I haven't even played 10 courses yet. Most days I'm on a time restraint, and have to choose one of the 2 here in Raleigh....neither is spectacular.
1) Zebulon Park- Zebulon NC: Fairly long, nicely maintained, challenging but fair. This is my favorite course. Only a handful of really tightly wooded holes. The open holes are rather long, for this area. About the only local course with more than one hole where you can really let it fly. All tee-pads are poured concrete, and very large. I only recently started playing there though. I really need to get out more.
2) Valley Springs- Durham, NC: Somewhat short, well laid out, well maintained and challenging. It gets tougher on the back 9. I've never seen a crowd out there. Good elevation changes, lots of trees, the entire course is wooded.
3) Cedar Hills- Raleigh, NC: Moderate length, a lot of crappy tee-pads, and tons of garbage and litter. If you've ever played either Raleigh course, you might be familiar with the tee pads, they are concrete blocks used in cities, to surround trees on the sidewalk. Not quite square, and really small. So you get 3 concrete blocks lined up, with huge gaps, different heights, etc. You can easily mess up your knees/ankles on these horrible and small tee pads. It's no wonder many of them have huge worn down dirt spots beside them. This is a city park in town, and it shows. People from nearby neighborhoods walk their dogs here, so...crap everywhere. Kids from same neighborhood come here to "party", beer cans and condoms all over the place. Course could be better layed out to better utilize the terrain. I play this one more simply because it's closest to my house. This course can be demoralizing for beginner players...LOTS of places to lose discs, many tight tee shots through trees.
4) Buckhorn, Harris Lake- Holly Springs, NC: Very nice looking course in a county park, way out in the boonies...about 10 miles from civilization. This is good, keeps the drunk college kids away...and cuts down on litter. This is a tough course to play until you've learned it, most tee shots are blind, making it difficult unless you have a course map. Nice scenerey of the lake, and some challenging water holes. Tee pads are poured concrete. Bring bug spray, and a stick to whack snakes! Don't forget your swim trunks if you want your discs back!
5) Kentwood- Raleigh, NC: Made my top 5 by default: I've only played one other course, and it was so long ago I vaguely remember any details. So, Kentwood makes the top (and only) 5 list. Very short course, pretty much nothing more than a "pitch & putt", equivalent to a par 3 course in ball golf. This should be a par 36 course for all but the newest players. It's right by a large college campus. So it gets tons of traffic, and tons of litter. There are not enough trash cans on the course, and therefore it looks like a landfill most days. This place uses those smae awful tee pads as Cedar Hills...totally dangerous, and useless. About half of the course is covered in rocks and gravel. Good for breaking in new discs, rough on already broken in discs. Several wide open holes, and a handful of tightly wooded holes. There's really only one hole on this course worthy of a par 3, hole #14...everything else is par 2 quality. I play here when I'm in the neighborhood, and have 45 minutes to spare. On weekends, it's like waiting in line for your favorite amusement park ride. I've seen crowds waiting on all 18 tees on the weekend. This course is not worth the trouble at those times. Really only good for breaking in midrange and drivers, or practicing your putts. Don't drive here from more than 20 minutes away...there's much better to be had.