Golf Digest Raters Place Venerable Donald Ross Course Among Elite List
SOUTHERN PINES, NC (February 7, 2023) – Southern Pines Golf Club, an original Donald Ross designed golf course built in 1906, has been recognized by raters from Golf Digest as one of the best renovation projects for 2022. Kyle Franz, a rising star among golf course architects, completed the renovation in the fall of 2021. Franz also completed similar refinements of the famed Mid Pines Inn & Golf Club and Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club – all owned by a group headed by Kelly Miller, president of Ross Resorts.
“It’s a pretty remarkable 54 holes of golf. Nobody really has 54 original holes of Donald Ross. It gives tremendous variety for our members,” Miller said. “I think Ross was the best architect because he made golf courses that were challenging for great players. For the average person, if you play the proper tee, you’re going to have a lot of fun.”
Golf Digest rated Southern Pines Golf Club as its third best renovation in the U.S. and Canada, only behind work done at Hamilton Golf & Country Club in Ontario, Canada and Wannamoisett Country Club in Rhode Island.
Each year, Golf Digest panelists travel the U.S. and Canada to play the Best New, Best Renovation and Best Transformation candidate courses. The Best Renovation category is for courses and clubs that are looking to improve, but not necessarily to alter what already exists, or seek to return the architecture to some historical version of its past. Work typically includes tree removal, replacing drainage and irrigation, rebuilt tees and greens, new or altered bunkers and fairway expansion.
The restoration at Southern Pines Golf Club started with tree removal and bunker work in December 2020, before moving on to work on the greens, cart paths, and other areas of the course to restore Donald Ross’ original design. On every hole of the course, the fairways were widened to make them more inviting for the beginning level players, but also allow more advanced players to strategize. Removing the maintained rough around the greens and making it all clean fairway height will encourage players to be creative and have more fun. To improve the course’s irrigation, all new piping around the greens was installed with new wiring in the fairways, and improved a large number of bunkers. The goal was to make the golf course feel as much like a Ross original, staying true to the well- preserved routing and trying to remove the superfluous elements that have been added over the decades.
“Every green will have some crucial element, either gaining lost hole locations or removing features that made shots difficult to play, if not impossible,” said Franz. “Much of the property is transformed. We have all the bunkers restored and you really get a good sense for Ross’s golf course.”
To see more about the renovation at Southern Pines Golf Club, watch this video produced by the Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen Area CVB.
The Pinehurst Southern Pines Aberdeen Convention & Visitors Bureau
The Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is the economic development agency responsible for travel and tourism promotion, product development, and visitor services for Moore County, NC. The CVB devises strategies to enhance the County’s tourism brand value and product to accommodate the next generation of visitors, thereby stimulating the local economy and enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors alike. In 2021, Moore County ranked as the tenth largest tourism economy in North Carolina, generating $673 million annually in visitor spending, which supports the second largest employment sector in the county and saves county residents approximately $516 a year in state and local taxes.