Golf conditions are better than ever in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and there is so much more to explore for a long or short, very sweet stay. The furthest point east on the Atlantic, OBX protected itself against Covid 19 by closing the Wright Memorial Bridge access for months. Masks are required inside while open spaces on the beach and courses naturally distance for safe travel. Here are some golf/excursion combos that satisfied our pent-up wanderlust.
In Nag’s Head, peaceful seaside golf contrasted with one of our most exciting adventures ever – hang gliding at Kitty Hawk where the Wright Brothers first took flight. Nags Head Golf Links is a target rich environment with narrow fairways hugging the sound, marshland and a cottage community. It is not a grip and rip course as careful considerations a
re required for ball landing. The screeching of seagulls blends with the serene lapping of waves on the shoreline holes like number 5. This par 5 is a nice hangout as well as a great design. The more perilous number 8 is a zigzag heading back to the sound; then 9 along the coast teases golfers with a carry in front of the tee and another before the green. Number 15 brings the lovely coastline back in play. You may want to tarry on the course, but the clubhouse deck is perched for drinking in more water scenery while young couples plan their wedding details. Steps to the watch tower divulge an even different point of view. On a sunny day with a slight breeze this course is a dream.
A dream of flying is fulfilled at Jockey’s Ridge State Park, where a beginner hang gliding lesson at Kitty Hawk Kites is like ski school on a bunny slope. We signed the waiver with slight trepidation and spent 30 minutes with a very young instructor having us lie on the ground with a metal bar simulating our tiny movements and “fling thrust” for landing before we trudged across the sand dunes and up the hill on the beach. Normally this would be very scenic but our morning was completely fogged in so we could only see the bottom of the dune where we would be landing, hopefully upright. There were 6 adults in our group with Nic as our very experienced and optimistic navigational guide. Each student straps in for 2 initial flights with Nic holding the line and running down alongside, then two more each and a final fifth round. Nic carried the heavy kite up the hill after each one and advised what went right or what could be improved the next time.
Danny locked in with the T Rex stance, walked, jogged, ran as he was told and zoom, he was air bound in perfect form, landing below, shrouded by the colorful kite.
Alice watched every other person, gaining knowledge from all of their flights before taking her turn.
The kite was heavier than expected and just as it seemed it would weigh her down, it lifted her up for that Tinker Bell moment, “You’re flying, Alice.” Landing on her feet, she was ready for the second try, this time running faster, knowing she could do it and then a gust of wind beneath her wings, lifted her “higher than any other student,” according to Nic. Knowing he had let go of the tie that bound them, she listened intently for his instruction while gliding through the air, content that she could fly all the way to Bermuda. Returning up the hill she knew it was not going to get any better than that flight and that things really could go wrong. Both felt the time was “wright” to victoriously hang up the hang gliding and safely move on. As in golf, one has to gauge life’s risks and rewards. This is a reasonably priced thrill of a lifetime. We celebrated our achievement with lunch at Blue Water Grill and Raw Bar in the Pirates Cove Marina sharing blackened fresh sea bass with a bottle of white wine on the upper deck.
Eight local courses make the Outer Banks of North Carolina a premier coastal golf destination. Stay and play packages are available at www.obxgolftravel.com