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Hello, I am planning a buddies trip next year to Pinehurst/Sandhills and wanted some input.  I have been down there 3 times and played a few different courses.  Tobacco Road twice, it is the most fun I have ever had planning golf.  It will be played on our trip, no question.  There will be 3 of us, and I am the only one who has ever been.

 

The first time I went down there I played Pine Needles, Tobacco Road, Southern Pines, and UNC Finley.  Pine Needles had just hosted the LPGA US Open 2 weeks prior (back in 2007) and it might've been the least fun round of golf I have ever played.  I couldn't get anything to stay on the green, even putts.  I must've putted off 6 different greens, and had 50% or more of my approach shots roll off into collection areas.  The number of holes with false fronts got old fast... oh look, another par 4 with a false front.  There was somewhere on the front, I want to say 4 through 9, where there were 5 false fronts in a row.  On #18, the pin was back right and I went on-to and off the green, 4 different times; whether putting off or not getting a wedge shot to stop.  After 10 strokes around the green, I actually picked up my ball and left, its the only time I have ever done that.  I said this is mini-golf level BS I don't need to play this course ever again.  Then after Tobacco Road we played Southern Hills, and granted a lot courses would be a let down after TR, we both felt like we were playing a Muni that could've been anywhere.  It was in mediocre condition at best, didn't feel like sandhills golf at all.  Needless to say, after that trip I wasn't exactly impressed with either of the 2 Donald Ross courses. To end the Trip we played UNC Finley and once again, I found that course much more enjoyable than Pine Needles or Southern Pines, AND it was significantly cheaper than Pine needles and slightly cheaper than Southern Pines.

 

I am not a great golfer.  I shot in the low-mid 90s usually, in fact I have only broken 90 once.  But I am fairly consistent (consistently mediocre?) and don't go into the 100s often either.  I didn't enjoy Pine Needles, at all.  I was being repeatedly punished for shots that I didn't feel deserved punishment.  My cousin, how is a single digit handicap even commented that the greens were a little ridiculous.  Yet I keep hearing how much praise is shown towards Donald Ross, and Pine Needles in particular.  What am I missing?  After shooting in the hundred-teens (w/ a DNF 12 on 18) at pine needles, we both figured Tobacco Road was going to destroy whatever confidence I had left.  I shot a 97 (was pretty happy with that), and had WAY more fun than at Pine Needles.  

 

The other 2 guys I am going with, how are better golfers than me, want to play Pine Needles and/or Mid-Pines.  And I am willing to oblige them, but I'd much rather play Mid-Pines than relive my experience at Pine needles, or is Mid-Pines more of the same?  Was Pine Needles just extra hard because they kept it at tournament conditions for a few weeks? (They didn't mention anything like that to us).  Maybe that day I can just pick some side-games to play or something to make it more interesting and distract me.

 

4 or 5 years ago I went back down and played Rock Barn and Tot Hill Farm.  THF was in pretty rough condition at the time, was an interesting round that I am glad I played but don't think I would want to play it regularly.  Has it been brought back or have the owners let it go?  It is hard to tell from the Website.

 

Thinking we might book through TR Travel to get access to The Dormie.  So looking at TR, MidPines or Pine needles, The Cradle (if able to get on), Dormie, then a wild card...  maybe Tot Hill? maybe a Pinehurst Course (not #2 or #4)? Maybe midSouth? not sure.

 

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Hello, I am planning a buddies trip next year to Pinehurst/Sandhills and wanted some input.  I have been down there 3 times and played a few different courses.  Tobacco Road twice, it is the most fun

Pine needles is a great course.  If you can’t have fun on that golf course you’re not going to have fun anywhere.

I agree. I was a member at Country Club of Salisbury (CCoS) when I lived there. Great course, and almost always in fantastic shape that sees little play with the exception of tournaments. The problem

It wasn’t the green’s fault you took 10

shots on/around it. Both Mid Pines and Pine Needles are great, classic golf courses. Work on short game (speed control, reading putts) and improving your strategy (ie. from where to approach the green and the best place to miss). Try Mid Pines next time for variety. I played it today actually. Didn’t score as well as I would have liked, but still had a fun time.

