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.
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 nine amazing golf courses, including of course the famed Pinehurst No. 2 Course which is a must for any bucket list experience, 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.
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.
Pinehurst No.2 is ranked as one of the best courses in America
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.
After the course had been taken in a direction not in keeping with the original Ross design, Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore were commissioned to return the course to its original 1930s glory. Renovation work included increasing the width of fairways, removing turf and areas of lush rough in order to restore the natural sandy waste areas that line the fairways, not to mention numerous bunker modifications. After the renovations had been completed and allowed to bed in, the US Open came to town in 2014, and the “new-old” Pinehurst No. 2 proved to be a formidable test for all but one player.
With an opening round of 65, Martin Kaymer put some distance between himself and the rest of the field, his second round of 65 put Kaymer 6 shots clear of Brendon Todd. Whilst many were expecting Kaymer to fall back into the field on Saturday as the course began to bite back but his round of 72 saw his lead cut by just 1 to 5 going into the final round with Erik Compton and Rickie Fowler his nearest competitors. Despite some ups and downs in his 3rd round Kaymer was able to regroup and hold his lead with his birdie on the 54th hole a huge confidence booster ahead of the final round. Kaymer's final round of 69 (-1), which contained 4 birdies, was good enough for a four-round total of 271 (-9) and an 8 shot victory.
With the course yielding just 959 birdies all week, it is safe to say that the USGA's set up was a very tricky examination. The toughest of all the holes were the par-3 6th hole which saw just 12 birdies and an average score of over 3.3. Unsurprisingly it was the par-5's which allowed a little respite for the players with the 5th hole providing 17 eagles, 144 birdies and an average of 4.8.
|Designed by||Donald Ross|
|Opened for play||1907|
|Previously hosted||US Open (1999, 2005, 2014), US Amateur (1962, 2008),
US Women’s Amateur (1989), US Women's Open (2014),
US Senior Open (1994), PGA Championship (1936)
Ryder Cup (1951)
|Championship||7,588 yards||SSS 76.5|
|Blue||6,930 yards||SSS 73.7|
|White||6,307 yards||SSS 70.7|
|Green||5,822 yards||SSS 68.2|
|Red||5,267 yards||SSS 65.2|
Signature Hole – No18: Par 4, 370 yards (Blue Tees)
It’s argued by many that there is no signature hole on Pinehurst No. 2. When compared to other American classics such as Pebble Beach, you don’t really get the breathtaking aesthetics. No. 2 certainly does prove though, that a golf course can offer much more than the sum of its parts.
If we were pressed however, it would be fair to say that the par 4 5th embodies all that is great about Pinehurst No. 2. This is arguably the most testing hole on the course and calls for sound strategy from tee to green, with little margin for error around the green.
The hole doglegs to the left and with a waste area on the inside corner and trees flanking down the right of the hole, your tee shot needs to be a solid one. The entire hole cambers to the left which makes the approach particularly difficult. Especially when you consider the fact that anything missing long and left will leave the most difficult of up and downs.
Though it only reaches 5,155 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.
|Designed by||Donald Ross|
|Opened for play||1910|
|White||5,155 yards||SSS 64.9|
|Green||4,823 yards||SSS 63.7|
|Red||4,347 yards||SSS 62.0|
|Yellow||3,642 yards||SSS 59.9|
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.
|Designed by||Gil Hanse|
|Opened for play||1919|
|Previously hosted||US Amateur (2008, 2019)|
|Orange||7,227 yards||SSS 74.9|
|Blue||6,961 yards||SSS 73.7|
|White||6,428 yards||SSS 70.8|
|Green||5,864 yards||SSS 68.5|
|Red||5,260 yards||SSS 65.4|
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.
|Designed by||Ellis Maples|
|Opened for play||1961|
|Gold||6,828 yards||SSS 73.1|
|Blue||6,617 yards||SSS 72.0|
|White||6,174 yards||SSS 69.8|
|Green||5,685 yards||SSS 67.4|
|Red||5,223 yards||SSS 64.9|
|Yellow||4,357 yards||SSS 61.9|
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.
|Designed by||George & Tom Fazio|
|Opened for play||1979|
|Gold||7,053 yards||SSS 74.7|
|Blue||6,634 yards||SSS 72.6|
|White||6,180 yards||SSS 70.7|
|Green||5,683 yards||SSS 68.3|
|Red||4,992 yards||SSS 64.3|
|Yellow||4,200 yards||SSS 62.2|
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.
|Designed by||Rees Jones|
|Opened for play||1986|
|Gold||7,216 yards||SSS 75.5|
|Blue||6,824 yards||SSS 73.5|
|White||6,347 yards||SSS 71.6|
|Green||5,709 yards||SSS 68.7|
|Red||5,183 yards||SSS 71.2|
|Yellow||3,833 yards||SSS 60.6|
Pinehurst No.8 Course
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.
