets of tees for ultimate playability. With a well-stocked pro shop, a waterfront clubhouse with breathtaking views, and a casual dining restaurant, it’s easy to see why this retirement golf community was named one of Golfweek’s top residential courses in America.
Sandpiper Bay: Sandpiper Bay Golf & Country Club just finished a major renovation and converted all 27 greens to MiniVerde Bermuda, the best of the new ultra dwarf Bermuda strains. Just a 20-minute drive from Myrtle Beach, this retirement golf community is in the heart of Sunset Beach, and its well-maintained fairways and greens offer something to players of every level. The course received 4 stars from Golf Digest, and in 2010 was named Golf Course of the Year by the Myrtle Beach Area Golf Course Owners Association.
Sea Trail: Sea Trail, located in quaint Sunset Beach, offers three different signature courses designed by Dan Maples, Rees Jones and Willard Byrd. Golfweek 2005 named Sea Trail as part of "America's Best Residential Courses of Distinction." And in 2006, Golf Digest named the Sea Trail courses as part of North Carolina's "Top 100 Courses." In addition to a stellar course, this retirement golf community has two clubhouses with full-service golf shops, snack bars, lounges, and a full-service restaurant, "Magnolia's Fine Food & Spirits."
St. James Plantation: St. James Plantation features four championship golf courses spread across a coastal landscape. The courses were designed by golf legends Nicklaus Design, P.B. Dye, Hale Irwin, and Tim Cate. Thanks to the mild Carolina climate, residents of this retirement golf community can enjoy their favorite pastime year-round. In addition to 81 highly acclaimed holes, St. James Plantation includes practice greens, a driving range, friendly golf pros, fully stocked Pro Shops, and a healthy schedule of clinics and tournaments throughout the year. Best of all, one simple membership provides full access to all four courses.
Thistle Downs: Located in Sunset Beach, North Carolina, Thistle Golf Club & Estates is an exclusive residential community with a limited 145 custom estates on 27 magnificent holes for premiere retirement golf community living. 12 minute tee times allow for a more leisurely pace on this impeccably maintained course, and a four-and-a-half-star rating from Golf Digest (six years running!) confirms Thistle Golf Club & Estates as a residential golf community with the ultimate luxury resort lifestyle.
Winding River Plantation: Winding River Plantation is home to Carolina National Golf Course, a world-class, 27-hole golf course that lies adjacent to the Lockwood Folly River. This Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary offers both raw natural beauty and plenty of challenges for golfers of all ages and skill levels. Designed by Master’s Champion Fred Couples, Carolina National Golf Course offers more than 7,000 yards of long fairways and greens that break in every available direction. If you’re looking for impeccable landscaping, five sets of tees for each hole, and a retirement golf community in North Carolina that offers 27 holes of championship play, this is the place for you.