On the north side of the Outer Banks in North Carolina, Currituck Golf Club is a Rees Jones Design that captures the essence of OBX. Little did he know, but the “Open Doctor” prescribed the perfect antidote for a pandemic with his Audubon golf layout. On the thin stretch of land between the sound and the Atlantic shoreline, fairways blend into the marsh land as shimmering ponds and waterways provide a preferred habitat for local fowl and turtles. Foxes are seen crossing the fairways to hide in the pin oak forests. Cottage housing with whimsical colors frame areas of the course without encroaching on the beauty and raw nature of the sound. Noah Goble, the assistant pro credits their new superintendent for great course conditions. An extensive menu pops up on the cart when approaching numbers 8 and 17 for easy touch screen ordering and after the round a Caddy Shack scene displays with a comedic reminder to tip. Excellent service warrants it.
We were paired at Currituck with a fun brother duo from Richmond, Tim and Hugh. They are frequent visitors to the OBX with friends and family, attesting to the magic combo of great golf and surf options.
The beach is always close, and maps show where to park and walk over the dunes for a stroll along the water where pelicans and dolphins play. The paved highway ends on the north side at Corolla Beach where asphalt turns to sand at the Currituck Outer Banks Preserve. Sheriffs ensure that only cars able to navigate the sand may enter. It is possible to drive for miles on the flat surface to the state line of Virginia. Wild Mustangs roam free in the preserve and we were lucky to spot a group climbing the dunes. The preservation efforts are amazing amidst the continuing development of homes.
Minutes away, the Currituck Beach Lighthouse first illuminated on December 1, 1875. It was the last of the brick lighthouses built on the North Carolina coast. After 215 steps up the circular stairway, 360-degree panoramic views of the sound and coastline are breathtaking as you walk all around the platform. Expect butterflies in your belly.
For a great meal and view of the sound, the Sunset Grill and Raw Bar in Duck specializes in seafood staples like she crab soup, oysters and crab cakes. Sit inside, on the patio or at the tiki hut bar. The boardwalk in Duck spans the coastline for wildlife viewing with shops and more restaurants along the way. Coastal Cantina has casual fare with picnic tables overlooking the water while the NC Coastal Grill has stools along the railing to dine for a mesmerizing view of the sound.
Kilmarlic Golf Cottages make sense for golf centric vacations. Situated next to the Kilmarlic Golf Club in Powell’s Point, the Wright Memorial Bridge crosses over the sound to the outer islands, a few minutes away. The comfy cottages are clustered around a lighted putting green with four short practice holes. Each cottage is named after a golf pro and is equipped with a full kitchen and laundry facilities.
On the Kilmarlic Golf Course, the number 2 par 3 with a pond sets the stage for more water shows along the way. Behind the tees of Number 3, an observation deck reveals the nature of the course. Throughout the round, we were treated to the OBX fauna trifecta of a red fox, a yearling deer and a raccoon. The Black Tartan Tap Room at the terraced clubhouse overlooks the 18th green. Whiskey barrels are the featured trademark in the pro shop, attributed to the mid-1600’s whiskey filled ship from Kilmarnock, Scotland which sank off the shores of lower Currituck. Residents were delighted by the ship’s bounty just as golfers are delighted today with the Kilmarlic Golf Club.
The history of shipwrecks and pirates is celebrated in the town of Manteo at the Outer Banks Distillery, Kill Devil Rum. Kill Devil was the original name for rum because it was used to treat strange illnesses. The owners previously worked together in a brewery where they concocted a plan for their own business and quit their jobs without a safety net. Their mission is to convert Louisiana grade A molasses to glasses. The creativity flows much faster than the molasses as they go beyond the silver and gold nectars to infused pecan and honey rum as well as a shipwreck series. An area map in The Wheel House Lounge pinpoints locations of famous shipwrecks in OBX for which new rums are named. This is the spot to order special rum cocktails, beer or wine. Recipes are shared on their website. Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a pirate’s life for all.
Four more lighthouses on OBX try to prevent more shipwrecks. Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, located on the southern tip of OBX, is the tallest brick beacon in North America. The scenic drive to the end of Route 12 runs along a small strip of land, a sand dune or wedge from the ocean.
Water activities and eight local courses make the Outer Banks of North Carolina a premier coastal golf destination. Stay and play packages are available at the cottages or on the water. www.obxgolftravel.com