Make sure your short game is tight at Pinehurst; the crowned greens, with their notorious closely mown run-off areas, demand the most delicate touch.
|Designed by||Tom Fazio|
|Opened for play||1996|
|Gold||7,099 yards||SSS 74.1|
|Blue||6,694 yards||SSS 72.3|
|White||6,311 yards||SSS 70.3|
|Green||5,805 yards||SSS 68.0|
|Red||5,153 yards||SSS 70.4|
Pinehurst's first ever course was originally laid out by Dr. Leroy Culver and John Dunn Tucker but it is clearly Donald Ross’s touch that you feel as you play it.
Making liberal use of bunkers along the fairways and around the greens this 6,089 yard par 70 course will punish any wild drives or poor short game play
|Designed by||Donald Ross|
|Opened for play||1898|
|Blue||6,089 yards||SSS 68.4|
|White||5,806 yards||SSS 67.4|
|Green||5,466 yards||SSS 65.5|
|Red||5,167 yards||SSS 64.1|
|Yellow||4,197 yards||SSS 61.0|
Built in 1901, the Carolina Hotel at Pinehurst evokes all the elegance and grandeur of the South at the turn of the century. The building itself is a National Historic Landmark, and with its stately columns, perfect white façade and stunning entrance, there are few more beautiful bases for a golfing pilgrimage.
In addition to the renowned Southern hospitality, the hotel offers its guests a choice of 220 rooms and suites, every one of which reflects the quintessential elegance of this Carolina resort. The finest fittings and amenities are perfectly complemented by the service and attention to detail that really makes for a special experience.
With Pinehurst's legendary golfing options on the doorstep, make the Carolina your chosen base to experience some of the world's finest golf.The Spa at Pinehurst is rated as a four star facility by the esteemed Mobil Travel Guide, thanks to its delightful ambience, and the 40 different face and body treatments designed for complete relaxation and rejuvenation. Pinehurst's 24-court tennis centre was the host of the US Clay Court Championships in the 1990s, and you can try lawn bowls or croquet. For aquatic adventure, the pool and beach club are the place to relax, while the private lake offers sailing, kayaking and fishing.
Pinehurst is a great family destination - the resort runs activity clubs for children and teens of all ages.
The resort has an astonishing 9 different restaurants; for the true fine dining experience, enjoy the 1895 Grille, the only Four Diamond rated eatery in the region.
In memory if the 1951 match, the Ryder Cup Lounge serves speciality drinks like the ‘Arnold Palmer'.
Very nice hotel ideally situated at the centre of the Pinehurst golf experience. Stunning surroundings and very efficiently run. The hotel was full during our stay but at no time did it feel overly busy or rushed. The golf experience was first class. Our clubs disappeared immediately upon our arrival and were there to meet us on arrival at each course ready for our round. We had only two slight criticisms which prevent us awarding 5 stars all round. These were, firstly, the fact that the concierge at the hotel was not very keen to help us arrange our travel when we ventured beyond the resort for our golf at Tobacco Road and, secondly, that the overall Spa experience was not up to the standard at, for example, Gleneagles. Despite the above small criticisms we had a great holiday and will definitely return.
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Something out of this world.
After our experience of No’s 4, 6 and 8 we were slightly concerned that No 2 couldn’t be much better. How wrong we were!! No wonder it is a US Open course, it is stunning. We had a caddy for this course and decided to dispense with the cart in order to walk the course and get the full experience and we are very pleased that we did. This is a ‘bucket list’ experience but we certainly intend to play it again.
Excellent course right at the heart of the Pinehurst golf experience. Completely fulfilled our expectations.
Another excellent course, in my opinion slightly behind No 6 in terms of overall condition and the speed of the greens. However, it is very difficult to pick a preference between the two.
We played this course first and enjoyed the experience very much indeed. Excellent condition and very fast greens. All the golf staff and the starter were very helpful and appeared to be keen that we enjoyed our day.
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