Our 10 favorite Pinehurst courses, ranked
If it’s been a decade since you’ve been back to Pinehurst, it’s time to go—much has changed. There are several new additions to the scene, and most of the major courses have undergone serious, and in some cases total, transformations.
Though Pinehurst (and neighboring Southern Pines) is still Pinehurst, a quaint, historical village that’s unlike anywhere else in golf—or even like anything outside its small geographic radius—the overall environment of the golf, resorts, lodging and restaurants is more evolved than it was 10 years ago.
What hasn’t changed is the difficulty of selecting which courses to play with limited time. Choosing how to divide your rounds in such a target-rich environment can tie visitors in knots.
Scroll on to read our guide to our favorite choices in Pinehurst. Click around to explore our new, searchable Places to Play hub, complete with courses reviews from our panelists.
No. 2 would be the top selection on nearly any list, no matter where it was located. Already one of the four or five most original designs in the U.S., the reestablishment of the original sand and wiregrass borders in 2010 by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw has given the course the aesthetic punch it previously lacked. Playing here is, in equal proportions, a deeply cerebral and emotional experience. Everything else in Pinehurst plays off the No. 2 course in one way or another.
Tobacco Road might not be the clear second-best course in the Pinehurst region, but it’s one that should not be missed. The design was the apotheosis of late architect Mike Strantz’s unique take on risk/reward golf and visual agitation. Beautiful and bewildering, this is funhouse golf full of greens stretched into silly putty shapes, vast chasms of sand to play over and around and numerous blind shots that ask you to hit and hope and hold your breath.
Southern Pines, NC
Located in Southern Pines, Mid Pines Inn & Golf Club, designed by Donald Ross in 1921, is pure elegance and beauty. The routing is spellbinding, with holes that stretch out into corners at the property’s high points, then fall back down to intersect at junctions across the calmer interior. Kyle Franz’s 2013 work expanding greens and restoring the perimeter sandscapes has greatly enhanced one of Pinehurst’s most refined golf presentations.