THE HOLLY INN OPENED 1895-THE CAROLINA IN 1900-THE MANOR INN IN 1923 nothing but great historical southern charm in lodging-See the details at Pinehurst.com _____________________________________________________________________
THE GOG BLOG by Rory Spears, Director of Content and Creation. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy and on Facebook and LinkedIn or Instagram.
THIS IS PART 3 and the final part of our look at Pinehurst, and the Pinehurst Resort.
It’s also the last feature from our winter trip that revolves around the annual PGA Merchandise Show.
Pinehurst has 10 courses, #1-9 and the par 3 course the Cradle, that was featured in Part 2 of this series. It took me 22 years to play all of the courses, since I never rushed into playing them all right away. Before long there could be a Pinehurst #10, if the effects of the Covid-19 Virus don’t cripple the economy for too long down the road. More on that plan later. In the meantime, if your looking for a place to play Pinehurst has it’s courses open, hopefully all of the hotels will be too come April 30th, as currently planned.
THE PINEHURST 10-TOUCH’EM ALL by RORY SPEARS, along with LEN ZIEHM from Lenziehmongolf as part of the “Where you Going” travel series.
And with that, the final hole #18 on Pinehurst 5, was played to complete playing every hole at Pinehurst.
Len Ziehm sum’s up Pinehurst No.2 in this manner, after covering the 1999 and 2005 U.S. Opens in Pinehurst.
Course No.2 a Donald Ross design will always be the resort’s most famous course, as that it should be.
But No.2 is no longer the whole show in town, especially since the Gil Hanse renovation of Course No.4. While No.4 has more of the look that Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw brought to Course No.2 almost 10 years ago, it does have a bit of a different feel than the history-rich No.2.
PINEHURST RESORT PRESIDENT TOM PASHLEY (L) welcomes golfers to the new Pinehurst 4, (R) the new hole on Pinehurst No.4, the par 3 11th hole.
Pinehurst No.4 has been tweaked by some of the great golf architects since 1919 when originally designed by Donald Ross. Robert Trent Jones was first in 1973, followed by his son Rees in 1982, with Tom Fazio next in 1999, before the recent redo by Gil Hanse. Even without much of a tournament resume, No.4 was used as the partner course with No.2 for the 2019 U.S. Amateur. Hanse brought more of the waste area scruffy look seen on No.2, and it’s a perfect compliment to the U.S. Open venue.
Course No.1 by Ross, opened in 1901 and the course is considered one of the best secret’s at the resort because many of the guests, don’t play it. While it’s only a par 70, at 6,089 yards, it’s a real treat to see where golf started in Pinehurst, if you don’t count the sand greens holes, that once sat where the par 3, Cradle Course is today. But this short course, still has a 222 yard par 3, 12th hole, that’s all you can ask for off the tee.
Pinehurst No.2 the 7th hole from green to tee.
Course No.2, what more can you say, it’s the Ross masterpiece that has hosted U.S Open’s, PGA’s, the Ryder Cup, and of course the famed North and South Championship.
Maybe the best walk off finish at a U.S. Open was on No.2, when the late Payne Stewart made his par putt to win the 1999 U.S. Open.
Pinehurst No.2 will host it’s fourth U.S. Open (men’s), and fifth U.S. Open in 25 years come 2024. The course is just that good. One of six U.S. Open Courses you can play and when you do, take a caddy.
The par 3, 4th 119 yards, in between the bunkers and over the pond. Is a great short par 3 hole on Pinehurst 3.
Pinehurst 3 and Pinehurst 5 both underwent some tweaking, that was needed to accommodate the building of the par 3, Cradle Course.
Course No.3 got two new par 3 holes, while Course No.3 and No.5 got new starting holes in the renovation process.
Pinehurst No.3 is about as short as it gets outside the Cradle. The tips sit back at only 5,155 yards, but there is enough elevation change, and a few tight landing zones that make it play longer. It’s redone new look makes it feel more like courses 2 and 4, and it’s fun to play.
Ellis Maples a protege of Ross created Pinehurst 5, it’s par 3 15th hole (pictured above) is called the Cathedral Hole. Robert Trent Jones did a renovation in 1971.
PINEHURST 6 is the first Pinehurst Resort course built away from the heart of town and the resort. New homes were built around the new course that was designed in 1979 by George Fazio and his nephew Tom Fazio, who returned in 2005 to do renovation work on the course. As the resort planed to put more resort guests out on this course, when the resort was at peak times. Pinehurst 6 yardage is expanded to 7,053 yards and a par of 72.
