PINEHURST RESORT (No. 2)
Course Architect(s): Donald Ross (1901-48), Rees Jones (1996-99, 2004),
Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw (2010-12 - renovation and
Year Opened: 1907
Location: Village of Pinehurst, North Carolina
Slope: 141. Rating: 76.4
Par: 70 (U.S. Open Par). 72 for Resort Guests
Hole-by-Hole: 1 - Par 4 406 Yds 10 - Par 5 619 Yds
2 - Par 4 503 Yds 11 - Par 4 486 Yds
3 - Par 4 389 Yds 12 - Par 4 451 Yds
4 - Par 5 569 Yds 13 - Par 4 385 Yds
5 - Par 4 476 Yds 14 - Par 4 479 Yds
6 - Par 3 223 Yds 15 - Par 3 205 Yds
7 - Par 4 429 Yds 16 - Par 4 534 Yds
8 - Par 4 490 Yds 17 - Par 3 208 Yds
9 - Par 3 190 Yds 18 - Par 4 453 Yds
Par 35 3,675 Yds Par 35 3,820 Yds
Key Events Held: U.S. Open (1999, 2005, 2014),
U.S. Senior Open (1994),
U.S. Women's Open (2014),
Tour Championship (1991-92),
U.S. Women's Amateur (1989),
Hall of Fame Tournament (1983),
World Open/Hall of Fame Classic (1973-82),
Men's and Women's World Amateur Team Championship (1980),
PGA Club Professional Championship (1971-74, 1988),
World Senior Amateur Team Championship (1967),
U.S. Amateur (1962, 2008),
Ryder Cup (1951),
PGA Championship (1936),
North and South Women's Amateur (1903-present),
North and South Amateur (1901-present).
Awards Won: Ranked #1 by Golf Digest - Best in State Rankings (NC) (2004-10),
Ranked #1 by Golfweek - Best in State Public Rankings (NC) (2012),
#2 by Golf Digest - America's best state-by-state (2011-12),
Ranked #5 by Golfweek - America's Top 100 Resort Courses (2012),
#8 by Golf Digest - U.S. 100 Greatest Public Courses (2011-12),
Rated #11 by Golfweek - Best Classic Courses (2012),
Ranked #10 by Golf Magazine - Top 100 U.S. Courses (2011-12),
Rated #15 by Golf Magazine - Top 100 World Courses (2011),
Platinum Golf Resort by Golf Magazine (2012).
HISTORY: Pinehurst Resort, and especially course No. 2, is steeped in
tradition. The resort was conceived by Boston soda fountain magnate James
Walker Tufts, who purchased 5,500 acres, intending to build a resort for a
winter escape for the northern snowbirds. The price? Just $1 per acre.
After the first course was laid out in the late 1890s, Scottish-born course
designer Donald Ross was brought in to design three courses and redo No. 1.
Famed No. 2 opened for play in 1907 with oiled sand or dirt greens, as the
summers would not maintain grass. Over the years, Ross tinkered with his pride
and joy for over 40 years, finally settling on its current configuration in
1935. Ross certainly was happy with the result, calling it, "the fairest test
of championship golf I have ever designed."
The man most relied upon recently to renovate and update U.S. Open courses,
Rees Jones, aptly nicknamed the "Open Doctor," had this to say about No. 2:
"Pinehurst No. 2 is sacred ground in golf. It's Donald Ross's ultimate design
because it's his most hands-on creation."
When first opened in 1907, the course was a mere 5,860 yards. Over a century
later, the course has been lengthened many times and now stands at over 7,400
The PGA Championship of 1936 was the first major event held on No. 2, as Ross
converted all of the greens to grass. With this change, Ross' surfaces took
on a more domed look, thus creating the most difficult greens in golf.
"This contouring around a green makes possible an infinite variety in the
requirements for short shots that no other form of hazard can call for," Ross
Ross completely changed every green, using horse-drawn, drag-pans to
change the putting surfaces and shape the mounds. In addition, his changes
lengthen the layout to 6,879 yards.
