By Al Lunsford
There’s a reason why Pinehurst has earned the moniker “Cradle of American Golf.” With nine courses on property and new amenities constantly sprouting, the historic golf resort continues to affirm itself as a must-go destination for any fan of the past, present, and future of the game.
Here are 10 things that Pinehurst gets right.
1. High Quality Golf
Of course, the most important piece of the Pinehurst puzzle is the golf, and the courses here are spectacular. The ultimate test is No. 2—Donald Ross’s crown jewel and host to the 1951 Ryder Cup along with multiple USGA Championships (the U.S. Open returns in 2024). Many say the No. 4 course, redone by Gil Hanse in 2018, now goes toe-to-toe with its noble neighbor. Guests will surely enjoy the Centennial course at No. 8 (vintage Tom Fazio), Ross’s No. 3 (a mini-No. 2), and Jack Nicklaus’s No. 9 (formerly Pinehurst National) which feels more like a private club than a crowded resort scene. Then there’s the first Pinehurst course at No. 1, the par-3 course “The Cradle,” and the list goes on…
2. The Cradle
Pinehurst’s par-3 course deserves more than just a casual mention. Before Hanse started working on No. 4, he learned what he was dealing with on the property by routing nine short holes onto the space that was previously occupied by the first holes of courses No. 3 and No. 5. The holes range from approximately 50–130 yards and feature some of the most complex greens on property. Easy-listening music starts playing around noon and $50 allows you to play as many times as you want all day. It’s great golf at a peak-fun level.
Pinehurst has a collection of unique lodging options, each with a signature look and feel. The iconic Carolina Hotel is quintessential Pinehurst, featuring spacious suites, the Ryder Cup Lounge, and the majestic Carolina Dining Room. The Manor underwent a recent renovation and has casual, modern sleeping quarters and the stylish new North & South cocktail bar. Pinehurst’s first hotel, The Holly, is an intimate trip into the history of the Village.
We are delighted to let you know The Manor is open again. You may begin booking reservations at (855) 235-8507. pic.twitter.com/xgXGPlHaRj
— Pinehurst Resort (@PinehurstResort) June 26, 2020
4. The Details
It’s the little things that people remember fondly about Pinehurst. Collectors will clamor over the unique tees and ball markers found at each course. Resort employees, always eager to assist, are the epitome of southern hospitality. The names of every dining establishment are well thought out, from the 91st Hole bar to the 1895 Grille.
5. Pinehurst Brewing Company
One of the area’s newest additions has become the go-to spot to gather after a long day on the links. Built in the steam plant that provided power to the Village of Pinehurst in the late 1800s, Pinehurst Brewing has a wide variety of beers on tap, a scenic beer garden, and a smokehouse menu you’ll salivate over. Save room for the sampler platter and try it all.
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6. The Deuce
Located directly behind the 18th green at No. 2, The Deuce tavern is among the best 19th holes in golf. Pinehurst turned the veranda with a few rocking chairs into a post-round hot spot with comfortable indoor/outdoor seating and a tremendous view of players attempting their best Payne Stewart impression on No. 2’s iconic finishing hole. Pro-tip: players who score a two on any hole of course No. 2 receive a special “2 on 2” coin from behind the bar.
When it’s lunchtime at Pinehurst, there are nothing but good choices. One of the best of them is the Deuce’s Housemade Pastrami Reuben: pic.twitter.com/WtcNKeSzmU
— Pinehurst Resort (@PinehurstResort) June 11, 2018
7. Thistle Dhu Putting Course
Hanse’s footprint is seemingly everywhere at Pinehurst, including the sprawling 18-hole putting course adjacent to the clubhouse near the iconic Putter Boy statue. The name references the first miniature golf course in America—in 1916, James Barber built his home and putting course in Pinehurst and remarked, “This’ll do.” Hence the name.
8. The Pinecone & The Nest
The two best views on property may be at these two inimitable watering holes. The Pinecone (literally, it looks like a pinecone) is a mobile beverage station situated with Adirondack chairs between the 8th green and 9th tee of The Cradle—beckoning players to sit for a while or grab a refreshment for another loop around the par-3. The Nest is a new halfway house blending in between the 10th hole of No. 2 and the 5th and 9th holes of No. 4. Designed to resemble the original Pinehurst clubhouse, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a signature Woodpecker cocktail.
The Pinecone is a perfect place to take a break on The Cradle.
While walking around the resort is encouraged and manageable (everything is within about a mile), Pinehurst employs a comfortable on-call shuttle system that carries passengers throughout the Village free of charge. While staying at the resort, guests can feel free to leave their wallet behind and use their assigned resort card to pay for dining and souvenirs.
10. Preserving History
The Village and clubhouse are teeming with the history of the game. From the statue garden at the Walk of Fame, to the major championship memorabilia displays inside the clubhouse, to the iconic Putter Boy, Pinehurst’s ode to its legends adds to the legacy of this special golf sanctuary.
What did we miss? Let us know in the comment section.