Pinehurst Resort: No. 2 and much more

There are eight championship courses at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club in Pinehurst, N.C., four designed by architectural giant Donald Ross.

The others were designed by George and Tom Fazio, Rees Jones and Dan and Ellis Maples.

Pinehurst No. 2, of course, is Ross’ masterpiece, recognized since its opening in 1907 as one of the most challenging layouts in the world. It plays to 7,252 yards from the tips, with a par of 72, and has a 75.9 USGA rating with a slope of 138.

No. 2, which is hosting the U.S. Open beginning Thursday and the U.S. Women’s Open next week, has been the site of more big-time championships than any other course in the United States.

In 1999, Payne Stewart beat Phil Mickelson with a 15-foot par putt on the 72nd hole to win the U.S. Open, and when the tournament returned in 2005, Michael Campbell of New Zealand held off Tiger Woods to win by two strokes.

The beauty of the No. 2 course belies the difficulty, with the subtlety of Ross’ design coming into view only after the golfer lands in a strategically placed bunker or has his ball trickle off one of the crowned greens.

However, the course, which recently was reworked by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore to play more as Ross intended, is playable for even the weekend golfer because the fairways are wide and forgiving.

Make your birdie or par on the easier third and fourth holes, because the diabolical fifth, a 483-yard par 4, and sixth, a 225-yard par 3, await with as punishing a one-two punch as golf can provide.

No. 14, at 471 yards to a green with trouble everywhere, is considered to be among the best two-shot holes in America.

Many a duffer has stood on the 18th green and tried to see if he could sink the same 15-foot putt that Stewart drained to win in 1999. A statue of Stewart in his fist-pumping pose after sinking the putt overlooks the 18th green.

Ben Hogan won for the first time as a pro on No. 2, beating Sam Snead by three strokes in the 1940 North and South Championship.

If you don’t get enough golf at Pinehurst, there is plenty nearby in the Sandhills of North Carolina to keep even the golf-aholic busy all day, seven days a week.

Ross also designed gems at Pine Needles Lodge and Mid Pines Inn, both in neighboring Southern Pines.

Others in the neighborhood are the Mid South Club, designed by Arnold Palmer, in Pinehurst; Legacy Golf Links in Aberdeen, designed by Jack Nicklaus II and host of the 2000 Women’s U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship; National Golf Club in Pinehurst, designed by Jack Nicklaus; and Tobacco Road Golf Club in Sanford, an innovative course designed by Mike Strantz.

Others worth a look are Talamore Golf Club, Little River Golf & Resort and Pinewild Country Club.

The Carolina Hotel is a National Historical Landmark in the center of Pinehurst that has been offering exquisite service to go with Southern charm since 1901.

Four U.S. presidents stayed at the Holly Inn in Pinehurst, which opened its doors in 1895.

The Manor Inn has been one of Arnold Palmer’s favorite hangouts since he visited Pinehurst with his father as a boy.

In addition to Pine Needles Lodge and the Mid Pines Inn, quality accommodations may be found at the Old Buggy Inn in Carthage.



Story courtesy of The Sports Xchange, TSX Golf Editor Tom LaMarre

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