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Pine needles is a great course.  If you can’t have fun on that golf course you’re not going to have fun anywhere.

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I would play Mid Pines. I have played both in the last month and would view Pine Needles as the big sibling to Mid Pines: Longer, wider, and more skill and touch required around the greens. From the back tees it was a driver and long iron into more greens than I would’ve liked. Makes for a lot of par save attempts and a mentally taxing round. 
 

Mid Pines from the back tees is around 6600 I believe, the fairways are a little narrower, but less classic Donald Ross style elevated greens if I remember correctly. Still speedy so a 4 putt isn’t out of the realm nor is sending a poor chip or pitch off the other side of the green (made a triple on 10 due to that). But I had more short irons and wedges in my hands so birdies aren’t out of the question (had 3). 
 

I would say my short game was much better at Mid Pines but if you want to compare my scores it was 77 at Mid Pines and 84 at Pine Needles. Both from the back tees. I’m a 5.7 handicap. 
 

Side note: While I walked both courses, Pine Needles has your normal golf carts while Mid Pines has those and the single rider cycle style that look like a motorcycle gang is coming down the fairway. Every group I saw on them was having a blast it seemed despite what they were shooting. Not sure if that’s your thing but I thought I’d throw that in there for you. 

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Yeah, I know it isn't the greens' fault.  My short game isn't strong, but something was going on that day that I had never experienced before and haven't seen since.  I could not get a ball to hold the green, it was so frustrating.  Some day I will play it again with an open mind, I just don't know if I am there yet, haha.  It could be expectations as well, none of the rest of the course felt very difficult, I wasn't going OB or finding hazards.  The greens were just absolutely killing me.

 

My cousin lives in NC and has moved 3 times, I visit him each time he moves.  He lives in Salisbury now, thus playing Rock Barn.  (Not that it is that close to Salisbury either, my wife came along that time and demanded a spa day while I had a golf day, cousin suggested Rock Barn and it fit the bill nicely)  He has also lived in Raleigh and Greensboro.  Rock Barn was pretty fun, but over 100 and humid that day which wore me down.  Grandover in Greensboro was another fun course we played awhile back.  

 

I am going to push to see if the guys will do Mid Pines instead.  Newcollector makes a good point I hadn't necessarily thought of, I was probably hitting longer irons into the greens that day which didn't help.  The other thing at Pine Needles was the starter... I remember hitting my first shot, possibly my best drive of the day about 265-270 up the left side.  My cousin hit his about 280 up the center.  Now we weren't playing the tips, but we could see them.  The starter walks over and says "Nice shots, but Michelle Wie teed off back there (Points obscurely behind us) and hit it WAY deeper."  Okay, whatever guy.  So she teed off some 20 yards behind us?  And hit it WAY deeper, whats that? 30 yards?  So Michelle Wie is hitting it 325 now? Good to know.  I really don't understand why some starters insist on saying stupid crap like that.  Way to make us feel good about our round too.  That is not a comment specific to Pine Needles, it just so happened to occur there.

 

Everyone has different opinions on courses I realize. I know Tobacco Road is a love/hate thing, there are people who don't ever want to play that course again, where I think I could play it several times per year.  I am also not trying to say Pine Needles is a bad course.  I just possibly had my worst short game day, combined with a course that was in no condition to accept my short game.    

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3 hours ago, miss0033 said:

Yeah, I know it isn't the greens' fault.  My short game isn't strong, but something was going on that day that I had never experienced before and haven't seen since.  I could not get a ball to hold the green, it was so frustrating.  Some day I will play it again with an open mind, I just don't know if I am there yet, haha.  It could be expectations as well, none of the rest of the course felt very difficult, I wasn't going OB or finding hazards.  The greens were just absolutely killing me.

