Bobby Jones referred to Pinehurst as the St. Andrews of American golf. Jack Nicklaus has called No. 2 his “Favorite golf course from a design standpoint,” and Tiger Woods has referred to Pinehurst as “Fun golf.”
Currently, there are nine championship golf courses at Pinehurst Golf Resort, plus a new executive short course called “The Cradle.” Nos. 1 – 3 were designed by Donald Ross while the others were designed by such notable architects as Ellis Maples, George and Tom Fazio, Jack Nicklaus and Gil Hanse. Hanse also created The Cradle, which opened for play in the fall of 2017.
The practice facilities at Pinehurst are second to none. In fact, over 70 years ago, the great Tommy Armour said “Pinehurst is to golf what Kitty Hawk is to flying.” The full length driving green is large enough to host the largest of tournaments (which it has done numerous times) and features numerous target greens. The massive short game area features multiple greens with bunkers and just about every other type of terrain you will encounter as you make your way around. Here you can practice all aspects of your short game: pitch shots, bunker shots, chipping and putting.
When it comes to warming up your putter, there’s no better place to do it then the Thistle Dhu Putting Course, located adjacent to Maniac Hill and the short game practice area. Thistle Dhu features 18 holes of subtle twists and turns that will entertain anyone who plays it, from beginner to scratch golfer and everyone in between. Thistle Dhu is free to play as long as you’re staying at the resort.
No visit to Pinehurst is complete without playing a round on historic No. 2. It’s one of the most celebrated golf courses in the world and has been the site of more single golf championships than any course in America, including back-to-back U.S. Opens for both men and women in 2014. The U.S. Open will return in 2024.
This Donald Ross design opened in 1907 and was describe by Ross himself as “the fairest test of championship golf I have ever designed.” He continually made improvements to the course himself for almost 50 years until his death in 1948. No. 2 is recognized for its crowned, undulating greens, which are some of the most complex and revered in the world. Knowing where to hit the ball on the green goes a long in way scoring well.
Since its original design in 1907, the course has only undergone a couple of redesigns and restorations, most notably in 2010 when Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw began to transform the course into what it is today and restored many of the strategic and natural elements of the original Ross design. This included the removal of about 35 acres of turf and the reintroduction of hardpan, natural bunker edges and native wire grasses.
The result is a course that will enlighten and sometimes frustrate golfers of all abilities. The No. 2 experience is best played with a caddie or someone knowledgeable about the course. Whether you walk or ride the course, it is sure to be a memorable experience.
Everyone the visits Pinehurst Resort is determined to play No. 2 and rightfully so. For most golfers, it’s on their bucket list. But while No. 2 will bring you out to the resort, No. 8 will keep you coming back!
No. 8 was designed by Tom Fazio and opened for play in 1996. The course has won numerous accolades including Golf Digest’s revered list of America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses in 2013-14, Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Courses You Can Play in 2014 and Golfweek’s list of America’s Best Resort Courses in that same year. No. 8 has also been recognized by the Audubon Society as a Signature Sanctuary since 1996.
Before it was a golf course, this land was part of the old Pinehurst Gun Club shooting range, where any Oakley gave shooting lessons and exhibitions. Also of note is that each tee box has a sign describing something significant about the course or that particular hole.
In building No. 8, Fazio had his work cut out for him; after all Pinehurst would be celebrating its 100th anniversary and the course opening would coincide with the celebration. Fazio took full advantage of the 420 acres of natural wetlands and rolling terrain and created a golf course that is every bit as aesthetically pleasing as it is fun – and challenging – to play. He also channeled his inward Donald Ross, and incorporated some of the late great architect’s favorite features: false fronted greens surrounded with large grass swales and challenging greenside bunkering.
The back nine at No. 8 combines many natural elements of the area. When you think of Pinehurst, you think of sand and rightfully so. Holes 11 – 13 are part of an old sand pit and are quite attractive with all their waste bunkering. Good thing they look harder than they really play.
But there’s much more to the back nine than these three holes; No. 8 has something not found on any other course at the resort: wetlands! They figure significantly into the equation on holes 14 through 18 in some form or another.