Barely qualifying for the match-play portion of the PGA Championship, Denny
Shute knocked off Jimmy Thomson in the 36-hole final, 3 & 2, to capture the
1936 event. Some of the great players of the day failed to reach match-play,
including Walter Hagen, Byron Nelson and Leo Diegel.
Another noteworthy event was the 1940 North-South Open Championship, as it
marked the first professional win for Ben Hogan, an event he would win two
more times (1942, 1946).
One of the most revered events in amateur history is the North & South Amateur
Championship, first held at Pinehurst in 1901. Some of the past champions
reads like a who's who, with winners such as Walter Travis, Francis Quimet,
Harvie Ward Jr., Jack Nicklaus, Curtis Strange, Hal Sutton, Corey Pavin, Billy
Andrade, Davis Love III and Jack Nicklaus II.
The women's North & South dates back to 1903 with former winners Louise Suggs,
Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Hollis Stacy, Carol Semple Thompson, Donna
Andrews, Brandie Burton, Kelly Robbins, Laura Diaz, Yani Tseng, Morgan Pressel
and two-time winner Beth Bauer.
The world would come to Pinehurst in 1951 for the Ryder Cup matches, but,
sadly, without the course designer present because Ross passed away in
Pinehurst in 1948.
The ninth edition of the Ryder Cup, featured an imposing U.S. team which
included Jimmy Demaret, Ben Hogan, Lloyd Mangrum and captain Sam Snead,
as the Americans crushed the squad from Great Britain, 9 1/2 to 2 1/2. The
result was so overwhelming that only two of the 12 matches reached the final
hole. This would be the final Ryder Cup for Demaret, who retired with a
perfect 6-0 Ryder Cup mark. The course was lengthened again to just over 7,000
yards for the event.
The U.S. Amateur Championship would make its first stop at No. 2 in 1962, as
Labron Harris Jr defeated Downing Gray, 1-up. Along the way, Harris defeated
the likes of Richard Sikes, Homero Blancas and Billy Joe Patton, who would
declare No. 2 "a masterpiece."
The '70s were a difficult time for Pinehurst and the course suffered. With the
passing of James Tufts, the course was passed on to his son and he in turn
sold the property. The new owners came in and completely changed No. 2. Among
the modifications, was to take out all of the sandy waste areas from along
side the fairways and planting grass inside the tree-lines. As the years went
by, course conditions worsened and even though the PGA Tour brought in an
event, the bite of No. 2 was gone. Some of the past winners of that event
included Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Ray Floyd, Hale Irwin and Tom Watson,
all major championship winners.
Following a Champions Tour event in 1983 won by Rod Funseth with a record-
tying score of 18-under-par, change was evident and Club Corp. took ownership
of the resort in the mid '80s. Under their leadership and vision, No. 2 was
brought back to its original look, feel and playability. Once again, the
course became firm and fast and the powers that be at the PGA Tour and USGA
levels took notice.
The U.S. Women's Amateur made its lone appearance on No. 2 back in 1989.
Vicki Goetze, who also defeated Annika Sorenstam in the 1992 Women's Amateur,
came away with a 4 & 3 win over future LPGA player Brandie Burton. Goetze
reached the championship match by defeating 1973 winner Carol Semple Thompson,
5 & 3.
The PGA Tour made a couple of visits back in 1991 and '92, as the Tour
Championship was held at Pinehurst. Craig Stadler was a playoff winner over
Russ Cochran in '91, while Paul Azinger defeated Lee Janzen and Corey Pavin by
three shots for the title in '92.
The next event for the USGA at Pinehurst was the U.S. Senior Open in 1994.
Starting the final round with a two-shot lead over Jim Albus, Simon Hobday,
who controlled this event from the onset with rounds of 66-67-66, saw his
lead trimmed to one with just three holes remaining. Graham Marsh moved to
10-under while Hobday climbed to 11 with birdies on the 16th and Albus stood
at nine-under. Marsh drew even with Hobday with a par on 17 and Albus, who
also made par, was just one back, as Hobday made four.
After all three players drove in the fairway on the last, only Albus found
the putting surface. However, his birdie try missed right.
