Tim Cate has quickly become the golf architect of choice along the southern North Carolina coast.
Cate’s most recent design, Cape Fear National atBrunswick Forest, located about five miles south of Wilmington
off U.S. Highway 17 South, had its ribbon-cutting ceremony in mid-April and opened for public play.
It costs $75 for local golfers, which include the five surrounding county region, and $110 for non-local golfers. The massive Brunswick Forest development is comprised of about 4,500 total acres.
Like a majority of Cate’s most recent coastal layouts, Cape Fear National’s 7,217-yard course has some high drama, with expansive waste bunkers (some running the entire length of holes), bridges, lakes, streams, waterfalls, wildflowers and rock walls as 1.5 million cubic yards of dirt was moved to create topography at a course that’s at sea level.
“Cape Fear National is a challenging, visually stunning golf course designed to use the surrounding natural areas to enhance the aesthetics of the golf course while the golf course, in turn, enhances the natural areas around the course,” Cate said. “It will be a fun course to play and is aesthetically unmatched in the Wilmington area.”
The course is a monster from the back tee with a 74.5 rating and 143 slope.
Some interesting features of Cape Fear National include each side finishing with a par-3 while none of the par-5s measure more than 576 yards. The 5th, 13th the 16th holes have large waste bunkers that run the entire length of the par-4s and the green complexes are large.
“My goal was to make each hole spectacular and memorable,” Cate said. “If I were to pick a favorite hole I would pick No. 13. In my opinion, this par-4 captures the essence of golf.”
Cate’s recent work along the North Carolina coast includes Tiger’s Eye and Leopard’s Chase at Ocean Ridge Plantation, the Players Club at St. James Plantation and The Thistle Golf Club.
Cate is also renovating Bald Head Island Club, which is scheduled to be re-opened in May.