EDITOR'S NOTE: Ron Green Jr. is the Observer's veteran golf writer. We asked him for top-five lists for links in North Carolina and South Carolina worth the drive.
PINEHURST NO. 2, Pinehurst: "It's considered a masterpiece of golf design, and it's being gently restored right now by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, though it remains open. The experience of playing No. 2 with a caddie, the spectacular greens and the memories of all the greats who have played there make it a blast. You'll see why the 2014 men's and women's U.S. Opens will be played there." ( www.pinehurst.com )
PINE NEEDLES, Southern Pines: "It has hosted three U.S. Women's Opens and it gets everything right. If the idea of playing golf is to have fun, Pine Needles does that as well as any place. A Donald Ross design and overseen by the great Peggy Kirk Bell, Pine Needles is a treat for golfers of all skill levels." ( www.pineneedles-midpines.com/)
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LINVILLE GOLF CLUB, Linville: "You'll have to stay at the exquisite Eseeola Lodge to get access - or wrangle an invitation from a member - but it's worth the effort. It's N.C. mountain golf at its finest, not too severe but the kind of place you'd be happy to play every day." ( www.eseeola.com)
RIVER'S EDGE, Shalotte: "This Arnold Palmer design features some of the most spectacular marsh views along the Grand Strand. It may take one round to get comfortable with some of the shots, but you'll want to go back." ( www.riversedge-nc.com)
PINEHURST NO. 4, Pinehurst: "When Tom Fazio redid No. 4 a few years ago, the result was another premium layout at the resort. The terrific routing and the green complex are both reminiscent of their more famous cousins next door at Pinehurst No. 2." ( www.pinehurst.com)
HARBOUR TOWN GOLF LINKS, Hilton Head Island: "Every year, PGA Tour pros talk about how this gem at Sea Pines Resort is among their favorite courses. It's not long but it makes you play golf, not just hit shots. It's beautiful and when you play the 18th hole alongside the Calibogue Sound with the red-and-white lighthouse behind the green, you'll be glad you did." ( www.seapines.com/golf)
KIAWAH ISLAND'S OCEAN COURSE, Kiawah Island: "It's one of the great golf experiences, walking through the dunes with the Atlantic beside you, playing the course that hosted the 1991 Ryder Cup matches and will host the 2012 PGA Championship. A round you'll tell your buddies about." ( www.kiawahresort.com)
THE DUNES GOLF AND BEACH CLUB, Myrtle Beach: "Of the 100 or so courses along the Grand Strand, this is the best. It's a private club but if you stay at a select group of hotels, you have access to the course. The par-5 13th hole, which doglegs around a huge lake, will give you something to talk about over dinner." (thedunesclub.net/ )
CALEDONIA GOLF AND FISH CLUB, Pawleys Island: "Proof that golf courses don't have to be long and unforgiving to be great. This may be the best design in the artistic resume of the late Mike Strantz. Give yourself time to play 36 here." (fishclub.com/ )
TIDEWATER GOLF CLUB, North Myrtle Beach: "This is another course that separates itself from the crowd along the Grand Strand. It has some of the most dramatic-looking holes on the Strand and if you play well at Tidewater, you'll feel very good about what you've done." ( www.tidewatergolf.com)