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November 10, 2023

Pinehurst Resort getaway: What you need to know

By Dan Vukelich, Alabama Golf News Online Editor
Pinehurst No 2 caddies in fairway

FAQs: caddies, walking, dining and more

There’s a reason the U.S. Open will be returning again and again to Pinehurst: Pinehurt No. 2, the Donald Ross classic design, is a compelling test that stands up to modern golf, and the resort, which calls itself “The Cradle of American Golf,” lives up to its name.

With nine regulation courses – make that 10 once Pinehurst No. 10 opens on April 3, 2024 – the resort is a veritable golf playground. For serious golfers, it has excellent practice facilities, casual and fun golf options, and great food.

Service is exquisite – from the outside services staff who will expertly shepherd your clubs from curb to cart at no charge, or onward to the your next course, again at no charge, to the shuttle drivers who ferry you from course to hotel to dinner – yes, at no charge.

As my colleague, Alabama Golf News Editor Gregg Dewalt, noted yesterday in his overview of Pinehurst’s latest – Pinehurst N0. 10 – it’s a place you must visit.

That said, here’s want to know to help you o plan your visit:

Pinehurst stay-and-play packages

The resort’s top-of-the-line “Premier Package” includes rounds on No. 2 and No. 10, a round on The Cradle, and as many other rounds as you can squeeze in during your stay, plus breakfast and dinner daily.

Depending which of the three main lodging venues you choose and the time of the year you go, a three-night package runs $2,873-$3,206 per person double occupancy; and $3,033-$4,158 per person for a four-night package double occupancy. The highest rates are charged in spring and early fall, with a price drop during summer. The resort also has packages for couples and families.

Lodging options

The resort has four main lodges, plus villas and condos. The Carolina Hotel, built in 1901, is the grand dame of the resort with 230 rooms and suites. The Holly Inn, built in 1895, a smaller hotel, is down the street near the center of the Village of Pinehurst. Its Queen Anne and Arts & Crafts style has a cozier, wood-paneled feel than the main hotel with its expansive lobby. The Magnolia Inn, which dates from 1896, and the resort’s Manor Inn, built in 1923, are also near the village center, close to pubs, restaurants and shops. All four lodges are easy walks from one another.

What courses can you play? It depends.

As a resort guest, you can play all nine courses (or all 10, once No. 10 opens next year).

The resort has courses designed by the greats, including Donald Ross (Nos. 1-3, 5), Coore-Crenshaw (who updated No. 2 in 2014); Gil Hanse (no. 4); Tom Fazio (N0. 6, 8); Rees Jones (No. 7);  and Jack Nicklaus (No. 9). Add to the lineup Tom Doak’s No. 10, which opens for play next April 3.

Play on the Nos. 2, 4 and 10 courses, however, is limited to guests who stay a minimum of two nights at the resort. For packages below the “Premium Package” level, Nos. 2 and 10 have a surcharge: $195 for No. 2, which increases to $250 on March 1, 2024; and No. 10. has a $125 surcharge when it opens.

To play Nos. 4, 6, 7, 8 or 9, you must be a resort guest. Essentially, only Nos. 1, 3 and 5 are available to non-guests. So, it pays to be a resort guest versus the guy who stays in the Motel 6 down the road.

Practice facilities

Pinehurst’s practice facilities are impressive. The range, dubbed “Maniac Hill,”  by the main clubhouse serves Pinehurst Nos. 1, 2, 3. and 5. There’s a small chipping green and a second larger chipping green with a large sand bunker. The practice putting green, steps from the main clubhouse, is massive.

Pinehurst Nos. 4, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, which are located away from the main golf complex, all have their own practice facilities.

Just plain fun stuff

Next to the main clubhouse you’ll find The Cradle, the resort’s nine-hole par 3 course, which you can play with as few as two clubs: a wedge and putter, with music playing from hidden speakers and cupholders to hold your drinks while you hit. It’s a good place to practice those half shots into greens of the regulation courses.

The Thistle Dhu is an extremely challenging 18-hole putting course on the south end of the main clubhouse’s putting green. How you do there will tell you a lot about how you’ll fare on Donald Ross’s domed greens on Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 5.

