Additional details about Big Cats Stay & Play
Where one cat lurks, can others be far behind? Apparently not when it comes to the Big Cats courses at Ocean Ridge Plantation in Sunset Beach, NC. With the first course, Lion’s Paw, opening in 1991, three big cat courses have followed with a fourth on its way. And it just takes one look at the distinctive paw print created by the green and surrounding traps on the par-3 No. 3 to know how Lion’s Paw got its name.
It’s one of more than 100 courses designed or redeveloped by the late Willard Byrd, likely helped in its design by his then-employee and protégé Tim Cates. Shortly after, Cates set off on his own and would go on to design three more of the Big Cats courses at Ocean Ridge – Panther’s Run, Tiger’s Eye, and Leopard’s Chase, preserving the feline mystique of their names started by his mentor.
With Lion’s Paw and Panther’s Run, built in 1996, generally considered the easier courses, Tiger’s Eye and Leopard’s Chase, which opened in 2000 and 2007 respectively, are more difficult and both consistently rank in the state’s top 10 public courses. Cates is now turning his attention to redeveloping the former 36-hole Angel’s Trace course into yet another Big Cat, the 18-hole Jaguar’s Lair.
Tiger's Eye, Lion’s Paw and Panther’s Run share a large practice area with driving range, chipping green and multiple putting greens. A 23,000-square-foot clubhouse serves both Panther’s Run and Lion’s Paw and is home to the 10th Hole, honored as one of America’s best golf shops. A 20,000-square-foot clubhouse serves Tiger’s Eye and includes a golf shop and restaurant. And a new clubhouse is in the works for Leopard’s Chase with amenities that will include tennis courts, swimming pool and more.