Marsh then missed short from nine feet and Hobday knocked in his 2-foot par
putt for the title. His final round of 75 was good enough for a one-shot win
over Albus and Marsh. The victory, from start to finish, was one of five
Champions Tour titles and his only USGA crown. Bobby Nichols made a rare ace
during the championship, as he holed out on the 17th hole during the final
Prior to the 1999 U.S. Open, the greens at No. 2 went under the knife, as all
of the putting surfaces were replaced by Penn G-2. In addition, more yardage
was added to the layout, increasing it to 7,175 and playing to a par of 70.
When all is said and done, however, people will always talk about Pinehurst
No. 2 and Payne Stewart's final triumph.
The '99 championship at No. 2 proved to be one of the most exciting finishes
in Open history, as it all came down to the final hole.
Faced with a daunting 15-foot putt for par on the 18th green, Stewart
surveyed each and every angle and then rolled in the longest putt by a player
in the final group on the final hole for the victory. Stewart's famed reaction
is now captured by a statue, standing fittingly just behind the final hole.
Standing at 1-under par after three rounds, Stewart held a slim one-shot
advantage over Phil Mickelson. After trading the lead on holes 13 through 15,
Stewart moved into a tie with Lefty after saving par with a 25-foot putt
on 16, while Mickelson missed from eight feet for bogey. On the 17th hole,
Stewart knocked his 6-iron three feet away while Mickelson hit a 7-iron four
feet from the hole.
Putting first, Mickelson missed right while Stewart's putt ran true to take
the lead. After missing the fairway off the tee on 18, Stewart laid up, 80
yards shy of the green and then placed his approach 15 feet away. Mickelson,
who once again had a chance to tie, missed his birdie try from 25 feet,
setting up Stewart's heroic putt. Stewart was the lone player to finish
Sadly, this would be his final title, as four months later, Stewart, along
with his agents, Robert Fraley and Van Arden, and course architect Bruce
Borland and two pilots were killed in a plane crash. Pinehurst No. 2
proved to be a formable foe, as only Stewart finished under par (1-under).
For the week, the field managed to hit only 47.1 percent of the greens,
producing a scoring average of 74.55. In fact, after the second round, only
three players had broken par and no one for the week shot better than 67.
In preparation for the next championship, Rees Jones was brought in to repair
most of the bunkers and roughly 100 yards were added to the layout by adding
several new tee boxes, stretching the course to 7,214 yards.
The United States Golf Association returned to Pinehurst for the 2005 U.S.
Open, as Michael Campbell of New Zealand captured his first career major
championship. Four shots off the pace when the final round began, Campbell
fired a 1-under 69 to defeat Tiger Woods by two shots. Campbell was the lone
player in the field to finish at par or better with his four-round total of
Two-time U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen dominated this event through three
rounds, as he carded rounds of 68-70-69; however, a Sunday collapse of 81 sent
the South African down the leaderboard into a tie for 11th.
Tim Clark, who opened the tournament with a 76, tied for third with Sergio
Garcia and Mark Hensby after rounds of 69-70-70. Woods certainly had his
chances, but back-to-back bogeys on 16 and 17 from five feet did him in.
Campbell's final round was a steady one with four birdies and three bogeys,
two of which came on 16 and 18 when the championship was already in hand.
The 2005 U.S. Open at No. 2, along with Bethpage Black, were the longest
courses in U.S. Open history at 7,214 yards. The course played 92 yards longer
than in 1999. During the third round, Peter Jacobsen aced the ninth hole with
a 7-iron. Only one player played a bogey-free round throughout the
championship, as Arron Oberholser carded a second-round 67.
Just two years later the USGA announced the 2014 U.S. Open and the U.S.
Women's Open would be held in back-to-back weeks at Pinehurst No. 2, marking
the first time in history that two national championships would be staged on
the same course in consecutive weeks.
"This is a unique and wonderful opportunity to showcase the U.S. Open and U.S.
Women's Open," said then-USGA President Jim Vernon. "The USGA is constantly
striving to improve its championships, and conducting these championships in
back-to-back weeks allows the Association to provide a new and exciting
experience for the players and fans alike."
Not only is this unique, but No. 2 will become the first and only course to
host the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open, U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Amateur and U.S.
