Appeared in April 2008 LINKS
The Sandhills area has been a perennial stop on the competitive circuits of big-time golf. In addition to being the site of the North and South Amateur, Pinehurst No. 2 has hosted two U.S. Opens, a Ryder Cup, a PGA Championship and in August will host its second U.S. Amateur. Pine Needles has been the site of three U.S. Women’s Opens. The good news: Both courses are open to the public, as are more than 40 other courses in a 15-mile radius. The bad news: Donald Ross greens are as tough in person as they appear on television.
Pinehurst Resort has eight courses. No. 1 just reopened after a $1.7 million renovation. No. 2 is Ross’ masterpiece and vexes golfers with its unique inverted-saucer greens. Nos. 4 and 8, both Tom Fazio creations, are challenging. Old-world Ross classics with small greens can be found four miles away at Pine Needles and Mid Pines. Arnold Palmer’s Mid South Club is one of the modern era’s best. And love it or hate it, Tobacco Road Golf Club is unlike any course you’ve played.
With its trademark copper roof and white siding, the Carolina has welcomed golfers since 1901. Guests today enjoy the National Historic Landmark facility that has all the modern conveniences. Just a few steps away in the Village of Pinehurst, the Holly Inn is a romantic hideaway, while the Pine Crest Inn is a trip back in time. Mid Pines Inn stands in Georgian splendor just as it did upon its opening in 1921.
Located in the Holly Inn, 1895 Grille is the area’s only Four Diamond restaurant. Warren Lewis has operated Chef Warren’s for a decade in Southern Pines; the tapas menu is a favorite among locals. Also in Southern Pines, try the seafood at 195. Located between Southern Pines and Pinehurst, Ironwood Cafe offers an eclectic mix of entrees, from sashimi tuna to filet mignon.
Visit the nearby town of Seagrove to shop the wares of nearly 100 potters or hike through the Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve. The Sandhills has a rich equestrian heritage, and early morning at the Pinehurst Harness Track is a good time to watch the horses being put through their paces.