10 Major Reasons To Visit The Home Of American Golf
Pinehurst, North Carolina
“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. And although he designed or redesigned more than 400 courses (no, that’s not a misprint) in 30 states, Pinehurst remains the single greatest collection of Donald Ross courses you can play, including those at Pinehurst Resort, Pine Needles Lodge and Mid Pines Inn. For a great review on the legend of the Scotland-born Donald Ross, hop online and check out the Donald Ross Society at www.donaldrosssociety.org.
Girl Power. The gals will be back in ’07—Michelle, Cristie, Natalie, Paula and defending champion Annika Sorenstam will put their top games to the ultimate test at Pine Needles, host course for the 2007 Women’s U.S. Open in June. Pine Needles, designed by Donald Ross (but refurbished by John Fought), is a must-play for any golfer coming to Pinehurst. The driving, iron, short and recovery games are all put to the test on this championship-caliber layout. Also, one shouldn’t miss Pine Needles’ slightly older sibling—Mid Pines. It too is among Ross’s most highly acclaimed courses in Pinehurst. And by the way, if you guys aren’t convinced these girls can play, come be humbled and watch the stars of the LPGA. For more information, visit www.uswomensopen.com.
The Big Daddy. Let’s end the confusion. When people refer to “Pinehurst,” the distinction ought to be made between the Pinehurst Resort and the actual town of Pinehurst. Pinehurst Resort is in, well, Pinehurst, N.C. When referring to the Pinehurst area, that also includes the surrounding towns of Southern Pines and Aberdeen. (All three places reside in Moore County.) Pinehurst Resort, however, remains the prima donna of the region, housing some of the most special and monumental courses in the world. There are eight courses here, with the Donald Ross-designed No. 2 garnering the most praise. If you get a chance, play it. If not, play No. 7 and No. 8. Heck, play ’em all if you can! For more on the Pinehurst Resort, check out www.pinehurst.com.
Golf Schools. Since most golfers who visit Pinehurst will be playing several rounds during their stay, it only makes sense to take a lesson or two. Pinehurst is home to several great golf schools, and among the most popular are the John Jacobs Golf School located at Woodlake Resort, the School for Learning Golf at Pine Needles, and lastly, the Golf Advantage School located at Pinehurst Resort. All three will have golfers primed for the rounds of their lives. For more, visit www.jacobsgolf.com, www.golfari.com, www.pinehurst.com/golf_school.asp.
Package Providers. Like a few other popular destinations in the United States, Pinehurst also has its fair share of solid golf-package providers who can take over all the hassles of hotel reservations, tee times and restaurant recommendations. The best way to get started is to browse sites on the Internet. Start with Sandhills (www.sandhillsgolf.com) and you’ll see there’s plenty to choose from. Other popular package providers include GolfPac (www.golfpactravel.com), Condotels (www.condotelsofpinehurst.com) and Pinehurst Golf Trips (www.pinehurstgolftrips.com).
Old-Time Charm. Opened in 1921, Mid Pines, a Donald Ross-designed layout is a pure classic and significantly hillier and somewhat shorter than its sister course at Pine Needles. Nevertheless, this is the kind of course that’s in vogue, requiring golfers to do more than just bomb drives and hit high approaches. Mid Pines is a true thinker’s course, but it’s designed a bit softer and is more accommodating to the recreational player. In fact, Donald Ross designed this course to be fun first and challenging second. Either way, Mid Pines is a must-play for players of all abilities. It’s a hoot. Visit www.pineneedles-midpines.com.
Side Trippin’. Yes, it’s true. Pinehurst is and always will be a golf destination, and compared to other golf hubs, what’s left to be done between rounds is less than what you’d find at places like Las Vegas or Orlando. Nevertheless, there are a few things to do, if time allows. First, the Campbell House Gallery has a variety of art pieces for sale by local artists. The House in the Horseshoe is an 18th-century plantation home that was formerly a cotton plantation. (The house clearly shows bullet holes resulting from a 1781 skirmish between Whigs and Tories.) Finally, the North Carolina Zoological Park ranks among the top five in North America. Don’t miss it. Links and phone numbers for all three attractions can be found at www.homeofgolf.com.