"This doubleheader, staged at one of the sport's most storied golf courses,
promises to provide a promotion of women's championship golf unlike anything
we've ever seen," said David Fay, USGA executive director.
Just one year later, the USGA returned for the 2008 U.S. Amateur, as courses
No. 2 and No. 4 were used. Additional changes were made to the course,
including No. 2 being lengthened to 7,281 yards. How difficult was the course
going to play? Well, the course rating was 76.2 with a slope of 140.
When all was said and done, 18-year-old Danny Lee of New Zealand became the
youngest winner in the history of this storied championship, as he defeated
Drew Kittleson, 5 & 4 in the title match.
Lee used a hot putter, as he poured in 13 birdies over 32 holes to defeat
Kittleson. At the time, Lee was six months younger than Woods was when
he won his first U.S. Amateur title.
All square after the opening nine holes, Lee birdied five of the next six
holes to pull away and held a 5-up advantage after the first 18. Kittleson
made a charge in the afternoon to get within 2-down, but Lee followed with a
pair of birdies and then closed out the match on the 32nd hole with a 30-foot
birdie. Lee never trailed in the match and finished 11-under par for the
Again, the courses at Pinehurst played extremely difficult, as only nine
players out of 312 finished under par and No. 2 played to a scoring average of
74.898 during the stroke-play portion of the championship. Generally a par-5
for the resort guests, the 16th played as a par-4 and was the most difficult
hole on the course averaging 4.502 strokes per player.
Following the U.S. Amateur, Pinehurst sought out a design team to restore No.
2 to its original Ross glory, the way it was intended.
The logical choice was Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.
Known for their minimalist approach and their shared admiration for classic
golf course architecture, Coore and Crenshaw began the restoration process in
February 2010, when they were named to return the character of No. 2.
There were several changes and modifications to the course, but the two
biggest were the removal of the rough and the conditioning.
That's right. All 35 acres of rough were stripped and restored with natural
areas featuring sand, pine straw and native grasses. In addition, a completely
new irrigation system was installed, replacing its 60-year-old archaic
"My mouth literally falls open when I see the incredible work that they've
done," said Mike Davis, current USGA executive director. "I've got to say, I'm
so excited about 2014 because it's going to be a very unique U.S. Open."
In addition, fairway widths and firmness of the landing areas were adjusted
for increased strategy in playing the course. "The premise is that the farther
a golfer hits it, the more chance there is of the ball running into the wire
grass and pine straw," Coore said. "They'll be able to see the ball in that
area, but they won't know what kind of lie they're going to have."
Another key change was the modification of the bunkers, as several were
eliminated, some were restored and others reshaped to match the original
images of the course dating back to the 1940s.
"It is not our intent to radically change this golf course," Coore said.
"We're trying to uncover it, not recover it. We're trying to take what Ross
left and perhaps bring it back to the character and definition of what was
once here. In short, we'll bring the strategy back, and reinstate its
What was once a course under 6,000 yards long, now stretches to the ungodly
length of 7,495 yards, with a slope of 141 and a course rating of 76.4.
"Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, what they did, was to really take it back to the
roots of Donald Ross, to really take the unique aspects of the sandhills of
North Carolina and maintain the attention to detail," said Davis. "It's always
certainly been a wonderful championship test, but what it is right now is it's
all those things plus more. It's hard to believe you could make Pinehurst No. 2
better, but it's been made a good bit better."
The before and after numbers are astounding. 61 acres of turf, down from 87
prior to restoration. 41 acres of fairways, up from 28 and zero acres of
rough, down from 50 for the 2005 U.S. Open.
Pinehurst president Don Padgett II said it best: "We're not doing this for
purely environmental reasons, nor are we doing this project as preparation for
the 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open Championship. We're doing it because
it's the right thing to do, as stewards of this historic course."
HOLE-BY-HOLE REVIEW: For starters, pick your tee box wisely. Pinehurst No. 2
can play from 5,267 yards to 7,495 yards, so choose from one of the five tee
boxes that will fit your game.
