The Pinehurst, Southern Pines, and Aberdeen Area of North Carolina was awarded six of the Top 100 courses in Golf Digest’s 2017/18 ranking of Public Courses You Can Play. The area topped Pebble Beach/Monterey Peninsula (four courses), Bandon Dunes (four courses), Bend Oregon (three courses), and many other golf destinations that were recognized with two or less courses.

The ranking doesn’t surprise the thousands of golf groups that make their annual pilgrimage to the Home of American Golf® in central North Carolina to test their game among the 40 legendary courses. Since the early 1900’s, golf has been a key element of the culture – it was home to golf course architect Donald Ross and hosted touring golf pros like Ben Hogan and Annika Sorenstam who won majors here.

The six courses that are included in the Top 100 are Pinehurst No. 2 (ranked 6th), Dormie Club (ranked 49th), Tobacco Road (ranked 55th), Pinehurst No. 8 (ranked 64th), Pine Needles (Ranked 68th), and Mid Pines (ranked 94th). Half of those six were designed by the distinguished architect, Donald Ross.

The five states with the most representation in the ranking include California, Wisconsin, Oregon, North Carolina, and Michigan. They account for 41 percent of the 100 total courses ranked. Notable for these top golf destinations is they are generally located in rural resort communities, most with county populations less than 100,000.

A Rolls-Royce Springfield Silver Ghost, purchased new by famed billionaire Howard Hughes during The Roaring Twenties, captured Best of Show at the fifth anniversary of the Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance at Pinehurst Resort on Saturday.

The Pinehurst Concours was just the second time the tan-bodied 1925 Rolls-Royce with black fenders and red-spoke wheels had been shown since owner Guy Lewis purchased the car three years ago, which had been sitting in a Florida barn for more than four decades.

The Rolls-Royce’s restoration was completed three months ago by Lloyds Auto Restoration, which included the gilded HH initials on the customized three pieces of fitted luggage found in the trunk that once belonged to Hughes.

“I found a Rolls-Royce in a barn, it was a Silver Ghost and then I find out it was a Howard Hughes car — so it was like hitting the Trifecta,” said Lewis, 55, of Pinecrest, Fla.

Hughes purchased the car for $13,450 on his honeymoon on Christmas Day in 1924. It took 10 months to build.

The 1925 Rolls-Royce joins previous Pinehurst Concours Best of Shows winners that have included a 1928 Isotta Fraschini 8ASS (2016), a 1919 Pierce-Arrow Model 66 A-4 Tourer (2015), a 1931 Cadillac 452A (2014) and a 1938 Steyr 220 Glaser Roadster (2013). The 2013 and 2016 Best of Shows winners, both owned by Peter Boyle of Oil, City, Pa., were on hand as display cars for patrons to enjoy.

The 2017 Best of Show came out of the European Classics Pre-War class – one of 14 classes judged Saturday – and has logged just 16,000 miles. It was the third time Lewis had been to the Pinehurst Concours, previously showing two of his vintage Mercedes.

“I wanted to bring something this time that was just going to blow them away,” Lewis said. “We just finished this car up and I’m so proud, it showed so well.”

“I love old cars,” Lewis added. “I’m an eclectic kind of guy. Just growing up everybody loved cars. You were known by your car. I’ve always had that passion.”

Lewis, now an attorney, was a U.S. prosecutor in Miami under Presidents Bush and Clinton, and is noted for prosecuting former Panama General Manuel Noriega.

“I’m like living the dream – 20 years working for the government and now I’m showing Rolls-Royces,” Lewis said.

A 1967 Mazda Cosmo Sport 110S captured the prestigious HVA/FIVA award out of the Japanese Classics class – a car that is thought to be one of the most original Cosmo Sports in the world.

“There were some beautiful cars on the field today, some that were just drop-dead gorgeous,” Lewis said. “It is the nicest field I’ve seen in the three years I’ve been here. But my car showed really well with some of the documents and that luggage. I was just happy to win Best in Class and never expected to win Best of Show. I am going to show the car a few more times and then I’m going to start driving it.”

The crowd was also entertained after the Best of Show presentation by award-winning country artist Sara Evans.