- Address290 Country Club Cir, Southern Pines, NC 28387, USA
Obviously Pinehurst No. 2 draws most of the attention from Ross historians wandering North Carolina, but it was not actually the first nine created by the iconic architect in the state. Although the front nine at Pinehurst was indeed Ross’s first design, he actually completed the full 18 at Southern Pines a year before completing the full route at No. 2.
Although that other Ross design has remained in the public view more often due to its hosting of the U.S. Open and other major events, Southern Pines has remained steady in its presentation throughout the past century-plus, playing at just 6,500 yards from the back tees.
In July 2020, the club was purchased by the same group that operated Mid Pines and Pine Needles, two other fine Donald Ross designs in the sand hills region. This acquisition will create one of the finer collections of Ross courses in the country, as well as an upgrade of course maintenance standards. Perhaps it may also mean a restoration of some of Ross’s original holes, which have been lost to time.
Kyle Franz was the architect entrusted with restoring the course to its former glory and the work was carried out in two phases. Tree removal and bunker work was completed during the first half of 2021 before attention turned to reworking the greens and clearing other areas around the property in the summer of that year.
Major changes were made to holes 6, 7, 15 and 18 and a new short par three hole was added between the 4th green and 15th tees – built close to an abandoned hole that was lost in the 1970s – and this now allows golfers to play a 9-hole loop starting with holes 1 to 4, the new hole, then finishing with holes 15 to 18.
“The goal is to make the course feel like a Ross original, staying true to the well-preserved routing and trying to remove superfluous elements added over the decades,” said Franz at the outset of the project. “We will be widening the fairways to make them more inviting (and) removing maintained rough around the greens will encourage players to be creative and have more fun.”
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Donald Ross worked with Old Tom Morris at St Andrews in 1893 then spent part of the following season at Carnoustie before returning to serve under the Dornoch club secretary John Sutherland.