Pinehurst Resort is located in Pinehurst, North Carolina, 90 miles east of Charlotte, 70 miles southwest of Raleigh and 70 miles south of Greensboro. The most convenient way to fly into Pinehurst is via Raleigh-Durham International Airport. The resort was built in the mid-to-late 1890s and it’s set within some 5,500 acres in the Sandhills region of North Carolina and was originally developed as a health resort for patients recovering from tuberculosis.
Three historic hotels are all located in the Village of Pinehurst, Carolina Hotel, Holly Inn or the Manor Inn. Groups may prefer to stay in the Villas, which feature spacious guest rooms with a connecting parlor, or the Condos, each with a full kitchen and living area along with views of the golf course or Lake Pinehurst.
Dining options at Pinehurst are too numerous to mention, from the Southern flavors of the Four-Diamond 1895 Grille to the casual atmosphere of the Ryder Cup Lounge, there's something for everyone here.
Shopping in Southern Pines, Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve, Cameron Historic District, Deep River Sporting Clays and Shooting School, Airborne & Special Operations Museum are all located with a 20-minute drive of Pinehurst, but at the centre of the resort, there's Village of Pinehurst itself, which preceded the first golf course at the property.
Two outdoor swimming pools, 16 clay tennis courts, lawn sports (croquet and bowling), fitness center with the latest cardiovascular and resistance training equipment, award winning Spa offering a holistic range of treatments, kids club, boating, fishing and swimming on a private 200-acre lake.
Every golfer has heard of Pinehurst, the cradle of American golf. It ranks alongside St Andrews as the place most golfers want to see. They say in US golfing circles that you don't go to Pinehurst on vacation; you go there on a pilgrimage. To the fortunate such a trip is an annual event, as imperative as it is addictive. Some families have been going for generations.
Thousands flock each month to the place regarded as the cradle of US golf, pulse quickening as they turn into the arrow-straight driveway whose terminus is the regal Carolina Hotel, known as The Queen of the South. Colonnaded, pristine white and with a gleaming copper roof, it oozes the style and the aura that is the very essence of Pinehurst and yet it is as homely and welcoming as your granny's parlour. To many, indeed, each visit is like going home. They'll have their favourite suite and their special table in the gracious Carolina Dining Room where dinner is almost a family gathering of familiar faces and friendly staff, where a piano gently counterpoints the quiet buzz of conversation and the clink of crystal and china.
A highlight is taking afternoon tea in the lobby, in armchairs arranged in conversational clusters. Nearby is a large half-finished jig saw puzzle, a diversion for passing guests who will take a moment or two to place a piece and chat with others of similar mind. It's symptomatic of the pace of daily life, where the only need for a watch is to check on an imminent tee time.
Ah, yes, the golf! Some say that if Pinehurst had only one golf course worthy of the name the world would still beat a path there, week in and week out. As the great Bill Campbell has it: "Pinehurst is more than good golf courses. It's a state of mind." At its heart is a unique and all-pervading ambience, created by the expansive dimensions of an estate enhanced by the sweet aroma of millions of pine trees.
With 5,000 acres out there, over-crowding is no problem, even when every room is filled – the resort has other hotels and various forms of self-catering accommodation – and upwards of 1,000 people are going about their daily activities. Some guests delight in doing not much at all; they're happy simply to saunter or soak up the ambience beside a pool or from a rocking chair on the hotel's veranda, a glass of mint julep to hand as they watch the world go about having a good time.
For the more active there's a 24-court tennis club and a croquet lawn; there's a 200-acre lake for sail boating, swimming and fishing; there's a marina with paddle boats, and there are five swimming pools dotted about, plus several miles of nature trails. There's a world-class spa and health and fitness centre, there are shops within the hotel and also in the charming Pinehurst village, a stroll away, where it all began back at the turn of the century.
Golf came about almost by chance. Seeing guests practicing the game in a meadow, James W. Tufts, the Pinehurst Resort owner, recruited a golfing friend to lay out a rudimentary nine-hole course. Then while in Boston on business he bumped into a young Scot by the name of Donald Ross, fresh from Royal Dornoch where he'd been green keeper and professional. It may have been the happiest accident in the history of sport.
Today, there are nine golf courses at the Pinehurst Resort, all named simply; No.1, No.2 etc. and each is well worth playing in its own right. However, it’s the No.2 course that every golfer yearns to play – it’s Pinehurst’s equivalent of the Old course at St Andrews. It may not be as antiquated as its Scottish cousin, but the No.2 course has hosted the Ryder Cup and numerous US Opens among many other important events. Famed for its unique and legendary greens, the No.2 course is not only one of the best golf courses in the world; it’s also a formidable test.
But don’t take our word for it. Here are a few review comments from golfers who’ve played this world-ranked layout:
“This is my favorite course on the planet.”
“Pinehurst #2 is one of those few layouts that are "must" plays for the architectural cognoscenti.”
“Walking the fairways at dawn or dusk with the smell of pine in the air and the sound of church bells ringing softly in the village is magical.”
“From a pure architectural perspective it’s sheer genius with some of the most interesting greens you may ever see…”
“I have played several well regarded courses which failed to meet up to my expectations, but #2 was everything I thought it would be and more.”Read all Pinehurst No.2 course reviews