Often referred to as “The St Andrews of America”, Pinehurst is the spiritual home of golf in the USA and like St Andrews, this charming corner of North Carolina simply lives and breathes golf.
Shortly after Donald J. Ross made the trip from his native Scotland to America in 1899, with the intention of introducing the game of golf to a burgeoning nation, he was commissioned by the man behind the Pinehurst Resort, James W. Tufts, and he eventually stayed at Pinehurst for a further 48 years and left an indelible mark on the resort and American golf as a whole.
These days the Pinehurst Resort is the physical and spiritual heart of the North Carolina golf scene and with more than 100 years of history and no less than eight amazing golf courses, including of course the famed Pinehurst No. 2 Course, as well as luxurious accommodation options and endless top class amenities, there is little surprise that Pinehurst is considered to be one of the world’s finest golf resorts.
Golf Courses at Pinehurst
Lovers of golf should all pay a visit to Pinehurst at some point, if only to play the storied Pinehurst No. 2 Course, which has hosted more championships than any other in the USA, including the Ryder Cup and the US Open on three occasions.
The course opened for play in 1907 and from the outset, Donald Ross was clearly impressed with his efforts, referring to No. 2 as “the fairest test of championship golf I have ever designed.” Right up until 1948, Ross remained associated with his beloved course, constantly making improvements until he sadly passed away.
Best known for its crowned, undulating greens, which are some of the most difficult and widely celebrated in the world, it is clear that Pinehurst No. 2’s main design features were born out of Scottish influence, with Ross having cut his teeth at Royal Dornoch before he left for America.
The greens are small too, and are not for the faint hearted or the easily frustrated. With wicked fall offs around the edges of the putting surfaces, only the best approach shots will hold the greens, meaning solid iron play and a short game to match are the keys to scoring well around Pinehurst.
Designed by: Donald Ross
Gold: 7,588 yards, Rating 76.5 / Slope 138
Blue: 6,961 yards, Rating 73.7 / Slope 133
White: 6,307 yards, Rating 70.7 / Slope 126
Red: 5,257 yards, Rating 70.0 / Slope 126
Major Championships hosted
PGA Championship (1936), US Open (1999, 2005 & 2014)
Step back in time to a classic layout that’s stood the test of time. Even though Dr. Leroy Culver built the first rudimentary nine holes and John Dunn Tucker added the next nine, it is clearly Donald Ross’ touch that can be seen on this first golf course.
Don’t let the short 6,128-yard par 70 fool you – it’s more of a course than it first appears. Wild drives or a sloppy short game can make for a long day. As with any course bearing Ross’ name, it is ultimately very playable without losing its challenge and a favorite for a great starting round.
Though it only reaches 5,682 yards, Pinehurst No. 3 is a fascinating challenge; indeed, the great Ben Crenshaw is just one of the many admirers of the course, whose holes are crammed with character and charm. No. 3 is the perfect way to get used to the Pinehurst terrain before heading for the main attractions.
The No. 4 Course may have retained its name, but Donald Ross’ original 1919 creation was essentially rebuilt by Tom Fazio in 2000. Some 140 pot bunkers pepper the new layout, which will be used for the 2008 US Amateur Championship. The best holes are the scenic, water-surrounded 13th and 14th.
Pinehurst No. 5 was created in 1961 by Ellis Maples, who stayed true to the fundamental design ethos of Donald Ross – that is, the natural character of the landscape dictated how the course was created. There are countless hazards and changes in elevation, but the 6,848 yard layout will be enjoyed by one and all.
In 2005, Tom Fazio’s redesign of his original 1979 creation of the No. 6 Course was unveiled, with brand new putting surfaces and more astute bunkering. The rolling hills are beautiful, and the demanding back nine is classic Fazio.
Pinehurst No. 7 was opened in 1986, and spans some of the most rugged and beautiful land to be found around the resort. Designed by Rees Jones, and measuring 7,216 yards, No. 7 is a masterpiece that features challenging wetlands and fingered bunkers, demanding creative use of every club in the bag.
Commissioned to commemorate the resort’s centenary in 1996, No. 8 rounds off Pinehurst’s impressive portfolio, and has been extremely well received since opening. Tom Fazio’s creation is a tribute to Donald Ross, the heart and soul of Pinehurst. Gullies and swales around the greens are typical, demanding a delicate short game above all else.
Jack Nicklaus constructed a masterpiece set amidst the long leaf pines. This 18-hole championship layout features classic Nicklaus architecture: wide fairways, lush course conditions and undulating putting surfaces that test your mind and your true golfing ability.
Pinehurst No. 9 is a magnificent 7,122-yard course and is as meticulously designed as it is compelling. An intriguingly well-balanced course which, according to Golf Digest, “has come to enhance even the lofty Sandhills image for world-class golf amenities.”
Each hole has been customized to create a great diversity in the way it can be played. Added to this uniqueness are tall pines, grassy swales, groomed waste areas and a natural variety of lakes and stream beds beautifully fashioned to give No. 9 its own distinctive look.
Accommodations at Pinehurst
The Carolina Hotel
Some say you can feel the spirit of Pinehurst as you turn onto Carolina Vista. This majestic century-old hotel with its signature copper cupola and sweeping verandas make you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time to an era when elegance defined grand hotels and resorts. Dubbed the “Queen of the South,” the Carolina has 230 Four-Diamond guest rooms, including suites.
The Holly Inn
Built in 1895, The Holly was Pinehurst’s first hotel and is located in the heart of The Village. The Four Diamond Holly features 82 guest rooms and suites each as unique as the hotel itself. As soon as you walk in the door of the picturesque Holly, time stops. Just look at the saying above the door, and you’ll see it’s true. “Time goes you say? Alas, no. Time stays. We go.
The Manor Inn
Taking its cue from North Carolina’s strong outdoors influence, the Manor feels like a sportsman’s lodge. Stay a while, and you’ll feel at home with a Southern sun room and lounge and ample-sized guest rooms. It was one of Arnold Palmer’s favorite spots, where he remembers visiting with his dad as a boy.
Pinehurst Golf Resort is just off Route 501 between I-95 & I-74
1 hour drive from the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
2 hour drive from Charlotte
2 hour drive from Columbia
5 hour drive from Atlanta
Daily flights to Raleigh-Durham International airport from
Las Vegas (LAS)
San Francisco (SFO)