Pinehust #2 is not fireworks, bells, and whistles golf course. It is one of the most understated, great courses we have the opportunity to play. It is public, it is expensive, but if we’re checking boxes on a bucket list, it’s a must. Rumor has it that Donald J. Ross, jr., was disappointed to not receive the Augusta National commission (it went to Alister MacKenzie instead) and poured his heart and soul into his masterpiece.
The course changed a lot over the years, with conditioning transitioning 180 degrees from what Ross intended. Fortunately for us, admins retained Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw to return the deuce to what it once was, and was supposed to always be. Numero Dos is firm and fast, from fairway to green and beyond. There are no oceans nor mountains, just one wee pond, and zero trappings found on country club for day courses. That said, it’s a must-see if you can assemble the cash and the transit.
The closest landing strip to Pinehurst is on a military base, so when you reach the sandhills of the Carolinas, you might as well stick around. The eponymous resort has 10 full-size courses of its own, plus a short course, plus a putting course. In addition, courses of all flavors are found in the surroundings, to ensure that your time playing golf will be unforgettable. We’ve broken the spate of additional courses into three different categories, to help you on your way.
If you like fast and firm
There is a collection of stellar courses in the area, most by Donald Ross, that will satiate the appetite of anyone who loves Pinehurst #2. Southern Pines, Pine Needles, and Midpines are all owned by one company. All were designed by Donald Ross, and all are fast and firm. Fortunately for you, all are public and two of the three have accommodations on site. Southern Pines has its own site for now (the purchase agreement was made official on July 1st, 2020) while Pine Needles and Midpines have a second site.
In addition to Ross, the Sand Hills region of the Carolinas came full circle when Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw designed the Dormie Club in West End, not far from downtown Pinehurst. Dormie is one of the best courses built in the USA in the past 30 years, and its legend grows with each passing year. Currently a part of the Dormie Network, access is managed through that organization. Trust us when we say it’s worth the reach.
If you like parkland
The names are recognizable: Jack Nicklaus, Rees Jones, Arnold Palmer, Tom Fazio. All are golf course architects with a penchant for designing parkland golf courses across the United States of America. Ponds, lakes, plentiful bunkers, and soft, lush turf are characteristics of their layouts. For Nicklaus, head to Legacy golf links. Jones’ work is on display at the New Course at Talamore. Palmer’s legacy is found at the Mid-South Club, also part of the Talamore property. Fazio’s efforts lie in the #8 course at Pinehurst.
If you like abstract
In honor of the departed The Pit, a legendary course designed by Dan Maples, we recognize the value of the abstract in golf course architecture. None did it better than the late Mike Strantz, and the Pinehurst region is home to two of his limited designs. Tobacco Road is a shining example of the love child between traditional architecture and cubism. Its foundation represents a traditional course, but its appearance features the artist that Strantz was, before his untimely passing. An hour north of the sandhills lays Tot Hill Farm, another Strantz gem. Situated on the northern perimeter of the Uwharrie national forest, Tot Hill Farm is an ideal first or last course for those driving in from the north.