Playing Historic Pinehurst

 

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

The North Carolina Sandhills Offer a Golf Mecca

Pinehurst Resort Club with Putter Boy logo

Pinehurst Resort Club with Putter Boy logo

Imagination and vision! Inspiration and drive! Boston business man James Walker Tufts possessed these traits in creating Pinehurst Village in the Sandhills of North Carolina. Initially an idea as a winter resort for New Englanders, in 1895 the Village was built around an oval green with winding roads. In a few years with the guests’ interest in the “little white ball”, Tufts added golf to the vacation resort. An unexpected inspiration came in 1900 when Tufts convinced Donald Ross from Scotland to design a golf course for Pinehurst. Ross became a founding father and icon of American Golf. The courses he designed at Pinehurst still rank among the finest. A desire for many avid golfers is to experience Pinehurst and this golfing Mecca. 

Winding roads welcome and confuse us as we arrive in Pinehurst Village. It is easier to park the car and walk. Arriving at 1:00 PM, we enjoy lunch at Dugan’s Pub and begin to transform ourselves to the aura of Pinehurst. Meandering the twisting roads to find our hotel, we stop at the award-winning Carolina Hotel to experience first hand its Southern charm. The Carolina welcomes us with its stately columns and gracious lobby. With a warm greeting by the concierge, Priscilla, we quickly sign up for an 8:16AM tee time on Pinehurst No. 5 the next morning and dinner the following evening in the Carolina Dining Room.

Manor Inn gives a southern welcome!

Manor Inn gives a southern welcome!

Next we carefully follow the map to the Manor Inn where Mary Kay greets us. The Manor offers a more relaxed lodge-style atmosphere. Our timing in choosing to arrive following a holiday weekend is perfect as the Inn isn’t busy. Mary Kay shares that Arnold Palmer stays at the Manor Inn anytime he returns to Pinehurst. He always fondly recalls his visits as a boy with his dad. Mary Kay offers us the one bedroom suite, just like Arnie gets. The suite is perfect. It is great to have a separate living area and bedroom, with plenty of space to spread out. It is fun to think of how many times Arnie and other famous golfers have enjoyed these same comfortable suites.

Putter Boy is a symbol for Pinehurst

Putter Boy is a symbol for Pinehurst

Pinehurst Golf Club is the next stop! Awesome! Pinehurst offers eight world-class golf courses. With a 50% off the green fees after 4:00 PM, the obvious thing is to play golf! Slipping into our golf shoes and grabbing our clubs we are quickly playing Pinehurst No. 1. A shorter course from the blues at 6,093 yards par 70 and 5,214 for the ladies the course is a favorite for a great starting round. Playing as a twosome the course is pleasantly challenging; however, the pace of play is slow. We eventually join another couple for the final holes.

Arising early we go to the lobby for our continental breakfast. Breakfast is very basic with some pastries, sweet rolls and cereal. Now to play Pinehurst No. 5. It is a beautiful clear morning! A perfect day for golf in the Sandhills of North Carolina! This is a gracious course with rolling hills and in terrific condition. Uphill and downhill holes, left-to-right or right-to-left doglegs add to the fun of Pinehurst No.5. It meets our expectations for a Pinehurst Course. In fact the Pinehurst No. 5 has more water hazards than any other course at Pinehurst. An exciting course No. 5 offers plenty of challenge for any golfer. As a twosome it was a perfect pace of play.

Fantastic and huge describe the Pinehurst Golf Shop. There is a varied and extensive selection of golf clothing and memorabilia. Getting our clubs, we see foursomes teeing off on the famous Pinehurst #2. Caddies are required and it is a walking course which of course comes with a hefty fee. Maybe next time we’ll take on Pinehurst #2.

Payne Stewart celebrates winning the 1999 US Open!

Payne Stewart celebrates winning the 1999 US Open!

Outside the club house are statues of Donald Ross, William Tufts and the dramatic statue of Payne Stewart with his arm in a fist pump and balanced on one leg after winning the US Open in 1999. This is more memorable with Payne’s death a few months later. Photo opportunity with me and the infamous Putter Boy statue, designed in 1912 by Lucy Richards as a sundial. The Putter Boy has become the symbol for Pinehurst and is on all golf memorabilia.

Tonight it’s dinner at Carolina Dining Room to experience a resort dinner in southern style. Our waiter is fun and professional. The meal is a three course dinner is excellent. Again, going after a holiday weekend, except for a large party, dining room is quiet. Afterwards, back at the Manor Inn we stop in the Hacker’s Pub for drinks. The Pub is the most exciting and busiest place at Pinehurst. It is great to sip our drinks and overhear the golfer’s stories of that “great shot” and their Pinehurst Experience. 

If you go:

Pinehurst packages for accommodations and golf:
Pinehurst Resort, 80 Carolina Vista Drive, Village of Pinehurst, NC 28374
www.pinehurst.com
800-ITS-GOLF
Dugan’s Pub, #2 Market Square, Pinehurst, NC 28370, (910) 295-3400

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About Charlene Mixa

Seeing new places, learning about cultures and seeing the sights has always been my dream. Growing up I was blessed with parents that enjoyed traveling and thought nothing of taking a family of seven on excursions. My career in Human Resources and later as a consultant for an international Human Resource firm offered some travel, but I knew as my husband and I approached retirement, my goal was to do more traveling and broader trips. The nine years since retirement has been filled with fantastic adventures from short local one day trips to several week excursions. Living in Florida, it is especially enjoyable to be away in the summer to cooler climates. Multi-week driving trips across the good ol' USA, settling in for a month in the mountains to explore the local area, or a combination of both fill much of our summer season. Our travels are predominantly self-orchestrated, bringing the fun and challenge of getting everything to click. It's all about doing and sharing! Experiencing a travel adventure is exciting. Reliving a special travel moment with a friend or family is exhilarating. I feel my heart race and pulse quicken, as I sharing that special moment. Thank you for joining in my travel adventures and allowing me to hear your stories.