Location: Southern Pines, N.C.
Course architect: Donald Ross
Tee – Yardage l Rating / Slope:
Medal – 7,015 l 73.5 / 135
Ross – 6,436 l 70.6 / 126
Regular – 5,985 l 68.5 / 120
Executive — 5,516 | 66.8 / 115
Forward – 4,936 l 68.6 / 119
Saturday morning green fee: $$$$$ ($235, April-May 30; $155, May 31-Sept. 5)
Caddie service: No
Walker friendly: Yes
Fairways: Tiff Sport Bermudagrass
Greens: MiniVerde Bermudagrass
Starter: Pine Needles Golf Course and the nearby sister property of Mid-Pines are family businesses that exude a sincere welcome to golfers who visit, and an evident passion and love for the game. Established by LPGA founding member Peggy Kirk Bell and her husband, Pine Needles has a rich history of having hosted three U.S. Women’s Opens, with another one on the way in 2022. Bell died in 2016, but her dream lives on.
Play because …: You can feel the history and the friendly welcome of the staff from the moment you arrive. This is where LPGA Hall of Famers Annika Sorenstam and Karrie Webb won a U.S. Women’s Open (1996 and 2001, respectively). The casual elegance of the bar and dining area is a perfect complement to finish the day.
Takeaway: The numerous and more well-known Pinehurst Resort courses will get your attention, but there is more to this golf mecca than just Pinehurst. Go ahead. Take a short drive east to Southern Pines and the Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club. You won’t regret it, and you’ll come back again and again.
THE RATINGS [1 to 10 scale; 10 being the highest]
Food | Beverage: 8.5
Pro shop: 9.0
Pace of play: 8.0
THE COURSE | Scorecard
Best par 3: No. 13 (208 | 181 | 162 | 131 yards). This is the course’s only par 3 that plays slightly downhill and, true to the Ross design, any shot long will put par in jeopardy. Take one club less and find the front half of the green. Now have fun reading a sharp-breaking putt from right to left.
Best par 4: No. 18 (421 | 406 | 397 | 301 yards). The finishing hole is a beauty. It plays very much downhill off the tee, with drives running out to the left off the sloping fairway. A mid-iron approach needs to be straight, even if a bit short. Go over this green and you will head to the 19thhole with a bad taste in your mouth.
Best par 5: No. 10 (525 | 482 | 460 | 450 | 438 yards). This hole demonstrates the rolling landscape of Pine Needles. It starts with an uphill drive before the hole bends left and levels off a bit. Don’t be suckered by Ross tempting you to cut the dogleg by flying the well-placed bunkers. It can be a risk-reward second shot for the big hitters.
Rater: Craig Smith