Course of the Month

April 2018

Pinehurst, USA USA

The Cradle course designed by Gil Hanse, brings Pitch and Putt to one of golf's meccas. On approximately 10 acres beyond the historic south veranda of the sprawling clubhouse at historic Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, two holes have been turned into nine. The land formerly occupied by the first holes of Golf Course Nos. 3 and 5 is now a charming Pitch and Putt course.

The card of the course is as follows: 1. 98 yards; 2. 86 yards; 3. 65 yards; 4. 117 yards; 5. 92 yards; 6. 69 yards; 7. 92 yards; 8. 67 yards; 9. 103 yards

“We’ve been talking about the possibility of a short course at Pinehurst for maybe a decade or so," Pinehurst Resort & Country Club president Tom Pashley said. “The challenge for us was always the location.”

Pinehurst officials had considered building a short layout away from its core – where five of its nine courses begin and end – but the relocation of the two par 4s allowed the Pitch and Putt design to be adjacent to the resort clubhouse. (The greens of the former holes are the putting surfaces of the Pitch and Putt course’s fifth and sixth holes.)

As part of the Pitch and Putt project, the popular Thistle Dhu putting course, modelled on the Himalayas putting green at St. Andrews, Scotland, and opened in 2012, has been enlarged to four times its original size and repositioned.  

The green on the 65-yard third hole (shortest on the course) is a large Punchbowl surrounded by bunkers. Players will defintely enjoy the ninth hole (at the maximum Pitch and Putt distance) where a steep slope on the right will feed shots toward the green. “It’s on the Redan principle, where you play away from the hole to get it close to the hole,” Wagner said. “The thought is to play the ball off that wing of soil and let it funnel to the back. Architect George Thomas said one of the fun aspects of golf is watching a ball move across the green, wondering where it’s going to end up, that anticipation. We’re trying to create that here.” Only the 4th hole would require a tee change to conform to FIPPA distances. 

As with Pinehurst Course No. 2 golf course – where 40 acres of turf was transformed into sandy  native areas by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw in their 2010-11 restoration – a recent restoration of Course No. 3 by Kyle Franz and an upcoming redesign of Course No. 4 by Gil Hanse, the short course will have a natural look.“Only about five acres of the short course will be grassed,” said Farren. “The rest will be a big sandscape with native wire grass. We’ve really looked back to our past to determine our future.”

Pinehurst Pitch and Putt course is something that can be played in an hour or so with a couple of clubs. “We think three clubs,” said Bob Farren, director of golf course & ground management, who has worked at Pinehurst since 1982. With a further nod to FIPPA norms, Bob Farren suggests, “Buddies might say, you can only take your putter and one other club – pick your poison.”

Hanse designed The Olympic Golf Course for the 2016 Rio Games and is reknowned for his restoration work at places such as The Los Angeles Country Club (site of the 2017 Walker Cup Match and 2023 U.S. Open), and Winged Foot Golf Club (site of the 2020 U.S. Open).