Since opening in 1895, the Pinehurst Resort, “the Cradle of American Golf,” has built a reputation of respect, tradition and class in the world of golf and beyond. It is a hollowed place that is synonymous with exceptional golf, tranquil scenery and first-class southern hospitality. Tom Pashley, President of Pinehurst since 2014, has not allowed the resort’s character to skip a beat.
In 2016, Pinehurst contracted Gil Hanse and his team of “Cavemen” to completely redesign the No. 4 course, a golf course that used to be considered one of the best in the country, let alone the Carolinas. The golf course needed to be rejuvenated and it is not in the Pinehurst DNA to settle for anything less than spectacular.
Pashley felt it was appropriate to show respect to one of the most acclaimed golf course architects of the modern era, Tom Fazio, who redesigned No. 4 in 1999 as a modern homage to the great Donald Ross. The Pinehurst leader jumped in his car and drove four hours to Fazio’s home in Hendersonville, N.C. to inform him in person of the Resort’s plans. Fazio admired the gesture.
“It just shows how much they respect the game,” Fazio told Matt Ginella of Golf Advisor. “Gil is very talented. He’ll do a great job, and I’m sure people are going to love it.”
In recent years Gil Hanse’s name has become a staple in the discussion of top modern golf course architects. He and his partner Jim Wagner have completed projects that include the 2016 Olympic Course in Rio de Janeiro, the Black Course at Streamsong and the Cradle, a 789 yard short course at Pinehurst.
The Cradle is set on only 10 acres(about the same land necessary for two holes on a regular course), the same plot of land Dr. Leroy Culver created the first nine holes out of sand in 1898. What sets the 9 hole Cradle apart is that it is truly a short course with holes ranging from 58 to 127 yards, mere steps from the Clubhouse. Adjacent to The Cradle, Pinehurst’s putting course, Thistle Dhu, has also been expanded and is now four times the original size.
Hanse envisioned No. 4 as a “companion course” to its famed sibling, the Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw redo of No. 2. The USGA has recognized the seamless connection as the two courses will host the U.S. Amateur in 2019. Both 2 & 4 play out of the main clubhouse. Although No. 4 will be a natural companion to No. 2 it will not be a duplicate. In fact Hanse believes No. 4 features the most interesting topography on the property.
“It is a companion to the landscape, but it is not a tribute in the features. The greens are different. The approaches are different and we wanted to take advantage of the landforms which are much more dramatic than those on No. 2,” said Hanse.
Hanse equated re-designing No. 4 as a chance to “play in the sand” as nothing in golf compares to the Sandhills region of North Carolina and its underlying soil. They restored No. 4 back to its original landforms by recreating the hole corridors and reconnecting the elevations and natural features.
“The highest compliment we received was from Bill Coore; he was very impressed with how we managed the material onsite,” says Hanse. “And our ability to re-establish a landscape that looked like it had been there forever.”
With a shimmering lake as a centerpeice and natural ridgelines defining corridors, golfers are treated to a brazen blend of sand, native wire grasses and glistening water. With its vast crossing bunkers and scrubby edges, No. 4 will embody the essence of the Sandhills region of the Carolinas.
Pinehurst offers a wide variety of golf packages, including the Summer Tee Package which allows golfers to receive their third night and fourth round of golf completely free when they stay for two nights. For all packages visit Pinehurst.com/offers.
Pinehurst’s centralized location is easily accessible for most of the Southern United States. While no more than a half day’s drive from most major cities in the south, it is only an hour away from the Raleigh-Durham International Airport and less than two hours from Charlotte Douglas International.
For more information, visit www.Pinehurst.com.