Situated five miles east of Pinehurst, the Mid Pines and Pine Needles golf courses are part of the same resort, separated by Midland Road, which divides the two 18-hole layouts. Both layouts are Donald Ross tracks that were constructed for the owning Tufts family, with the Mid Pines course opening in 1921, seven years before its sibling appeared.
Feature holes include the uphill 330-yard 4th, played to a green that drops away sharply on its right side, the 380-yard left doglegged 12th, the 391-yard right doglegged 17th and the 411-yard closing hole, where the home green is beautifully back dropped by the elegant Inn at Mid Pines hotel.
There’s plenty of authentic
Ross here, thanks largely to a sympathetic restoration carried out in 2013 by
Kyle Franz (former shaper for Tom Doak, Gil Hanse and Kyle Phillips) which
received plenty of critical acclaim, such as: “there’s no doubt Franz
delivered. Mid Pines was always a good course, but it now positively crackles
with new life.”
Mid Pines - where to start!
An epic course, which builds to a 3 hole stretch that would grace any course!
Upon arrival the 100 plus year old Lodge and Clubhouse is the first thing you notice. She stands above the property regal and majestic.
When one thinks of Pinehurst North Carolina - The Number 2 course at the Pinehurst Resort comes to mind immediately, after all it has history on its side. While #2 brings the golfers, courses like this one win the hearts of golfers from all over the globe.
A local told us early on that Mid Pines is the #1 track in the North Carolina Sandhills area, which is a big call considering the depth and quality of the courses here. I suspect trying to choose the best course is just like trying to do it at the Melbourne Sandbelt - its subjective but there are a handful of stunners. Mid Pines is a Kingston Heath level stunner.
The course has Lovely elevation changes, they are perhaps more substantial than you realise when standing on the first tee, its a tough walk, with very few level lies. They certainly added a layer of complexity I was not expecting.
The Donald Ross routing is genius, using all points of the compass to test your game. All the shots are required, from the tee there is room to shape shots, but at times one has no choice but to step up to the mark.
The greens have a nice balance of slope and false fronts, never plain but also never unfair, one suspects that this course would be a joy to play every day of the year for a member.
I loved hole 4, a short par 4 with a wicked green, a drive to the far left edge of the fairway affords you a good angle, every yard further right is a yard more difficult.
16, a downhill right to left hole demands the right ball flight, its a stunning hole visually, an epic tee shot.
17 turns the other way, the routing never lets you settle, challenging you all the way to the house.
The 18th which once again turns back right to left, the scene is set by the Massive Clubhouse, the hole feels like a stadium. What an experience, up there with anything you could hope to play.
Wonderful design. My buddy eagled number three, which you would think would ensure a top ten day. On number four disaster struck and I plunked it into a greenside bunker. I escaped 4 shots later. Two holes later, deja vu. Three holes later i am in another bunker, this one actually had sand as i dug in. Unfortunately, as with the other bunkers there was not much, if any under my ball. The good news is i was able to skull this one out, the bad news was into another bunker. My sand play was so bad i contaminated the rest of my foursome. By the 13th or 14th hole we all recognized the only way to safely escape from the greenside bunkers was with a putter!!!!
Lovely track ruined and all this for $125.
Confusing review. The reviewer describes the course as a "wonderful track" and "wonderful design" yet gives the course a "poor" rating. Maybe he was rating the quality of his play instead; he certainly described that more than the course. I've played Mid Pines an it is a 4 ball course at least.
I read it as a review of what would otherwise have been a wonderful course, but ruined by poor conditioning of the bunkers.
Fortunately, conditioning can be improved and some courses suffer from poor conditioning at times (due to the changing seasons or adverse weather events) but come back beautifully in time or with a little work. Hopefully the enduring design of the course results in it receiving higher scoring reviews in the future. Or reviewers who place less emphasis on conditioning and more on the design. But I can equally see that someone paying over USD100 for a round probably expects the conditioning to be acceptable for their standards. My personal pet hate is paying top dollar for courses in Asia and then finding the fairways overwatered and balls routinely plugging through the green.
Fantastic course in beautiful condition. The owners own this course and Pine Needles across the street and both the courses are run in a first class manner. I love the look and feel of this course. In contrast to modern designs, which seek to intimidate the golfer while actually allowing for quite a bit of room for most shots, designer Donald Ross accomplished the opposite here. Relatively benign and open appearing holes actually require very precise placement to play the hole properly. The land is gentle and rolling, and this course can be walked comfortably. The rough has been transformed to sand and scruff like Pinehurst #2 and I love both the aesthetics and playability of the rough areas. This is a great course, and although I like Pine Needles a little better I think Mid Pines is actually the better course. Both courses are amazing.
Read my full story: The Sandhills – high-class designs outside Pinehurst
A few years back I played most of Mid Pines before running into two 8 balls of afternoon beer guzzlers and skipping through to the 18th. This time around the course had underwent a lovely and thoughtful restoration by Kyle Franz. Having just spent an evening with Kyle I was curious to see the results. In no way was I disappointed. The restoration work is awesome.
The course is great fun to play and in fact in terms of pure fun I’d have to say it’s perhaps #1 in North Carolina’s Sand Hills.
There is tons of width and the course plays very firm and fast allowing for quite a few options and even realistic use of the ground game despite the warm weather grasses.
If you make it to the area, Mid Pines is a definite must play.
Thousands of visiting golfers migrate to the Pinehurst region throughout the year. In Southern Pines, NC, you’ll find the nearby sister courses of Pine Needles and Mid Pines.
While Pine Needles has a large scale feel to it, I certainly preferred the much more challenging Mid Pines with its outstanding raised greensites and strategic feel to it.
The course continually challenges accuracy off the tee, and tests that there’s truly something going on between your two ears.
I’m actually debating with myself whether I prefer to play Mid Pines over Pinehurst #2 as I just loved it without feeling battered. Sometimes it’s good to challenge the norm and think outside the box.
I’d say my favorite holes at Mid Pines were the par 3 2nd which was an excellent short par 3 with a beautiful green complex and the closing hole which was a long par 4 with a back to front sloping green set in the hillside in front of the clubhouse. A small hiccup on the back 9 but a great start to a Pinehurst visit.