Upon further review, Pinehurst is not just No. 2

Following the  2005  U.S.  Open at  famed Pinehurst  Resort  in North Carolina, I  had the opportunity to travel down to the Tar Heel state and play course No. 2.

Always  rated amongst the top-20 courses in the United States, No. 2, with its
domed  putting surfaces,  ranks second only to Pebble Beach as the best public
course in America.

So,  why after all the recognition did I feel that this Donald Ross layout was
not worthy at that time?

Well,  to be honest, the course was not in very good shape. Tees were beat up,
the  fairways were less  than stellar and the greens, well, not very true. Not
to mention, the price tag at over $350 was not very, shall we say, appealing.

Let's  jump ahead  five  years and  the restoration  project  that started  in
February  of  2010.  After  weighing its  options,  Pinehurst  contracted  the
services of the design firm of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw to restore No. 2 to
Ross' original design.

This  was  an important project, as  the USGA in '09  had picked No. 2 to play
host in back-to-back weeks to the U.S. Open and the U.S. Women's Open in 2014.

The two biggest changes -- 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

There  were other modifications as well, but these two alone put No. 2 back in
the mix.

But this architectural wonder is not the only game in town.

Pinehurst  Resort  features eight  outstanding courses. In  addition to No. 2,
Nos.  4 and  8 are  amazing in  their own  right and  completely different  in

Another  Donald  Ross classic, No.  4 received  a brand-new facelift from none
other  than Tom Fazio  in 2000 and garnered rave reviews. So much so, that the
USGA staged the 2008 U.S. Amateur Championship at both Nos. 2 and 4.

The  youngest of the group, No. 8 was born in 1996 and also designed by Fazio.
The course features more elevation changes than all seven courses combined and
was the host site of the 1997-98 PGA Club Pro Championships.

There's no question that golf is the main focus in Pinehurst, but the piece de
resistance is The Carolina and The Holly Inn.

Nicknamed the "Queen of the South," the Carolina is as majestic as it gets.

Centuries  old  and growing, the Carolina's  amenities are as expansive as its
230  Four-Diamond rooms.  Whether it's dining in the main culinary facility or
the  casual fare of the Ryder Cup Lounge, featuring mementos and photos of the
1951 event, your taste buds will be satisfied.

However, The Holly Inn is my personal favorite.

As quaint as they come, the Holly is a step back in time, but not in luxury.

First  class all  the way, the Holly features 82 Four-Diamond, Four-Star, Gold
Standard,  or whatever  top verbiage  you want  to use,  guest rooms.  And the
classic 1895 Grille is the best dining in the region.

Oh,  there's plenty else to do at Pinehurst -- the spa, tennis, swimming, lawn
sports, you name it, but this is golf at its best.

How  many times have  you heard about the Myrtle Beach excursion or the Pebble
Beach  right of passage, not to mention the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail? All
too often.

The next time you talk about buddy trips or the family retreat, make Pinehurst
Resort your final destination, as Pinehurst takes a back seat to none.

Don't take my word for it, experience it for yourself at Pinehurst.com.