There are courses all over the world for us to golfers to explore but there are certain hotspots that are simply heaven sent for a golf holiday and it is fair to say that North Carolina in the USA is just such a place. While South Carolina, home of the likes of Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head and Kiawah Island, is arguably the more famous of the Carolina siblings, the Northern state can certainly hold its own against other golf rich regions across the globe.
Over 40 public golf courses – And by public we don’t mean layouts that are up to the standard of your local municipal! Public courses in the States are out of this world! – are reason enough to pay North Carolina a visit but the fact that they surround the famous Pinehurst Resort, which remains the epicentre of this golfing Mecca, is all the more reason to consider North Carolina for your next golf holiday abroad.
Pinehurst is a truly 5* golfing experience and with eight top class golf courses, designed by leading architects including Tom Fazio and Rees Jones, and The Pinehurst Golf Academy on site, there is little surprise that this North Carolina gem is considered to be one of the world’s finest golf resorts.
Of the eight courses at Pinehurst, many of them have been reworked and remodelled over the years in an effort to ensure they keep pace with modern golfers and their ever changing equipment. Leroy Culver’s original design for Pinehurst No.1 was rehashed by Donald Ross and Ross’ original Pinehurst No. 4 layout was essentially rebuilt by Tom Fazio at the turn of the millennium. It is fair to say then that Pinehurst is constantly evolving to ensure the best possible experience for the visiting golfer and in their latest move they have decided to take a giant leap back to keep the course moving forward.
Pinehurst now resembles Donald Ross’ original design much more strongly and is an absolute delight to play…a true masterpiece!
The flagship course at Pinehurst is undoubtedly Pinehurst No. 2, which recently celebrated its centenary, is without doubt among the world’s best courses and has hosted more championships than any other in America. However, over time the course lost some of the natural and strategic character that made it the intricate classic it once undoubtedly was. The latest changes to be made at Pinehurst have see Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore work extensively throughout the famed No. 2 Course to restore it to the masterpiece imagined all those years ago by Donald Ross.
Golfers paying Pinehurst a visit from now on, including those who have been before, will uncover a course that is truly unique. The restored No. 2 has no rough to speak of, larger landing areas from the tees, more strategic options to consider throughout the round, and a return to the natural aesthetics of sand, hardpan and native wiregrass that are synonymous with the surrounding area and are reminiscent of Ross’ original design. In essence the No. 2 Course is now a reflection of Ross’ original design tailored to accommodate the big bombers of modern golf, the biggest of which will be arriving for the US Open in 2014.
Gone are the days where lush, green rough dominated the course away from the fairways. We at Your Golf Travel are looking forward to a US Open without the threat of 6 inch rouch lurking a yard from the safety of the fairway…2014 should see more attacking play and some miraculous escape shots from those who have strayed from the fairway.
“We anticipate that golfers will fall in love with Pinehurst No. 2 all over again,” said Pinehurst President Don Padgett II. “Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw have uncovered those original Ross elements that make No. 2 stand out from every other course in America and will make it stand the test of time.”
Using old photos of the course that date to the forties, the famed design duo of Coore & Crenshaw breathed new life into No. 2 by uncovering tactically intriguing tee-to-green routes that had been covered by wall-to-wall grass while maintaining the splendour of the course’s notorious crowned greens.
Approximately 26 acres grass have been stripped, returning natural areas of hardpan, sand, pine straw and wiregrass that were part of the original topography way back when Ross originally unveiled the course.
Fairways have been widened significantly – roughly 50% on average – offering the golfer countless strategic options to employ during their battle against Old Man Par. Fairways will also be kept firmer with the intention of benefiting good shots and penalizing poor ones; the mark of any great golf course. More than half of the sprinkler heads have been turned off which will reduce the amount of water used by about 30 percent. Irrigation lines will now give greater definition to the fairways but leave other areas to be shaped by the elements…just like the original golf courses laid down centuries ago, Pinehurst No. 2 is now a more natural thing of beauty rather than a man made oasis and is an absolute must play course for any real golfing aficionado.