With your caddie in tow, the first is a straightaway par-4 only 406 yards
in length. A perfect start to get your juices flowing, the first, just like
all the holes on No. 2, relies on placement and strategy. Your tee shot
must be struck down the right side of the fairway to set up an easier
approach to the green. A short iron is all that is needed to attack the
putting surface, but beware, miss long, left or right and you'll have a
near impossible task of getting up and down. Play below the hole regardless
of the pin position, take par and move on. This is the longest green on the
course, 40 yards in length, but it is quite narrow.
The second, now 32 yards longer than in 2005, will require a big tee ball down
the left side of the fairway, avoiding the series of bunkers that guard the
landing area. A long iron or fairway metal is left and becomes more difficult
with a back-right pin placement, as sand guards the front-right of the putting
surface. Once again, all shots slightly off target will roll down away from
the flag. Along with the fifth, the second hole is one of the most difficult
on the course. During the 2005 Open, it played as the second hardest hole,
averaging 4.5 strokes.
One of the few opportunities for birdie on No. 2 is the short par-4 third,
although it has been lengthened to 389 yards with a new tee box. A long iron
or fairway metal down the left side is the play off the tee. A little wedge
remains to this elevated green guarded left and right by sand. The green
slopes severely from back to front, so below the hole will set up a realistic
birdie try. Long or bunkered will result in bogey or worse.
Another solid opportunity for birdie, the fourth is a reachable par-5 that
plays downhill to the fairway and then uphill to the green. The optimum
drive is down the left side, as the fairway slope goes to the right. If laying
up, be wary of the sand around the 100-yard mark on the right. In addition,
sand protects the left and right portions of the green. Any shot short of the
putting surface will slide back down the fairway, so your approach needs to be
spot on. One of the easier greens on the course, so birdie is a real
Now that you had a chance to pick up a couple of shots, the fifth will most
certainly bring you back to reality. Let's start out with an uphill tee shot
that needs to carry past the crest of a hill to have any shot at reaching the
green in two. Next, you're left with a shot of 200-plus yards, off a sidehill
lie with a long iron or fairway metal. Miss short and left and you'll find a
deep bunker, long and right and you'll leave yourself with an impossibility
for par. One of the most intimidating greens on the course. Consider
yourself fortunate if you make bogey. During his winning trip around No. 2
in 1999, Payne Stewart made par all four days on the fifth. In contrast,
Tiger Woods played the fifth in 2-over, as he finished two strokes back.
It comes as no surprise that the fifth hole was the hardest during the 1999
U.S. Open, playing to a scoring average of 4.54 and the third-most
difficult in 2005.
The sixth, the first par-3 on the course, is also the longest at 223 yards.
A long iron or fairway metal will be required to achieve success here. Not
only does the hole play slightly uphill, but a gentle breeze in the face
usually accompanies the sixth. One bunker on each side guards one of the
longer greens on the course. A low approach will kick up toward the flag, due
to the sloping, back to front surface. This hole proved to be the difference
between Stewart and runner-up Phil Mickelson, as Stewart made four pars and
Mickelson was 2-over, as he finished one back.
The seventh is a sharp dogleg to the right of 429 yards, as a new tee was
added to toughen up the hole. The right corner of the fairway is guarded by a
series of bunkers and native grasses. The safe approach to the left-center of
the landing area will result in a short to medium iron to a fairly small
putting surface guarded on both sides by sand. A back-right pin could cause
problems, so play for the center of the green to give yourself the best shot
Although a par-5 for most mortals, the eighth is played as a par-4 at 490
yards during tournament week. Your tee shot, played downhill toward the
fairway, must clear a pair of bunkers down the right side to have any chance
of gaining access to the green. The right-to-left sloping fairway will move
your teeball to the left. The second shot will play slightly uphill to a
green that features steep slopes left and long, and a sharp pitch from back
to front. Missing this surface behind the green will cause nightmares, as it
slopes down toward the ninth tee, leaving an uphill approach of at least 10
feet. Play this one like the resort guests do, as a par-5.
The outward nine closes with the shortest hole on the course, but certainly,
not the easiest. A mid iron is needed to negotiate this diabolical par-3 of
190 yards. Sand, slope and swirling winds make this hole quite challenging.
