Pinehurst Resort (No. 4)
7,226 Yards, Par 72
Every time Gil Hanse has waved his design wand over a project for the past three years, he’s won an award. This year, Hanse, partner Jim Wagner and their team collected a few more trophies, none more richly deserved than what they earned for their extreme makeover of Pinehurst No. 4. Whether this is a redesign, as Hanse’s working plans state, or a brand new course, as Hanse himself asserts, it’s a remarkable piece of work.
Hanse and his crew plowed under Tom Fazio’s popular predecessor, a 1999 creation that had long been a staple of Top 100 Public Course lists. Why abandon Fazio’s 4? Because Pinehurst felt they could do something truly special. And they did. While the new No. 4 shares the same plot, everything else is radically changed. Gone are the artificial pot bunkers, propped up greens and gussied-up parkland features.
In their stead are extra-wide fairways that take full advantage of the most impressive undulations at Pinehurst. Vast sandy areas bracket and criss-cross fairways. User-friendly kick slopes help propel properly struck shots onto low-profile greens. The changes at the par-5 ninth best illuminate No. 4’s transformation. Fazio’s version featured 25 pot bunkers sprinkled liberally throughout. Hanse’s work sports a massive cross-bunker hazard. No. 4 may never reach the tournament stature of its fabled No. 2 sibling, but for strategy, visuals and enjoyment, it’s in a class by itself.