With no homes on the course and tees and greens in close proximity to each other, No. 8 is a great course to walk and enjoy all that nature has to offer. Whether you walk or ride, odds are that after your round, you will look back and say that this was one of, if not the most, memorable courses of your Pinehurst experience. No. 8 is located just a short drive from the main club and is easy accessible through Pinehurst’s shuttle system.
A great way to relax and discuss the day’s events with friends is The Pinehurst Resort Clubhouse, home of The Deuce, a new lunch spot that features indoor and outdoor dining and overlooks the 18th green of No. 2, making it the best 19th hole in golf. Lunch is served until 3 p.m. and “small bites” are available through dusk. The bar features a variety of creative cocktails and nearly a dozen craft beers on tap, including North Carolina microbrews.
Another great way to unwind after your round is a visit to The Spa at Pinehurst. You can also choose a full day package where you can take your time and enjoy complete tranquility. The Spa at Pinehurst offers a wide variety of services for both men and women as well as a number of packages that will you renew your spirit.
Guests of Pinehurst Resort have three historic hotels to choose from; all located in the Village of Pinehurst. The main hotel is the Carolina Hotel, a majestic century-old hotel with such southern features as a copper cupola and an expansive wrap-around veranda. When it opened on New Year’s Day, 1901, the “Queen of the South” as she is affectionately called, was the largest frame hotel in North Carolina. The Carolina Hotel features 230 Four-Diamond guest rooms, including suites. Complimentary tea is served in the lobby every day from 4 – 5 p.m. Adjacent to The Carolina Hotel are the Carolina Villas, which feature spacious guest rooms that include a connecting parlor; perfect for foursomes and groups. Guest rooms are tastefully appointed and equipped with Wi-Fi, large screen LCD TVs, workstations, marble bathrooms, feather-top bedding, a mini bar and safe.
If you’re staying in the Carolina Hotel, you have a couple of great dining options. The Ryder Cup Lounge is a casual venue that features a unique menu of American favorites – with a twist. Their Southern Nachos feature crisp tortilla chips topped with BBQ smoked beef brisket, pimento cheese sauce, green tomato salsa, Cheddar cheese and jalapeños. The Cornmeal Crusted Grouper Tacos have large pieces of dusted grouper, Southern coleslaw, pico de gallo and a splash of chipotle ranch dressing perched atop warm flour tortillas. And what visit to the Carolinas is complete without a serving of Shrimp and Grits? The Ryder Cup Lounge version has grilled prawns, caramelized onions, bacon bits and slow roasted tomatoes with fresh grits all served in a large bowl. They are absolutely out of this world. Everything on the menu is tastefully prepared and delicious.
Golfweek Magazine referred to the legendary breakfast buffet in the Carolina Dining Room as “The most famous meal in golf this side of the Masters Champions Dinner.” As for dinner, Executive Chef Thierry Debailleul creates an amazing menu each day, featuring aged beef that has been hand-selected with his signature dry seasoning rub for steaks and chops. Every season the menu changes to reflect the fresh flavors of the area as well as offerings from local farmers.
The Tavern is a cozy little spot located in the Holly Inn. The antique bar was brought in all the way from Scotland and is the centerpiece of the establishment. The Tavern offers lunch and dinner, and the menu features a variety of unique sandwiches, salads and soups for lunch as well as a heartier menu of pasta, beef and other entrees in the evening. Their fish and chips rival any I have had in Scotland and no meal is complete without at least one basket of their complimentary homemade chips. For dessert, the Blueberry Peach Cobbler is outstanding and large enough to share. If the weather is favorable, consider sitting on the outdoor patio which overlooks The Village center.
Another fine dining restaurant at the resort is the 1895 Grille, also located in the historic Holly Inn. This Four-Star dining experience features an exceptional menu straight from the Carolina Farms to your table. The award-winning chefs at the 1895 Grille prepare nightly specials that make each visit unique. Regardless of which entrée you choose, be sure to top off your meal with their exclusive triple chocolate soufflé, complete with assorted berries, powdered sugar and Godiva Anglaise.
The Pinehurst Resort is second to none. Great accommodations, a wide variety of restaurants and some of the best golf courses in the country make this a must-visit for anyone who calls themselves a golfer. Visitors from far and wide will appreciate everything that Pinehurst has to offer. For more information, visit their website at www.pinehurst.com