Celebrate 100 years at the cradle of American golf
2007 is a special year for Pinehurst Resort: The new Pinehurst Golf Academy recently opened its doors to students, and Nos. 2 and 4 will be in tournament shape as they prepare for the 2008 U.S. Amateur. But the big news is that Pinehurst’s most famous course, Donald Ross’ legendary No. 2, turns 100 years old.
With more than 16,000 golf courses in the United States, you’d think there would be plenty of opportunities for golfers to find their own slice of heaven—a quiet, unpopulated course where they can roam freely without feeling crowded by other golfers. But that’s not the case. Even though 3,206 courses have been added to the U.S. golf course database since 1990, it’s still really hard to find 18 holes that you can call your own. Wouldn’t it be great to know that you could just walk on a course whenever you wanted and have the place all to yourself?
Things aren’t always the way they seem. Remember M. Night Shyamalan’s movie, The Sixth Sense, with its edge-of-your-seat surprise ending? (If you haven’t seen it, Bruce Willis reveals in the last minute that he wears a toupee.) Just kidding.
“We Built This City On Rock And Ross.” Donald Ross’s imprint on golf-course design has been everlasting. Ross’s love affair with Pinehurst began with his work on the famed No. 2 course at the Pinehurst Resort—a course most experts agree is not only the finest of Ross’s designs, but also among the best ever designed in America.
The Civil War marks the darkest, most trying period in all of American history. It all began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate artillery opened fire on Fort Sumter. The Union army surrendered the fort less than two days later. Journey by boat into Charleston Harbor and experience the isolation and vulnerability that those soldiers felt when hostilities erupted. A bonus of the trip is a wonderful view of Charleston from the water.
The common misperception is that all 100+ courses along the Grand Strand are right on top of each other. Not the case. (It’s not named the Grand Strand for nothing.) From the southern chunk of North Carolina to Georgetown County 20 miles south of Myrtle Beach, the Grand Strand (or as numerologists call it, Hwy. 17) stretches over 60 miles with golf courses that range from the sublime high-end daily fees to cheap munis. It seems there’s literally every type (and price range) available for all kinds of budgets and skill levels.
We know what you’re thinking. And while we’re somewhat guilty of taking pleasure in riding the Peter Pan and Dumbo rides, the Walt Disney World mecca is also home to some outstanding golf. There are 99 holes there, with top-rated golf courses that include the Magnolia and Palm, two courses that regularly play host to the PGA Tour every year. Say what you will about the theme parks, Walt Disney World has some awesome golf courses to boot.
It’s not hard to see why the people at Cuscowilla Golf Resort really love golf. Just look at the place. For starters, the grounds unfold about 70 miles from Atlanta in Eatonton, Ga., at the banks of the spectacular 20,000-acre Lake Oconee. The centerpiece—err, masterpiece—golf course is a tremendous work of art, a collaboration by arguably one of the hottest design duos in the world (Ben Crenshaw/Bill Coore).
For golf lovers there's no better place on earth than Myrtle Beach—or more appropriately, the Carolinas' "Grand Strand". The 60+ mile stretch between southeastern North Carolina and Georgetown, South Carolina, with the Sun-Fun City of Myrtle Beach at the center, offers 100+ golf courses designed for every kind of golfer.
Only 12 miles long and five miles wide, Hilton Head is a maritime jewel off the southernmost coast of South Carolina, about 40 miles northwest of Savannah, Ga. Remarkably, golf wasn't introduced to this thickly forested barrier island until 1956 when the first course, the Ocean Course, opened. The course is in Sea Pines Resort, a 5,500-acre residential and recreational development pioneered by Charles Fraser, son of a timber magnate, who's heralded as modern Hilton Head's founding father.
Earlier this summer, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem announced the 2007 Tour schedule. It was a moment many golf fans were anticipating, as the details of the long-awaited FedEx Cup, a NASCAR-like season-long point race, were revealed.
Myrtle Beach is one of those places that exists in pure dichotomy, where it seems you can be in two completely different places at the same time. On one hand, you have a jillion high-end golf courses to pick and choose from, most of which rival the best golf courses along the eastern seaboard. Several present not only a dazzling setting and an exciting challenge, but also a warm sense of southern hospitality, charm, class and sophistication. On the other hand, Myrtle Beach can be just as enticing off course, that is, if wearing a bib and chowing down on crabmeat or throwing back a pitcher of beer (or two) with your buddies is high on your list of things to do.
The home of golf in the United States is a hotly debated topic, but Charleston can actually lay claim to the nation’s first golf course and golf club—Harleston Green and the South Carolina Golf Club, both of which were established in 1786. And while Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head may be the main golfing destinations in the Palmetto State, Charleston also possesses its own rich golfing culture.
Nestled in the Sandhills of central North Carolina lies a roughly triangular area encompassing the villages of Southern Pines, Aberdeen and the quaint little walking village of Pinehurst (designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also created New York's Central Park) and Pinehurst Resort. The center of Pinehurst-area golf is, and always has been, the Resort’s world-renowned #2 course. Today the area is home to 43 excellent courses and counting. It’s known as the "Home of American Golf."
Coastal Georgia and South Carolina supply great golf with a Southern charm. Florida supplies great golf with everything else.
Perhaps no other region in the country has such a varied and stunning definition as the great Southeast. Depending on who you are and where you’re from, the states of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina probably have a different meaning to you. Take a 13-year-old kid from Wisconsin, for example, and Florida to him is all about thrill rides, waterslides and Jet Skis. To a middle-aged boating enthusiast from New York, the region is paradise for power boating, deep-sea fishing and sailing.