 

My cousin lives in NC and has moved 3 times, I visit him each time he moves.  He lives in Salisbury now, thus playing Rock Barn.  (Not that it is that close to Salisbury either, my wife came along that time and demanded a spa day while I had a golf day, cousin suggested Rock Barn and it fit the bill nicely)  He has also lived in Raleigh and Greensboro.  Rock Barn was pretty fun, but over 100 and humid that day which wore me down.  Grandover in Greensboro was another fun course we played awhile back.  

 

I am going to push to see if the guys will do Mid Pines instead.  Newcollector makes a good point I hadn't necessarily thought of, I was probably hitting longer irons into the greens that day which didn't help.  The other thing at Pine Needles was the starter... I remember hitting my first shot, possibly my best drive of the day about 265-270 up the left side.  My cousin hit his about 280 up the center.  Now we weren't playing the tips, but we could see them.  The starter walks over and says "Nice shots, but Michelle Wie teed off back there (Points obscurely behind us) and hit it WAY deeper."  Okay, whatever guy.  So she teed off some 20 yards behind us?  And hit it WAY deeper, whats that? 30 yards?  So Michelle Wie is hitting it 325 now? Good to know.  I really don't understand why some starters insist on saying stupid crap like that.  Way to make us feel good about our round too.  That is not a comment specific to Pine Needles, it just so happened to occur there.

 

Everyone has different opinions on courses I realize. I know Tobacco Road is a love/hate thing, there are people who don't ever want to play that course again, where I think I could play it several times per year.  I am also not trying to say Pine Needles is a bad course.  I just possibly had my worst short game day, combined with a course that was in no condition to accept my short game.    

If you are going to be in Salisbury, see if you can get on Salisbury Country Club. It is a Ross course, but the greens are very playable. It is a very fun, old course. If I had a choice between Rock Barn and SCC, I'd take SCC every time. 

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3 hours ago, caniac6 said:

If you are going to be in Salisbury, see if you can get on Salisbury Country Club. It is a Ross course, but the greens are very playable. It is a very fun, old course. If I had a choice between Rock Barn and SCC, I'd take SCC every time. 

I agree. I was a member at Country Club of Salisbury (CCoS) when I lived there. Great course, and almost always in fantastic shape that sees little play with the exception of tournaments. The problem is that you cannot play it now unless you are a member due to Covid-19. Members cannot bring guests, or even family that are not members themselves.

There are excellent courses just up the road from Salisbury in Clemmons as well.

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I would much rather play MP vs PN. I play golf to have a good time and challenge myself but not to punish my feelings about my game just to play a Donald Ross course. I feel that MP offers a more enjoyable round unless you are really looking to test your short game skills. I have enjoyed my rounds at PN but it isn't on or near the top of my list for fun places to play. I love TR, Dormie, and #4 and would play those over PN any day of the week. Sounds like y'all will have a good time. Enjoy NC.

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Interesting you like T-Road so much but are lukewarm on PN. T-Road is typically you either love it or hate it. I do love it but PN/MP are my two favorite courses in the Sandhills. That includes #2 but I haven’t played the new #4. That said there is nothing wrong with choosing MP over PN. Definitely do yourself a favor and go play the Cradle. You mind find it to be the most fun you have all trip. 
 

Enjoy!

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I would say that the greens are nowhere near as punishing at TR as they are at PN. TR is a relatively easy course to play and score on as long as it's not your first time playing it. 🤣

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I've only played Pine Needles once, didn't find the conditions to be quite that difficult but it is definitely a challenging course.

 

Strongly recommend Mid Pines, still has a  lot of classic Ross features, isn't as long and is just a beautiful piece of property.  Quite a bit of variety in the holes too.  You probably won't shoot a career round the first time you play it, but if that's the goal just play Longleaf or something.

 

Like Tobacco Road a lot but disliked Tot Hill so wouldn't choose that one.  Mid South would be a nice addition, as would Talamore.

 

Dormie was nice but is in bottom half of my Pinehurst top tier.