Caddies and walking

Nos. 2 and 4 are mainly walking-only, with complimentary push carts available. You can take a cart, but it must remain on the cart path, so you’ll end up walking a lot anyway  Carts are allowed on all the other regulation courses.

Caddies and forecaddies are available at all courses. The caddie fee is $75 per player for a caddie carrying two bags. The cost of a forecaddie, who offers advice to a foursome but does not carry a bag, is $35 per player. The recommended tip for a caddie is $50 per player and $30 per player for a forecaddie.

Note to the Rodney Dangerfields out there: The weight limit for a bag a caddie will carry is 25 pounds. If your bag and contents weigh more than that, clubs, balls and tees needed for the round will be transferred a lighter carry bag at no cost.

Getting around Pinehurst

Save for getting to and from the resort, most guests won’t need their car while there.

The resort has a fleet of shuttle buses that serve all lodging options, including Pinehurst’s condos and villas, golf courses, and its multitude of dining establishments. Shuttles typically arrive within 15 minutes of being called and run well into the evening.

Club rentals

The resort rents the latest in Titleist clubs and bags for $80 a day.

Club storage

Guests enjoy complimentary club storage. After your round, at your direction, staff at the resort’s courses will forward your clubs to the next course on your itinerary. However, there’s nothing to prevent you from taking your clubs to your room.

Dining options – lots of them

Pinehurst has beaucoup dining options. In fact, you’d have to stay for more than a week before having to eat dinner in the same place twice.

The options range from collared-shirts-required at the Carolina Dining Room to shorts and T-shirts at the Pinehurst Brewing Co., a BBQ sports bar. Coming later this month to the Carolina Hotel is the new Carolina Vista, an indoor-outdoor “American eclectic” restaurant with firepits and a centerpiece bar. The restaurant is going into an expansion of the space formerly occupied by the Ryder Cup Lounge.

In all, there are 10 restaurants, plus multiple snack bars and turn houses. The breakfast buffets offered at all of the lodges are excellent but none tops that cornucopia offered by Executive Chef Thierry Bailleul at the Carolina Dining Room.

Shopping at Pnehurst

There are plenty of chances to take home some Pinehurst gear featuring the resort’s revered “Putter Boy” logo. There are shops at each of the outlying courses and in the Carolina Hotel. in addition to the the sprawling golf shop in the main clubhouse, where you check in for rounds at Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 5. If want to take home a Pinehurst-logoed golf bag, they’ll be happy to oblige. And for apparel, with some help from shop staff, there is some surprisingly affordable shirts relative to what high-end resorts typically charge.

What else?

Although the resort has more to do than you can squeeze into a single visit, if you’re looking to go off-campus, worth visiting are The Drum & Quill, a pub/restaurant with a quirky golf-writer vibe frequented by locals and the occasional wayward golf writer; and another local hangout, Dugan’s Pub. Both are a stone’s throw from the Holly Inn. About a 10-minute drive from the resort is the Hickory Tavern, a sports bar, has multiple big screen TVs, great Buffalo wings and a friendly North Carolina vibe.

And if you’re into golf history, The Tufts Library, across the street from the Holly Inn, is a research library with original documents dating from Pinehurst’s origins as a tuberculosis sanitorium. and Donald Ross’s arrival, followed by Pinehurst’s  growth in the 1920s and 193os as a railroad golf destination.

What’s nearby

Well, the Pinehurst-Southern Pines-Aberdeen area has a surfeit of great golf. The Mid-Pines and Pine Needles courses at the Mid-Pines Inn and Golf Club in Southern Pines, are Donald Ross designs. And Tobacco Road Golf Club, a Mike Strantz design in nearby Sanford, has steadily climbed the major golf magazines’ best-of lists in recent years.

How to get to Pinehurst

Pinehurst is 36 miles away from Fayetteville Regional Airport (FAY), which has limited daily service by American and Delta. You’ll have the most choices flying into Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU), which is an hour and 15 minutes away, or Charlotte International Airport (CLT), which is just over two hours away.

Dan Vukelich is the online editor of Alabama Golf News. He lives in Albuquerque, N.M.

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Featured image of the 18th fairway of Pinehurst No. 2 courtesy of Pinehurst Resort

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