Where to play golf in Pinehurst, N.C.: Pinehurst Resort, Pine Needles, Mid Pines, Tobacco Road and more – usatoday.com

Posted: August 10, 2021 at 1:53 am


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Weve established there is plenty of great public-access golf around Pinehurst. Classic courses. Modern courses. Subtle layouts. Big and bold tracks. Its all there in the Sandhills.

And theres plenty of private layouts too, if thats your thing. On this trip, I sampled two such clubs: Dormie Club and Country Club of North Carolina. These two provide a great opportunity to compare and contrast the private offerings in the area.

Dormie Club, which ranks No. 10 among Golfweeks Best Private Courses in North Carolina, was designed by Coore and Crenshaw and opened in 2010. The club struggled financially for several years following the market crash that barely preceded Dormies opening, and the property was purchased by Dormie Network in 2017 as the eponymous flagship for a nationwide club network that allows members to play any of the networks courses. The new owners have lavishly improved course conditions while adding cottages, a clubhouse and a pro shop. The club became entirely private this year.

The course sticks nicely to Coore and Crenshaws well-established minimalist approach to architecture. On the opposite end of the architecture scale of Tobacco Road, Dormie Club lies relatively flat on the ground, making use of subtle native features wherever possible. The bunkers appear as naturally rugged scrapes in the ground, and the wide fairways are frequently dotted with exposed sand.

The Dogwood Course at Country Club of North Carolina, by contrast, is much more lush in its approach. Built in 1963 by Ellis Maples and Willard Byrd, the Dogwood was renovated by Kris Spence in 2016 and provides exceptional playing conditions for its thriving membership.

The Dogwoods relatively wide fairways are flanked by rough as opposed to the exposed sand at Dormie and several other Pinehurst-area courses. The layout navigates several ponds and lakes amid high-end homes, providing a relaxed and comfortable setting. Its a layout that can play as hard or easy as you prefer, depending on the tee boxes chosen.

The Country Club of North Carolina has been a favored Pinehurst destination for elite tournaments, including USGA championships. Hal Sutton won the 1980 U.S. Amateur here, and Doris Chen won the 2010 U.S. Girls Junior. The USGA came back in 2021, with Nicholas Dunlap winning the U.S. Junior Amateur. The Country Club of North Carolina also has hosted numerous iterations of the prestigious Southern Amateur, with winners ranging from Crenshaw to Webb Simpson, who grew up playing the club.

The recent Junior Amateur also featured the Country Club of North Carolinas Cardinal Course in the stroke-play portion of the championship. Designed by Willard Byrd and Robert Trent Jones, nine holes opened in 1970 with the second nine completed in 1981. The presence of 36 holes at the club gives the large membership plenty of opportunities to find a game.

The Dormie Club and the Country Club of North Carolina share some similarities: tall pines, rolling topography, clever use of water hazards. But they are very different in other considerations, with Dormie an intentionally rugged, bare-bones layout that encourages a bit of the ground game, while CCNC is extremely well-manicured and plush. Both are absolutely beautiful, just in different ways.

And thats one of the joys of the Pinehurst area as a whole. Theres variety, more than a first-timer can imagine. Public-access golf. Private golf. History meets modernity. Time marches on with plenty of upgraded amenities, but always with a nod to the past. Its the Home of American Golf, and theres no place quite like it.

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Where to play golf in Pinehurst, N.C.: Pinehurst Resort, Pine Needles, Mid Pines, Tobacco Road and more - usatoday.com

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August 10th, 2021 at 1:53 am