A visiting golf reporter in October of 2005, turns down a chance to play a busy course No.2, and decides to check out Fazio’s recent renovations on No.6. It’s a decision that pay’s off, when his 172 yard 6-Iron on the par 3, 7th hole, goes in for his only hole-in-one in his 47 years of playing golf. Pinehurst who takes good care of those making an ace on it’s courses, sends a certificate and bag-tag. A week later the red pin-flag arrives from off the flag-stick, and still hangs in the Spears home. Making the moment even more memorable.
PINEHURST 7 was designed by Rees Jones in 1986, and Jones returned for renovation work in 2002. Jones takes advantage here of elevation change, and gives golfers who love to drive the ball a little extra help with a fair-share of holes that are downhill off the tee box. But that extra distance off the tee forces golfers to be left with several uphill approach shots into greens.
Jones found history while working on No.7, discovering some old bunkers designed by Ross, from an abandoned employees golf course built years before. Jones took those bunkers and brought them back, but they do sit close to the tee box on the 4th hole. Other classic holes include the par 4, 7th hole called the “Devil’s Gut” that requires a well-struck approach over wetlands. The double-dogleg par 5, 12th hole includes one of the uphill greens. If your looking for an island green the par 3, 16th hole, complete with long finger bunkers of sand, surround this island green with no-water required.
No.7 is also the answer to a trivia question. Name the only course in Pinehurst Tiger Woods ever won a tournament on. Woods won the Big I Insurance Youth Classic in 1992, on course No.7.
The Pinehurst 8 Clubhouse from the 18th fairway.
Tom Fazio returned to Pinehurst in 1996 to design Pinehurst 8, and help it join the Pinehurst family in time for the resorts 100th anniversary.
Fazio had his own design in mind when he set out to build No.8 over 420 acres of land, and like Course No.6, it sits a few miles away from the main resort.
But what Fazio did was add a little touch of Ross to the greens and surrounding area’s. Fazio had room to make the greens bigger than the Ross classic greens on No.2, but get around the edges of these greens, and the spirit of Ross will find your golf ball. No.8 has wetlands, something not found for the most part on other Pinehurst Resort Courses, so the look is a different yet scenic No.8. It’s designated as a Sanctuary Course by the National Audubon Society. No.8 can play all the way back at 7,139 yards, to a par of 72.
Pinehurst No.9 the 8th hole by Jack Nicklaus.
PINEHURST NO.9, by Jack Nicklaus was designed in 1988, with a return by Nicklaus in 2012.
The club known for years as Pinehurst National is surrounded by large homes but had some financial issues. That led to it ending up under the Pinehurst Resort umbrella around 6 years ago.
The move was a good one for both sides. Pinehurst put some money into area’s the golf course needed, and the resort gained an asset allowing it to send guests and members out to play a Nicklaus design in Pinehurst, not far from the heart of town. This par 72 layout, tops out at 7,122 yards, and it’s fun to see a Nicklaus design with some Pinehurst flavor and Ross features, that will test your game.
The Cradle is the resorts Par 3 venue and the tenth course, see Part 2 of this series on the Gil Hanse 789 yards of fun, that sits outside the main clubhouse. Part of the reasoning on not calling the Cradle Pinehurst No.10, is that it only has 9 holes.
Welcome to the Pit, could it be the future home of Pinehurst No.10.
AT ONE TIME, THE PIT GOLF COURSE was not a Pit, in fact it was well liked by many golfers especially ones from out of town that came to play it.
What it is today, is closed for one, but an overgrown and abandoned golf course. A walk through the Pit these days is something out of a spooky-movie, or a Scooby-Doo mystery cartoon.
But the Pit or at least part of it could get revived by Pinehurst, that owns the land and adjoining land. A new routing might only include a few of the old corridors. In The Golden Age of Pinehurst Book by author Lee Pace, The Story of the Rebirth of No.2, page 336 finds a routing submitted to Pinehurst by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. At the time the plan was called Pinehurst No.9, which now won’t be the case.
Coore calls the land spectacular, and feels Crenshaw and he can do something special there. We bet they can too. For now Pinehurst has 10 special golf courses, go enjoy them all, and do it quicker than a 22-year window. It will be fun. Pinehurst.com for details. “Where it’s always a Beautiful Day.”