Bunkers guard the severely slick putting surface that slopes back to front and
left to right. Any shot toward the front of the green will roll back down the
fairway, while long will catch sand. In addition, shots just off to the right,
will find a steep chipping area that will chase your ball 15 feet below the
green. Club selection will be key on this hole, as the green is quite wide,
but very shallow. Stewart made only 11 bogeys during his four rounds at
No. 2, four of which came on the eighth and ninth holes.
The longest hole on the course, the first hole on the back nine is a brute at
619 yards. With new technology, the 10th can be reached in two, but accuracy
is key. A bomb down the right side will open up the hole, if not, then lay up
down the same side, leaving a short pitch to a very receptive green. Stay
clear of the left side sand at the 120-yard mark. Wedge it close, as birdie
opportunities are dwindling.
The first of back-to-back monster par-4s, the 11th bends ever-so gently to the
right and is fairly flat. Sandy scrub and trees guard the entire right side
of the fairway from tee to green, so play left-center off the tee to the
meatier part of the landing area. After your tee shot, a long iron or fairway
metal will be needed to reach the green, which is guarded left by sand and
right by slope and small trap. When in doubt, play short and right of the
green to leave yourself with an uphill pitch to the pin. Birdie on the 11th
will be fortunate, as only one player in the top seven at the 1999 U.S. Open
The 12th is certainly no weak sister to the 11th, reaching to a length of 484
yards and angling to the right. The tee shot is key here, as it must be
placed down the left side of the fairway. Again, a sandy scrub will welcome
any shot off-line to the right and missing the short grass will make it next
to impossible to hold the putting surface. Your approach shot is played
uphill to a slightly elevated green guarded by several bunkers. A false
front will play havoc with any short shot, while a back slope will bound
your shot well away from the green.
Although the 13th is the shortest par-4 on the course, it would seem that it
plays as a definite birdie hole. Au contraire. On the card, the 13th at just
389 yards is rated the sixth-most difficult hole on No. 2. There are reasons,
as this slight dogleg right plays into a breeze and displays fairway bunkers
down the right and sandy scrub everywhere else. The challenge really begins
with your approach, as the green is elevated, some 15 to 20 feet, requiring at
least one extra club. The green is small, just 26 paces deep and quite
undulating, especially in front, as short shots will roll back down the
fairway. Sand, left and right of the green will leave a small opening to the
putting surface, so now you know why this hole plays so hard.
Another big par-4, the 14th plays downhill off the tee to a well-bunkered
fairway, one of the many holes that puts a premium on the driver. A mid- to
long iron is left to a very narrow and undulating green. The putting surface
is quite deep and is bunkered on both sides. There are a pair of bunkers
short of the green that provide quite a deceiving target. Missing long is not
an option, either, so choose wisely with your approach. Of all the greens on
No. 2, this one might be the most difficult.
If you thought the last green was hard, wait to you reach the 15th's putting
surface. This par-3 exemplifies where the term "upside-down saucer"
originated to describe the greens at No. 2. The hole plays over 200 yards
and requires a high, soft mid- to long iron to hold the green. Of the sand
traps on the hole, only the bunkers guarding the right portion of the green
will come into play. This is a perfect example of a hole in which you go for
the center of the surface, or just in front and try to make par. If you reach
the back portion of the green with a front left pin, you'll have a difficult
time keeping your first putt on the green.
Another hole that the Pinehurst guests play as a par-5, the 16th is converted
for the U.S. Open to a 534-yard par-4. The only hole on the course with a
water hazard (which does not come into play, unless you're a golf writer),
requires a big draw off the tee, avoiding the pair of fairway bunkers on
the right. A long iron for the professionals or fairway metal (for the resort
guests), remains to a fairly accessible green with sand, left, back and right.
While Stewart made par all four days, Mickelson made three bogeys in four
tries in 1999. It comes as no surprise that the 16th was the second-hardest
hole during that Open, with a scoring average of 4.5. The players in 2005
didn't fare much better, as the hole again was the second-most difficult with
a 4.4-stroke average.
