The North Carolina Sandhills
Tradition Meets ModernityThere’s something sustaining about going home, where the surroundings are familiar and comfortable. A golf trip is no different, especially when you’re going to the “Home of American Golf,” or as it’s also known, the North Carolina Sandhills.
Standing on the first tee of any of the 40 world-class courses in the Sandhills area, I am presented with an impeccably maintained corridor framed by loblolly pines sitting amid undisturbed pine straw. Ah, yes, I’m home, and another classic round of golf lies ahead.
Every now and then, a trip home is met with some change, and while the Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Aberdeen area abounds with refined tradition, a lot of modernizing is happening on its golf courses. The most dramatic improvement is at the “New Course” at Talamore Resort, a 1991 Rees Jones-design. The layout was reimagined with a more Scottish theme, widening landing areas, eliminating some bunkers and restoring the greens to the original design and larger size. The undisputed highlight, though, is the new Champion Bermuda putting surfaces that await this season’s visitors.
That gives Talamore comparable playing conditions with other top-tier courses that have made the switch to Bermuda greens, such as Pinehurst No. 2 and No. 8, the Country Club of North Carolina, Pine Needles, Mid Pines and Tobacco Road. Pinehurst No. 4 will also switch as part of its renovation this year. Talamore’s other course, the Mid-South Club, remains an exemplary Arnold Palmer-design.
There are nine excellent reasons to play Pinehurst Resort, but be sure to start with No. 1 before you get to Donald Ross’ famed No. 2. On your way in, however, is the Sandhills’ version of X-golf, the late Mike Strantz’ critically acclaimed Tobacco Road. It’s a thrilling ride of extreme shots set amidst an abandoned sand quarry. Tobacco Road is, to put it mildly, unforgettable.
Another Ross classic is Pine Needles in Southern Pines. It is quintessential North Carolina golf, as is his creation across the road, Mid Pines, the second half of the outstanding Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club.
Another absolute Pinehurst-area favorite is Legacy Golf Links in Aberdeen. The Jack Nicklaus II-design, which features all the hallmarks of classic North Carolina golf, was voted the Golf Course Owners Association’s top course in 2014.
If the Pinehurst area is your next long-term destination, a good place to start looking is Pinewild Country Club, which features multiple courses, including an excellent Gary Player-design. Plus, Pinewild is just a mile from the historic Village of Pinehurst, the energy center of the region. With its quaint stores, vibrant social events, and natural setting, the village is a Carolina landmark. There is no neon here, where the fine dining and accommodations fit the mood of the understated class of the village.
A few places to stay while visiting the towns of Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Aberdeen are the Hampton Inn and Suites, the Towneplace Suites by Marriott and the Residence Inn. These properties are designed for both brief and longer stays and are ideally located just minutes from most of the golf courses that spread out across the sandy, pine tree laden landscape.
To ensure the success of your golf trip, simply make a phone call or email an expert golf packager. Golf Escapes and First Tee Golf Packages both provide quality service, accommodations and, more importantly, access to the finest courses in the Sandhills.
Enjoy your trip home . . . the Home of American Golf. [END]