The Sandhills region of North Carolina is a magical place to play golf
Homeofgolf.com seems like a presumptuous website address but when you consider all that the Pinehurst region of North Carolina entails, it’s somewhat justified. Within the United States no place can match its place in the sport of golf. It is THE Home of American Golf.
Through more than a century of golf history, almost every great player in the game has visited or competed in the Sandhills region, and many, many of the sport’s greatest championships have been played here.
The Pinehurst, Southern Pines, and Aberdeen areas are not just for elite golfers, though, this is a place where everyone can enjoy a beautiful landscape and amenities beyond your expectations. Even if you don’t play golf, it has a lot to offer, and just may entice you into trying the game. More than three dozen golf courses provide that opportunity and it’s hard to find a weak one in the bunch.
Settlers arrived in this region almost 250 years ago but the roots of its current reputation began in the late 1800’s with the establishment of the iconic Pinehurst Resort by James Walker Tufts. He matched his New England roots with Southern Charms, enlisting the designer of New York’s Central Park to lay out the Village of Pinehurst. He then tapped Donald Ross as his man to bring golf to the area, a task Ross would make his passion until his passing in 1948.
But, as much as his town is about the past, it is also about making new milestones that will become a part of history. In 2014, they hosted both the Men’ and Women’s United States Open here, and each day visitors create and renew an admiration for the place, its people, and what it offers.
Where To Play
This is as loaded of a question as they come. Many will gravitate to the Pinehurst Resort and their nine golf courses but there are plenty of other fairways that will draw our admiration.
The iconic No. 2 course at Pinehurst Resort was Ross’ masterpiece. Living alongside the course he would tinker on the layout until his death. Its beauty is undeniable, as is its place in architectural lore. That said, don’t ignore the chance to play the #8 course which pays homage to Ross. Gil Hanse is also leaving his touch on the property. The designer just completed work on a new short course and is embarking on a remake on the #4 course.
Those seeking more of Ross’ handiwork will want to consider a stop at Mid Pines and Pine Needles. Both built in the late 1920’s, they are a testament to the timeless nature of his designs. Recent work has also made them even more true to the original intent of Mr. Ross.
Recently re-worked with a new vision, Talamore now has wider fairways, improved turf, and has implemented a series of sod-wall bunkers that will make you feel as if you were in Scotland.
No matter your golfing design preference, you can find all these, and much more within a fifteen-minute drive. It’s a golfer’s dream.
Places To Stay
Throughout Moore County there are more than 3000 rooms for rent. They range from the luxurious Carolina Inn and the other Pinehurst Resort related properties such as the Manor Inn and the Holly Inn, to chain hotels.
For those who appreciate historic flavour they should also consider the Canadian-owned Magnolia Inn, and The Jefferson Inn which recently underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation.
For those travelling with a group, cottage and condos are available across the county. Houses of all sizes can also accommodate your family or travelling companions.
What is unique in Pinehurst is that you will find that hotel design styles and decor are often in keeping with the historic nature of the village. It gives it a cohesive and authentic feel.
Meals & More
The local food scene continues to grow in the region and whether you prefer a quick morning coffee in Pinehurst Village (The Roast Office), wood-fired pizza (E-Italia in Southern Pines) or fresh pastries (The BAKEHOUSE in Aberdeen) you can find your sweet spot.
Golf architecture fans will be awed by the living canvases that Donald Ross worked on during his time in the Sandhills but there is no better place to study his designs than the Tufts Archives.
Located in the back of the Pinehurst village library, on display are many artifacts that tell the story of this region, one where golf has been at its core. You can examine the original drawings from all of Donald Ross’ work from around the world. It’s a captivating place to spend many hours.
More To Come
Despite an unhurried pace there is more to come in the Sandhills. Continued course renovations, the hosting of the 2019 U.S. Senior Women’s Open (Pine Needles), and a new Craft Brew Pub and Brewery in the original Pinehurst power plant are on the horizon.
They celebrate the past here, but also embrace the future. It’s the reason I return as often as possible and why you should consider a visit.
This article originally appeared on Flagstick.com, September 4, 2017 – By Scott MacLeod