I have been fortunate to be able to go with my Dad to the Pinehurst Resort for the last three years on a father-son golf vacation. In 2008, we played 3 rounds of golf in 3 days (Course No’s 7, 8, & 2). In 2009, we played 4 rounds of golf in 3 days (Course No’s 6, 4, 5, & 2). Our plan for this year was to complete 5 rounds in 3 days, and to include Course No’s 1 & 3 that we had never played before, along with 4, 8, & 2.
Pinehurst is like the Walt Disney World of Golf. 8 golf courses and 3 resort hotels. The service is first-class, the employees are fantastic, the food is wonderful, and the golf courses are superb. By far the most famous course is No. 2, designed by Donald Ross, which has hosted 2 U.S. Opens, along with multiple other championship tournaments (Ryder Cup, Tour Championship, U.S. Women’s Open, etc.) Both No’s 4 & 8, designed by Tom Fazio, are consistently ranked in the top 100 public golf courses by Golf Digest magazine. No. 4 played host to the first two rounds of the 2008 U.S. Amateur Championship.
This year we were joined by my good friend, Anthony Tucker, and my cousin (and friend), Ricky Haskins. Both Anthony and Ricky came with us in 2009, and it was great to have them join us again!
When we arrived on Monday, we checked in to the Carolina Inn and proceed to play the No. 4 course at the Pinehurst Resort. This course has 180 pot-bunkers, is impeccably manicured, and is quite a challenge. It is probably my 3rd favorite course at the resort.
On Tuesday morning, we played course No. 1 for the first time, which was also designed by Donald Ross, and was redone in 2009. What a golf course! Probably the best conditioned greens I’ve ever played on. It has the classic feel of a Ross course, and is in superb condition. I think I would rank it as my new, 2nd favorite course on the property.
On Tuesday afternoon, we took the resort shuttle over to course No. 8. This is the “Centennial” course at Pinehurst, as it was opened in 1995 on the 100th anniversary of the resort. This is a great layout, but it is brutal! Tom Fazio absolutely ate my lunch on No. 8 this year (much as he did in 2008 when I played it before). This course would rank 4th on my list.
On Tuesday night at dinner we sat at a table right next to Tony Kornheiser from ESPN (PTI and formerly MNF). This was quite a treat for me, because I watch PTI ever day. We also saw him again at breakfast the next morning.
On Wednesday morning, we played course No. 2 for the third time. No. 2 is not only my favorite course at Pinehurst, but also my favorite course that I have ever played. I think I could play it every day and never get tired of it. It is a beautiful and challenging course, but very playable. The greens are the most distinguishing characteristic of No. 2, kind of like upside down soup bowls. Really have to use the bump and run shot a lot around the greens. Just like last year, Anthony and I played No. 2 with a caddie (Eddie…above). I really think that you have to walk No. 2 to get the full experience.
I played very well (for me) on the front nine, and not quite so well on the back. However, as always the round at No. 2 was something special. The picture above is of the 4 of us on the 18th green of No. 2, just after our round.
On Wednesday afternoon, we were barely able to squeeze in a round on No. 3 before we had to zip off to the airport to fly home. No. 3 was the only course my Dad and I had not played at Pinehurst. It is another Donald Ross design, and has similarly shaped greens as No. 2. This course is not as well conditioned as the other courses we played on this trip, and is quite a bit shorter than most at Pinehurst. However, it was another enjoyable course, and an enjoyable round with my Dad and the guys.
All in all….what a trip! If you love to play golf, and you’ve never been to Pinehurst, it needs to be on your bucket list. It has been really special to share all of these trips with my Dad, and I hope we are blessed to be able to do it again next year. What are some other good places for 2 to 3 day golf trips?