What are the do’s and don’t’s of a Pinehurst trip?
I went last year. Played Tobacco Road, Mid-Pines, and Pine Needles. I’ll let others tell you which of the Pinehurst courses to play, but 100% play Mid-Pines. Little village of Pinehurst is perfect to go grab beers and a bite to eat at night.
The clubhouse at #2 has a great patio that overlooks the 18th. Definitely grab a beer there in the evening (they close kind of early).
I’m looking hard at those courses as well as the village. I’m absolutely giddy about the trip. I’m shooting for May or June or July, does anyone know when the courses will aerate or publish that schedule? What were your favorite spots in the village?
As far as aeration I would just call and ask. For Pinehurst I would play 2 and 8 since 4 is getting renovated. Play the new short course The Cradle as well. I’d also look at adding Dormie Club (a bit costly) and/or Southern Pines GC (super value). I’d second @jdillardwatt and play all three mentioned. Love the area, worked there for two summers.
I’m a big fan of Maxie’s as more of a locals joint, but you definitely need to go to the Pine Crest Inn. Courses 2, 4, & 8 are my favorite at the resort but 4 is currently under renovation. Play a couple a rounds on The Cradle and check out the Thistle Dhu putting green as well. Off resort, and not Private, I would say Mid-Pines is my favorite followed by Pine Needles, and Dormie Club. Tobacco Road is a course that I find people either love or hate, either way make sure you grab a yardage book before playing as you will need it.
Cheaper options include Southern Pine GC (Ross design, but facing funding issues) and Legacy.
Not in the village, but Southern Pines Brewing Co is a great place to go for a beer.
Love the area, and get to go rather often as my family is there.
For sure, those are the ones that really stick out to me as well. Would you recommend me trying to get tee times a la carte and maybe staying at an Airbnb or using a company to package everything for me?
Awesome, thanks for the response! Brewery will definitely be a stop.
Worth doing some comparisons. I’ve used Tobacco Road Golf Travel for all my trips, but those didn’t include the Pinehurst resort courses. They’ve always been very helpful and can probably get you the best deal through some combination.
Thanks, I’ll give them a call.
Definitely stay off-property - the resort locks you in and everything is upcharged. A post-round dinner/lunch on the patio overlooking 18 on #2 is a must though.
My list: dormie club (going private soon); mid pines/pine needles; #2, #3
I don’t think anyone has mentioned #3 here before but it’s an absolute gem and a perfect morning warm-up to #2. real strategic short course and super fun. If you’re decent you’ll get at least 6-9 birdie looks given its length but it’s not a cakewalk by any stretch and your iron play has to be precise.
After that if you want to see a Mike Strantz creation Tobacco Road is worth playing once just because you probably wont see anything else like it anywhere. If you can hold off and go in October you could get to play the new #4 which promises to be fantastic.
I went the first week of June for my first Pinehurst trip, and it will be my last. Not that it was terrible - it wasn’t. But it wasn’t great. And I have too many other golf stops to make before repeating mediocre.
- No. 2 was outstanding and exceeded even my lofty expectations. An instant top three. The fourth hole may be my single favorite hole I’ve ever played. To me, it’s a perfectly long two-shot test. I had a perfectly hungover caddie. I had a perfectly warm day.
- The Deuce, the bar behind the 18th hole is one of the great 19th holes in the game. Get a table and just watch people finish their rounds.
- There is an antique shop in the village that might as well be called a museum instead. I spent two hours and too much money in there. The owner Tom is a piece of golf history himself. Go in, get a unique piece of the game that you can’t get anywhere else, no matter how small.
- Dugans gets really local and a little weird (in a good way) really late.
- The play is SLOW and the rounds are LONG. Our waits for every shot really drove down the experience for me.
- How does the birthplace of golf not have enough caddies to go around? Pine Needles couldn’t get me one on a Thursday. I got one on No. 2 when I played on a Friday thankfully, and he was great. Asked him to loop for me on No. 8 the next day, he agreed and we traded numbers. He called me later that day and said caddiemaster wouldn’t allow him. Tried to make other arrangements and no one could get me a caddie.
- If you’re a foodie, you’re out of luck for any good fine dining option. Everyone - and I mean everyone - recommended Southern Prime in Southern Pines, and it was absolutely terrible. Bad service and worse food. There’s nothing in the village worth it either. Just stick to the casual places, bar food, etc.
- I’ll preface this by saying Shadow Creek in Vegas is one of the funnest rounds of golf in my life, and I’m not a general Fazio hater. But No. 8 was just not a good course… “peak Fazio” as one NLU’er might say. For it being the “3rd best” course at PH by what most say (No. 4 was closed when we were there), it was deeply deflating.
