Pine Needles Golf Course is located in the Sandhills of Nth Carolina, and was built by the legendary Donald Ross in 1927.
In the depression years the course was sold and the art deco clubhouse became a retirement home.
It wasn't until the early 1950's that Peggy Kirk Bell and husband Warren bought the course and built a new clubhouse on the southern end of the course.
As a consequence the routing was changed and the former second hole near the new clubhouse became the opening hole.
Under their guidance the course flourished, and to date has hosted 3 U.S Womens Open Championships.
In 2005 architect John Fought was employed to renovate the course, extensively upgrading the turf throughout.
Then again in 2017/2018 Kyle Franz engineered significant change.
He reworked the greens to emphasise the Ross crowned greens, along the way adding subtle movement through the heart of the greens to add interest and difficulty.
He also introduced extensive waste bunkering, tightening the fairway landing areas.
In many cases the fairways tilt either right or left and with the waste areas intruding into the driving lines, it is now easy to hit a central part of the fairway but bounce with the slope into the waste areas on the low side. This requires players to hit on the high side of the fairway to stay on the short grass- seriously narrowing the landing areas.
Pine Needles now reminds me of a condensed or shortened version of no 2 at Pinehurst (also designed by Donald Ross).
It should be perfect for the upcoming ladies championships, and a test for the everyday golfer.
In 2019 Pine Needles will host the Senior Womens U.S. Open and in 2022 will host the Womens Open for the fourth time.
Notable holes include:
- hole 3, a short downhill par 3 over marshland with a tricky green
- hole 4, a mid length par 4 with tee shot over water, and an uphill approach to a crowned green on the hill top.
- hole 13, a mid length downhill par 3 to a green set in a natural valley
Pine Needles is a quality course, and will set up very well for the Ladies Championships.
It is however a serious test for mere mortals- a test of patience and accuracy, rather than length.
Pine Needles is one of the featured courses on Travelling Golfer trips to the Pinehurst Area of Nth Carolina.
Please contact us here is you have an interest in a golf tour including Tobacco Road. The Travelling Golfer can tailor trips to suit your group!