Tom Fazio has divided opinion among golf course architecture aficionados for years but several of his courses have unified both sides of the aisle. Pinehurst No. 8 is one of them. The architect was brought in during 1996 to create the resort's eighth course as a celebration of its centennial anniversary.
Although players will not necessarily find a Donald Ross tribute, they will find a 7,100-yard route that blends carefully into the established expectations, framed most prominently by the resort’s marquee attraction, the No. 2 course. Fazio adopts swathes of waste to separate fairways at various points, or to line the inside of the long dogleg left that is the par four No. 4. At other points, such as No. 2 (the hole, not the course), Fazio punctuates the hole with smaller bunkers. And, occasionally, somewhere in-between the two styles serves best, such as No. 12, which features two very large sand installations for those who choose not to lay up.
This portion of the Pinehurst property also allows Fazio to work with water hazards as he might at some of his more “modern” courses. No. 14 is a full-on Cape-style tee shot, daring players to bite off as much of the wetland as they feel comfortable with.
Those making the pilgrimage to Pinehurst will be sampling a range of courses and after the likes of the famed #2 and the recently updated layout at #4 by Gil Hanse you can sample a Tom Fazio connection.
Pinehurst #8 is decent but it's hardly on the elite line of the various stellar courses Fazio has created.
Among the more noted holes are the dog-leg left par-4 4th. The long par-5 6th also uses the terrain in fine fashion and it pays to slot one's tee shot correctly if birdie is on your agenda.
Credit the Fazio team for the well-contoured greens at the par-4 7th and the uphill dog-leg right 9th. The par-3 8th sandwiched between them demands a top tier approach shot especially when the pin is cut to the far right.
The inward half is fairly straightforward and hardly exciting until you reach the par-4 14th hole and its cape-like feature. The last hole is also quite good -- going uphill to the clubhouse and also includes a quality green.
Like I said, if you're a Fazio fan you likely have sampled his best creations and leave here a bit underwhelmed. Pinehurst #8 is more vanilla than anything else.
M. James Ward
Great addition to the Pinehurst portfolio. Great test of golf.
Number 8 is a Tom Fazio course, and I think it is one of the better courses in the Pinehurst complex. The course was built to celebrate Pinehurst’s first hundred years, and Fazio drew inspiration from Donald Ross’s work in designing what is also known as the centennial course.
He made the greens somewhat larger than no 2, but the movement in the greens, fall offs, and false fronts maintain the challenges for golfers of all levels. The course is routed through hillier terrain than the initial courses at Pinehurst, as well as natural wetlands, giving the course a point of difference to the other courses at Pinehurst.
In my view the back nine is stronger than the front, and more interesting. The ‘cape hole’ short par 4 fourteenth hole is the standout! You need to decide how much of the water to take on and commit!
Other notable holes include:
- the par 3 fifteenth hole surrounded by marshland
- hole 17, a par 5 with a tricky green
- hole 18, a strong par 4 finishing hole (see picture mid article)
Pinehurst no 8 is be one of key courses to play in any trip to Pinehurst Resort.
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.
Not bad but I would play 2, 4, or 7 before 8 at Pinehurst.
Recently, we had the pleasure of playing all 9 Pinehurst courses. Sean Peterson of golftripjunkie.com was instrumental in coordinating our itinerary and at a reasonable price. I heartily recommend Sean and golftripjunkie.com.
Number 8 is a Fazio design and was commissioned to honor the Pinehurst centennial. The first hole is welcoming. A downhill par 4, favor the right side off the tee. The par 5 2nd is reachable in two if you hit two super shots and have nerves of steel. For the rest of us, favor the left side off the tee. The holes layout is somewhat serpentine and narrows and then widens for your 2nd shot landing area. The well-protected green is a bit tricky and predominantly right to left. The3rd hole plays much tougher than the card would suggest, or at least for us. An uphill par 4, favor the right off the tee to avoid the bunkers left. It is significantly uphill on your approach, long is better. I spent way too much quality time trying to hack it out of the front right green side bunker. This green has a very discernible ridge running front to back. Play your approach accordingly. The 4th is a good hole. Slight downhill dogleg left. Your tee shot should be played over the waste bunker on the left side. The green is sloped back to front, so it receives approach shots very well. The 5th is a cute little par 3 with the only real trouble a bunker in front. However, this is a tricky little green with the dominant roll right to left. The par 5 6th is the number one handicap hole and it makes no sense to me. Slightly uphill and relatively straight away and not reachable, three decent golf shots will have you putting for birdie on a green with a significant right to left slope. The short downhill 7th is an excellent birdie oppty. A well struck drive will leave you with less than a flip wedge with the only downside being a downhill lie. The 8th is a long tough par 3. Right is dead between the gunch ravine and a deep greenside bunker. The dogleg right par 4 9th plays tougher than it looks. Cut the corner on the right side over the waste area. The green area is complex. Miss right and it will roll into a collection area, left and it will roll out hard left.
The backside starts with a downhill par 4, favor the right side off the tee. The par 5 11th is pretty straight forward. Not reachable, but 3 good shots will have you birdie seeking. Beware of the large deep bunker right. The short par 4 12th is a dogleg right and is really a gimme hole. Unless, you are brain dead and try to drive it. My advice, find the fairway with your favorite approach yardage. The par 4 13th is a super hole. A hard dogleg left with carry over water. I would suggest aiming at the 150 yard marker off of the tee box. The 16th looks innocuous on the card, looks can be deceiving. Favor the left off the tee and be mindful on the approach. This green is one of the toughest on the course. The par 5 17th is definitely reachable and based upon my experience 3 puttable. The long uphill par 4 18th is a tough finishing hole. The contour will have your ball rolling left so favor the right side off the tee. This will leave you with a long approach to a well guarded green.
Good but not great, I would not pay to play it again