Pinehurst Resort: The gold standard of American golf

There’s a feeling that comes over you as you enter the Sand Hills of North Carolina. It’s immediate. Your shoulders feel like they drop two inches and the worries of the world you’ve left behind seem to fade away. 

That feeling only intensifies as you turn down Carolina Vista Drive and you see the iconic Carolina Hotel and you realize: you’ve arrived.

Pinehurst Resort is known as the Home of American golf, and with good reason. It’s an iconic venue that has hosted the U.S. Open, the PGA Championship, the Ryder Cup, the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Women’s Open, the Tour Championship and countless other amateur championships throughout its storied history.

You don’t get to have that kind of pedigree if you don’t deliver a memorable experience time after time, usually leading to the purchase of plenty of memorabilia donning the famous Putter Boy logo.

Pinehurst Resort: The golf

Over the last 10 years, the resort has undergone an assortment of enhancements that continue to improve the guest experience year after year.  It all started when they hired the renowned Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw wunderkind duo to renovate No. 2.  There’s a lot of pressure that comes with making major changes to an iconic track, but the team could not have done a better job.

The feature that makes No. 2 so incredibly unique is the greens. Don’t get it twisted, it’s an incredible course all the way through, but it’s knowing the turtleback greens that you’ll remember after the round.  You’ll do best to listen to your caddie — and you better believe that you need to fork out the extra money to do this experience right with a caddie — and get your ball in the correct spots so you can score.  Before the renovation, the grass in the fairways ran wide and the course played fairly open.  Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw restored the traditional look of the property, adding in the pine straw and fescue grasses that visually changed the perspective for golfers and restored the glory that Donald Ross originally brought to the property. 

The next major change to the golf portfolio came when Gil Hanse renovated No. 4.  Prior to the remake, there were some that asked why mess with a good thing, as the original Tom Fazio-design was a beautiful test of golf.  Well, once you play the new No. 4, you’ll see why.  Hanse’s renovation of No. 4 is an enjoyable round from start to finish that every golfer will love.  It doesn’t quite have the same bite as No. 2, but it is very close and we have a feeling as the years go by you’ll hear golfers in the Deuce after the round going back and forth about which one of these two courses was their favorite during their trip.  Hanse’s design shares the same restorative feel that Coore and Crenshaw brought to No. 2 as it feels more authentic to what the Pinehurst experience should represent.

In addition to No. 4, Hanse also was tasked with creating one of the best short courses in the world called The Cradle. The holes range from 56 to 127 yards and it is the only course that you can play on property without staying at one of Pinehurst’s accommodations for a modest $50 with free replay rounds.  The course features a portable bar called the Pine Cone that you walk by twice during the 9 holes…or three times with a little effort.  You can enjoy your round with music playing over speakers throughout the course, play in groups of more than four as long as you keep the pace moving, and even play barefoot if you feel like it.  It’s all about making golf fun and accessible, and it represents all that is beautiful about this wonderful game. Do yourself a favor and make sure you fit this in at least once into your trip.  

Also, be sure to have your group play the Thistle Dhu putting course off of the main clubhouse, a nod to the famous Himilayas Course at St. Andrews.  It’s a nice homage from the “Home of American Golf” to the “Home of Golf,” and precisely the type of classy act you’d expect from the team at Pinehurst.

The next “must play” at Pinehurst is No. 8, which is a Tom Fazio-design that has a completely different look and feel than the other courses that are based around the main clubhouse.  Many who frequent Pinehurst Resort will mention No. 3 being a must-play, a fun Donald Ross-designed, par-68 course that was restored in 2017, as well as No. 9, a Jack Nicklaus-design that has a different feel than other Nicklaus designs we’ve played and is a favorite among members and guests alike.

Pinehurst Resort’s recent enhancements

Pinehurst continues to look at the consumer experience every year and figure out what they can do to make it better, on and off the course. Recent enhancements have included:

  • The Deuce: A comfortable and delicious new restaurant on the backside of the main clubhouse that includes patio seating overlooking the 18th green on No. 2.
  • The Brewery: Located a very short drive/walk away depending on where you are staying, the Brewery is a perfect after hours location to enjoy a few pints with your crew and some relaxed eats with a cool vibe.
  • The Manor: Recently renovated and perfect for a buddy trip, the Manor is a short drive from the main hotel but right next to the Brewery.  It’s perfect for golf groups and features the North & South Bar, which is a bourbon hot spot and a great spot to recap the day on the course with your group.


It seems like every year there is something new being rolled out, and it’s that level of respect that the resort shows their guests that makes it a guaranteed great experience every time you go.  If you’ve never been here and it’s your first visit, you absolutely must play No. 2, No. 4, No. 8, and the Cradle during your visit.  For your accommodations, we love the new changes at the Manor and you cannot go wrong with the Carolina Hotel.  If you’re looking for some shared space and a larger set up, pony up for the Carolina Villas as that extra bit of room makes this bucket-list trip a bit more comfortable.