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Just played PN for the second time this past Sunday. My short game is usually my strong point but man did the greens eat me alive. It didnt help that they were fast and im used to Charlotte's slow as carpet greens.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Slightly off topic but does Pine Needles and Mid Pines do a cross over replay rate? My wife and I are going to Charlotte to check out potentially moving to the area. Was going to sneak out and play Tobacco Road and Pine Needles over a couple days. Was thinking of maybe trying to sneak in Mid Pines on the same day as Pine Needles if they offer a replay rate. 

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On 12/25/2020 at 3:41 PM, tjl48 said:

Slightly off topic but does Pine Needles and Mid Pines do a cross over replay rate? My wife and I are going to Charlotte to check out potentially moving to the area. Was going to sneak out and play Tobacco Road and Pine Needles over a couple days. Was thinking of maybe trying to sneak in Mid Pines on the same day as Pine Needles if they offer a replay rate. 

I do believe PN/MP has a cross over rate but it is more expensive than the replay rate for the same course. 
 

We just booked our March trip...

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I’ve played PN maybe 10 times and always enjoy it. It can be tough around the greens, and I’ve seen one friend get frustrated there, but it sounds like you got a taste of a USGA setup. Usually the greens there are in good shape, but not at speeds that embarrass you. They want you to have a good time and come back.

 

I prefer PN over MP, and MP over Finley (which I’ve probably played 50 times).


Tobacco Road is definitely fun, but I think once a year or slightly less is enough. To me TR is the course that should be compared to mini golf. BC of that it’s hard to compare. I have it definitely below PN and MP, but not sure against Finley. If I were to play my next 30 rounds at either Finley or TR, I pick Finley, but if I’m on a trip to NC and deciding between them for a single round, I pick TR.

 

Comparing MP to PN: PN is longer (if you want it to be), more challenging, and a bigger course on a bigger property. More elevation. MP has a much tighter routing, much more workable, but with modern distance I find some of the holes a little short and quirky. People seemed to unanimously prefer PN until a couple years ago, not it seems like it’s 50/50 as the tide shifts toward old school architecture. Off the course, PN has nicer facilities and seems to get more budget for things like cart paths, etc.
 

Finley is fun, but nothing special at all. Big plus at Finley is the cool Heels gear in the pro shop. As a Heels fan I hate to say this, but in that area I prefer the Washington Duke course - but do note it is harder than Finley. Greens usually faster, right more penal. 

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On 1/18/2021 at 10:13 AM, Lefty_89 said:

I'll be at PN at the end of February; they had a stay and play deal of 1 night and 1 round for $205.

 

It'll be our first stop before heading over to Pinehurst.

 

Any dinner recommendations for a first-timer? Given the restrictions and everything...

I'm a fan of Pinehurst Brewing Company

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6 hours ago, jjthomp2 said:

what's the weather like in Pinehurst end of Feb?

My birthday is the last week of Feb and my wife and I took a quick trip down last year to celebrate.  Sat the 22nd was around 60, sunny with a cool breeze.  Didn't play that day, just shopped and walked around.  Sunday was around 65, nice enough to wear shorts while we played that afternoon.  Just about perfect for golf.  Monday was absolutely crappy, with wind and rain and maybe 50...felt like 30.  We ended up just walking around the Pinehurst resort clubhouse and watched the bundled-up folks attempting to swing.  We wanted to play the Cradle but we would not have enjoyed it due to the weather.  Tues was forecasted for the same wet/cold weather so we headed home a day early. 

 

Moral of my story:  You never know!     

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On 12/5/2020 at 6:08 PM, wrwarner said:

It wasn’t the green’s fault you took 10

shots on/around it. Both Mid Pines and Pine Needles are great, classic golf courses. Work on short game (speed control, reading putts) and improving your strategy (ie. from where to approach the green and the best place to miss). Try Mid Pines next time for variety. I played it today actually. Didn’t score as well as I would have liked, but still had a fun time.

 

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26 minutes ago, sniper said:

Any condition updates for Pine Needles ans Mid Pines?  Heading down the 3 week in March and head Pine Needles was not in good shape. 

Played MP yesterday.. Excellente.. A few winter divots and some damp turf in some low areas but greens were great. 
Very dry for the amount of rain we have had 

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