Part of the mission of the Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is to spread the word about not only all of the amazing golf in the Pinehurst-Southern Pines-Aberdeen area, but also the other interesting things visitors to the Home of American Golf can enjoy when they visit. One of the ways we do this is hosting FAMs, or familiarization tours. Recently, the CVB in conjunction with North Carolina’s tourism vehicle, VisitNC, hosted a group of Canadian golf writers. The group included journalists from the Toronto Sun, TSN (Canada’s version of ESPN), a freelance writer and 8-time Canadian long drive champion, Lisa Vlooswyk, who has a large social media following and is known as an expert “influencer”. That means, if she says “go do this” people listen and go!
Playing Pinehurst No. 4 a Highlight of the Trip
During a week-long golf excursion across North Carolina, what golf trip is complete without a stop in the Pinehurst-Southern Pines and Aberdeen area to experience all this great destination has to offer. The highlight of their golf week was playing the newly redesigned Pinehurst No. 4. The Gil Hanse redesign has been receiving rave reviews and this group was no different. “It’s absolutely stunning, an excellent test of golf,” said Vlooswyk. “The undulating fairways, natural grasses and creative sand bunkering provide an experience much like you probably saw in the early days of the game.” All the writers also agreed that the fun golf experiences at The Cradle par 3 course and Thistle Dhu putting course at Pinehurst were innovative, thoughtful and fun ways to grow the game.
After the round, the group headed to the new Pinehurst Brewing Company where manager Christian Draughn provided a complete tour of the facility and tastings of the latest brews made by master brewer, Eric Mitchell. The writers were blown away by not only the brews and BBQ, but also the history of the brewery that was retrofitted into an old steam plant originally built in 1895.
Fine Dining at Elliott’s On Linden
After checking into the Carolina Hotel, our media friends gathered at one of the best local dining establishments in the area – Elliott’s on Linden. EOL has been part of the local dining scene for almost two decades and has been a driving force in the farm to table movement along with many other local restaurants like Ashten’s, Wolcott’s, Scott’s Table, Ironwood Café and many more. Elliott’s locally-sources products which they use in their signature dishes. EOL owner and chef, Mark Elliott invited Toronto Sun’s Kevin Hann back into the kitchen to see where all the magic happens. From the elk, the braised short ribs, the signature cedar plank salmon and truffle mac and cheese, the media folks left fat and happy. A five-star experience and a must recommend for their readers!
The following morning started with a hearty breakfast at Betsy’s Crepes in downtown Southern Pines. Once again, a great local dining experience and the atmosphere made the group feel right at home with hearty crepes, omelets and local-sourced products. Owner Betsy Markey said to the group, “I want people to feel like they are at grandma’s house when they come here.” No doubt these media folks would travel over the river and through the woods to get back to Betsy’s.
One Last Round at Tobacco Road
After breakfast and quick trip up highway 15-501, a round at renowned Tobacco Road awaited. The Mike Stantz design is among Golfweek’s Top 100 Resort Courses (#59) for 2019 and a golf course that proved to be one of the most memorable for these golf writers who have traveled the world to tee it up at some of the best courses out there.
Thank you to all the people and places that made this media FAM a huge success. Exposing key media VIPs to the Pinehurst-Southern Pines-Aberdeen area is critical, so they can share the story of this unique and authentic Sandhills experience. We are excited that they cannot wait to tell their readers and friends that the Home of American Golf is a “must see” destination in 2019.