- Pine Needles only slightly better than No. 8. And after playing No 2, Pine Needles felt like an imposter. That’s probably not fair to compare anything to No. 2. But PN didn’t live up to its hype as soon as we stepped on property til the time we left.
Hope this doesn’t come across as too critical. I am glad I went - I think eventually everyone should experience it. But one time is enough for me.
also the caddy situation for non-Pinehurst courses is centrally managed by a local guy who somehow maintains a monopoly on the caddies in the area. It’s theoretically convenient but actually takes a fair amount of leg work to ensure you’re covered for caddies during your trip. I recommend staying on top of that if you guys choose to use caddies (you should).
The fall is tough for my crowd, I hate we are going to miss #4. Thanks for the other tips!
Man, thanks for the detailed response. I’m looking forward to the antique shop for sure.
Do you have his details?
I may have heard incorrectly, but I think Dormie Club is going private. Even if it weren’t, I’d play Dormie.
Tobacco Road is a bit out of the way, I mean if you haven’t played it and you’re coming from a long way, sure. But if you’ve played it and you’re staying in Pinehurst and don’t want to drive, lots of other courses to choose from.
Pine Needles is underrated. #2 gets a lot of attention, overshadows PN.
I organize a trip there every year for our group. I’ll give you a couple of pointers/ideas that I’ve learned over several trips, some may agree to disagree but that’s ok; this is just my opinion from experience.
Time to go - We usually go around Memorial day. The weather is usually nice and I cannot stress this enough, there is NO problem getting tee times or NO problems with slow play. Most of the town leaves for the holiday weekend and heads to the coast, so you pretty much have the run of the place. It is also kind of a shoulder season time, so prices are very reasonable.
Where to stay - We have stayed at the Pine Crest Inn (actually in the Vino Cottage, which is awesome if you have a group of around 8) and we have stayed at the Talamore resort. I think the group consensus was Talamore was our favorite. The condo’s are nice, it is very convenient to everything and the cost was about the same as Pine Crest.
Courses - I will admit that we have not ponied up the $$$ to play #2, but we have played 1 Pinehurst Resort course (#5). In my opinion, unless you just like spending money then don’t bother. There are a ton of other courses in the area that are great for less than 1/2 the price. I’ll list the courses we played in ranked order based on our group:
- Dormie Club - Coore/Crenshaw course, always great shape, highly suggest walking this
- Mid Pines/Pine Needles - Old school D. Ross, might give a slight nod to Mid Pines above PN but we love them both. We like playing these on the same day to grab lunch/beer between rounds at Mid Pines (great patio overlooking 18).
- Pinewild ( 2 courses) - Gene Hamm & Gary Player courses, nothing spectacular but good shape and good layout.
- Mid South - Arnold Palmer, typical Arnie course
- Tobacco Road - This is a love or hate course in my opinion; our group leaned toward the hate side. I will say if you are going to play here I would definitely get a caddie; knowing where the heck to hit on this course is half the battle.
- Pinehurst #5 - Nice course, cool to play at resort but not top notch
- Seven Lakes - cheap, nothing to write home about
Where to eat -
Pine Crest Inn has a 22 oz. pork chop dinner that is pretty special if you like that.
Dugans Pub - cool Irish bar with a downstairs that is perfect for groups
Otherwise it’s just your typical pizza, sports bars, etc. The nice thing about the condo’s was kitchen and being able to cook our own meals.
We deviated from our plan last year and went to Hilton Head for a change, we will be back at Pinehurst. Such a cool little town, golf is obviously awesome and the people are great.
I think I hit the highlights, let me know if you need anymore info. No matter what it will be an awesome time, enjoy!
Just came back from a birthday trip/4th time down there. Great recommendations on this chain, although first time I’ve ever heard anyone dislike #8. Must plays: Dormie, Mid-Pines, #2, and #8. Check out airbnb/vrbo, many of the local listings are members and will offer to set up Pinehurst times for you at a reduced rate.
Food is typical American fare, recommend The Villager Deli or Pinehurst Race Track for cheap breakfast, The Roast Office for best cup of coffee in town, and as others have mentioned, a drink and chair outside The Deuce to watch 18th hole on #2. Spend an afternoon playing the Cradle several times (you only pay once), amazing addition to the area.
If you are not plying No 2 do not stay at the resort. Go to MidPines or Pine Needles. I disagree on the food choices. Try Wolcotts or Chef Warrens in SP.