The last of the par-3s, the 17th has been extended to 21 yards to 208 yards
and features a gaping bunker in the front-right portion of the green. When
coupled with a back-right pin position, this hole make even the best
of players shake in their spikes. The green is deep and slopes from back to
front with no bail-out areas, unless you consider just short and left of the
green. Swirling wind and bunkers surrounding the hole make club selection
key. Stewart made birdie on the final day to take a one-shot lead into the
last hole, while Mickelson missed from short range. Six years later,
Michael Campbell sealed his win with a birdie.
Although only 453 yards in length, the final hole plays uphill all the way to
the green and bends slightly to the right. The tee shot must attempt to cut
across the corner to set up the best angle to the green. One note of caution:
A large, deep bunker, some 30 yards in length, not to mention a sandy waste
area along the entire right side, must be avoided as well. A mid- to long iron
is required in order to reach the putting surface. That's another story, as
the raised green is protected in front by sand and a small pot bunker in the
right, rear portion of the green. Back-right is the traditional Sunday pin, so
play middle of the green to set up the winning stroke, just like Payne
Tradition, beauty, style and grace. Just a few of the words that come to mind
when talking about Pinehurst, and more specifically, No. 2.
Jack Nicklaus, the greatest golfer of all time and one of the leading
architects in the world said of No. 2, "My favorite golf course in the country
from a design standpoint."
The course has 111 sand traps, 53 fairway bunkers and 58 greenside bunkers and
just one water hazard (on hole 16). The average size of the greens is 6,388
square feet, although all have sloped edges making landing areas even smaller.
Position off the tee and through the green is of utmost importance. Although
the fairways are somewhat generous, the new or should we say, restored rough,
with its sandy waste areas and native grasses, gives No. 2 that rustic and
classic feel. And that is what makes No. 2 so difficult. No doubt a thinking
man's golf course.
But what makes No. 2 so unique?
That's simple, the greens.
This is a course that requires a deft touch around the greens. With the
fairways slightly enlarged due to the revamping of the rough, you can be
slightly erratic off the tee. However, approach shots must be true, otherwise
your short game will be tested to its highest level.
But, let's set the stage for your stay at Pinehurst Resort.
When you first check in across the street at the Carolina Hotel or even
better, the Holly Inn, you feel like you're back in time, as you're greeted by
employees with knickers and horse-drawn carriages. The grounds are immaculate
and the staff quite accommodating. There is nothing like southern hospitality.
The walls of the hotel are draped with photos and memorabilia from yesteryear.
One could spend hours gazing at the hallways of this beautiful landmark. The
photo opportunities are endless.
Now it's off to the course, as you take a ride down Pinehurst's version of
Magnolia Lane. Of the eight courses at Pinehurst, five are located within
shouting distance of the club house.
The practice facility is quite extensive, along with the putting greens
and chipping areas. The clubhouse is enormous with many banquet and meeting
rooms, not to mention a full-stocked pro shop. How can you not buy logoed
balls, towels, shirts and other trinkets.
As you stride to the first tee, you're joined by one of the many knowledgeable
caddies at Pinehurst. Here's an important tip: listen to your caddie. He will
know every nuance to the course and will help you shave a couple of shots off
Finally, the course, well, greens as slick as glass, conditions, now as good
as any private club in the country, and the challenge, awesome.
"It's the type of golf course I could play every day," Greg Norman said.
Upon completion of your experience, you'll get a glimpse of the historic and
fitting statue of Payne Stewart, "One Moment in Time," overlooking the 18th
green. In addition, you'll see the sculptures of Donald Ross and Richard S.
Tufts, the driving forces of Pinehurst, seemingly at ease as they survey their
The work Coore and Crenshaw did to restore No. 2 to its original heritage and
design was nothing short of remarkable. A tribute to the sure genius of Ross.
"What was done here with the restoration," added Davis, in some ways was a
byproduct of them wanting to get back to Donald Ross and its origins, but what
this has done is they're using less resources to maintain Pinehurst No. 2 than
they used to use."
"When you see and feel Pinehurst, you know it's something different," Crenshaw
said. "It remains a masterpiece, a course so beautifully balanced and
Ross certainly designed some gems in his time, Aronimink, Inverness, Oak Hill,
Oakland Hills and Seminole to name a few, but Pinehurst No. 2 is no doubt his