James Walker Tufts, the businessman who founded the Pinehurst Resort at the end of the 19th century, enlisted Donald Ross to develop the golfing element on his enormous Sandhills property and the architect ultimately designed five 18-hole layouts, three of which are still in use today.
One of these tracks is the No.4 course, originally completed in 1919 and subsequently renovated by Robert Trent Jones Snr in 1973, with Rees Jones carrying out a further upgrade a decade later. All of the work done by the father and son’s design teams was rendered obsolete in 1999 when Tom Fazio conducted a complete rebuild of the layout.
In 2007, the course co-hosted the US Amateur Championship and was due to hold the third edition of US Amateur Four-Ball Championship in 2017, an event that has recently replaced the US Amateur Public Links tournament on the USGA calendar. However, in November 2016, Bob Dedman, Pinehurst Owner and CEO, announced that Gil Hanse would redesign No.4 and build a short course (The Cradle), consequently the 2017 Four-Ball Championship moved to the No.2 course.
“There’s a unique character at Pinehurst because of the landscape Donald Ross found when he arrived in 1900,” said Bob Dedman. “Back then, he may have been a minimalist by necessity, but we’re making a choice to present our historic golf courses in a natural state similar to that era. The overwhelmingly positive feedback we received from the work on Pinehurst No. 2 encouraged us to explore options that are a continuation of that effort. We think this is a thoughtful approach to the evolution of golf at Pinehurst, and we think Gil Hanse, with his timeless and natural design philosophy, is the right person for the project.”
The No.4 project began in autumn 2017 and completed twelve months later. Our knowledgeable contributor, Paul Rudovsky, played the revamped No.4 course soon after it reopened:
"I had a number of reactions to the redesign. It is very bold… opening up sweeping vistas by removing or thinning tree stands and replacing many small pot bunkers with bold and large waste and regular bunkers… akin to those installed on #2 by Coore and Crenshaw. However, this is in no way a copy of #2…the greens generally sit low against the ground (as opposed to #2’s famous crowned greens)… and while Pinehurst #2 is relatively flat (with the exception of #5, #13 and #18), #4 has always been blessed by more dramatic land movement.
The basic routing of #4 is essentially the same as before… but the greens are very different. Prior to Hanse’s efforts, they were fairly flat… today they are bold and feature strong slopes, mounds, and ridges. I thought the best holes were #2, #5, #7-10, #16 and #18. On the negative side, I thought some of the greens might be too extreme.”
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I thought the course was good, but slightly overrated by other online reviews. The pothole bunkers don't fit the style of the course well and I am looking forward to the restoration.