PINEHURST, North Carolina – The Home of Golf in America, the Pinehurst Resort in Moore County, North Carolina is getting ready to open up for their guests. In 1895, James Walker Tufts initially purchased 500 acres and eventually added 5,500 more in the North Carolina Sandhills with the vision of building “a health resort for people of modest means,” to help with the disease commonly known as Consumption. He named it Pinehurst thinking that the scent of the ever-present pine trees would help those afflicted.
125 years later the Covid-19 pandemic, very similar to Consumption, shuttered most of the Resort and Village in early spring of 2020. On your next visit to the re-opened Pinehurst, you will be able to enjoy some of the finest accommodations in three totally unique Inns, a myriad of amenities and a variety of golf unmatched anywhere in the world. With 10 golf courses(including ‘The Cradle-a fun 9-hole short course’), 16 tennis courts, multiple lawn sports, shopping and dining, Pinehurst Resort can fit the bill no matter the size of your group or interest.
This past autumn, the 43 room Manor built in 1923 was completely transformed into a casual and stylish inn. While the exterior is still the same, guests will find a completely fresh and contemporary lodging experience. “Our intention was to improve upon and modernize the guest experience while still preserving the Manor’s unique charm,” says Bob Dedman Jr., Pinehurst Resort’s CEO. “I think we have accomplished that in fine fashion. Our mantra is simple: Always Pinehurst, but always better.”
The Manor has always been a haven for golfers and the Pinehurst team made sure it kept that feel while modernizing the rooms and meeting spaces. Golf groups can congregate in the two lovely appointed hospitality suites, the Library or the Club Room, both on the first floor accommodating 12-20 players each. The centerpiece of the Inn is the North & South Bar that pays homage to the North & South Amateur Championship that has been played at Pinehurst since 1901. The ceiling of the Bar is covered with an illustration of the original Donald Ross drawings of the four Pinehurst courses he designed, and the walls are adorned with vintage advertising and period photos from the North & South, the longest consecutively running amateur tournament in America. The Bar has a menu of spirits unlike any other in the area, served in a relaxed atmosphere with style and tradition both inside and on the wrap-around patio replete with fire pits.
On my last visit to Pinehurst for the opening of Gil Hanse’s rework of No. 4, named the “Best New Course You Can Play” by Golf Magazine, I enjoyed my stay at the charming Four-Diamond Holly Inn that was built in 1895 in the heart of the historic Village of Pinehurst. It’s 82 rooms and suites have been housing guests for 125 years. Part Queen Anne Revival, The Holly is home to the Four-Star 1895 Grill and the Tavern, a Scottish bar brought from across the pond.
The flagship of Pinehurst and the “Queen of the South”, The Carolina Hotel is accepting reservations in its 230 Four-Diamond rooms and suites. This majestic century-old hotel with its sweeping verandahs makes you feel like you have stepped back in time to an era of grandeur when elegance defined the stately hotels. Nearby, small golf groups can enjoy the Carolina Villas with 4 bedrooms with private baths connecting to a single living room. The Carolina Dining room is probably the most elegant of all the restaurants serving breakfast and dinner under the direction of Executive Chef Thierry DeBailleal. A visit to the Ryder Cup Lounge is a must even if you are not staying at the Carolina, which celebrates the 1951 playing of the Cup at Pinehurst with Sam Snead captaining the winning US team.
My wife’s favorite dining location at Pinehurst is in the main clubhouse. The Deuce and 91st Hole Bar both overlook the finishing hole on the famed No. 2 course and are also close to the huge pro shop where she spends most of her time and our money. Her second favorite place is the Spa at Pinehurst where you are treated to a one in a lifetime lavish five-star experience with access to the many extraordinary facilities with a treatment.
Out of the 10 courses, I have played 2,3,4,8,9 and The Cradle. For someone who enjoys practicing his short game, the Gil Hanse designed Cradle short course is ideal. After a comfortable walk you can venture over to the 18-hole Thistle Dhu putting green near ‘Putter Boy’ to test your mettle or for a friendly contest. For the best in instruction, you can visit the Pinehurst Golf Academy, home to America’s first driving range, and led by PGA Master Professional Eric Alpenfels, who has been named to Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Teachers 18 years in a row.
For years I have been coming to Pinehurst and I would always mention that they should do something with that dilapidated steam power plant. Well, guess what?-They did. It is now the home to the Pinehurst Brewing Company where we were treated to a sampling of their craft beers under the watchful eye of Head Brewer Eric Mitchell while tasting the many different choices of meat from their famed barbeque from Pitmaster Chris Dowd in the private patio. It was a fun evening breaking bread with Alpenfels and his instructors and the folks from Pinehurst. The next evening, we enjoyed the many flatbreads and personalized cocktails while dining with Pinehurst President Tom Pashley, who was a bundle of excitement about the wonderful things happening at Pinehurst Resort. In fact, he was instrumental in a recent effort to raise fund for the 1,300 employees that had been furloughed during the pandemic.