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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

There's More To Pinehurst Than No. 2

Photo courtesy of Pinehurst Resort
It’s tempting, but don’t spend all your golf time on No. 2. There are seven other courses at Pinehurst that are well worth exploring. Over 140 pot bunkers will complicate your round on No. 4, a 6,658 par 72 Tom Fazio design that was the site of the 2008 U.S. Amateur. It’s definitely a must-play.  Traditionalists should also play No. 5, designed by Ellis Maples, where you’ll encounter more water than on any other course at the resort. No. 6 was renovated in 2005 with new bunkers and faster greens, making it a real test. Hudson Valley golfers will feel right at home on No. 7, where elevation changes, wetlands, and large, undulating greens add to the challenge designed by Rees Jones. Tom Fazio built many traditional dips and swales around sloping greens to daunt players on the 6,698-yard No. 8, which commemorated Pinehurst’s centennial in 1996.

With so much golf to play and so many other things to do, Pinehurst is a place worth more than a three-day weekend. Available accommodations include the historic Holly, a boutique hotel with charmingly decorated rooms and public areas, the original grand copper-roofed Carolina, the Manor, a sportsman-style lodge, and numerous condominiums to handle groups of all sizes and budgets. Complimentary shuttle service throughout the property is responsive and efficient.

For lunch and/or libations, the Ryder Cup Lounge is hard to beat. Combine a Carolina Peach Tee (vodka, gin, rum, tequila, peach schnapps, and sweet tea) with a Pretzel Panini stacked with chicken breast, bacon, Monterey Jack, and slathered with aioli mayonnaise and you’re set the for the day. For dinner, the best choice is the 1895 Grille at the Holly Hotel, the only Four Diamond restaurant in the area. The lobster mac and cheese with broccolini is not to be missed—it’s the perfect accompaniment to prime filet mignon.

One other thing not to miss at Pinehurst is the extensive display in the Carolina of artifacts and photos chronicling the resort’s history. The team pictures from the 1951 Ryder Cup with Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Jack Burke, Jr., et al is fascinating. The wide-angle shot of Payne Stewart pumping his fist on the 18th green just months before his death will send shivers up your spine. But there are fun displays, too, like the photos of Annie Oakley, who ran the Pinehurst Gun Club from 1910 to 1920 and gave exhibitions at the hotel twice a week. Makes you wonder what kind of golfer she was, doesn’t it?

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

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