Location: Southern Pines, NC
Architect: Donald Ross
March 16, 2012
In 2012, I kicked off the golf travel season with a return trip to Pinehurst, North Carolina. One of my regular travel buddies, Jay, has an uncle who owns a condo right in the heart of Pinehurst. For the last couple of years Jay’s uncle has very generously allowed us to use the condo for a golf weekend in March. We have officially declared these Pinehurst trips to be the de facto season opener and plan to return every March for a little golf and a little March Madness.
Pinehurst is just a short 3 hour drive down the road from where I live in Virginia. Itâ€™s a fairly pleasant ride on good highways that arenâ€™t overrun with aggressive drivers and tractor trailers, so it it’s not like the sweat inducing white knucklers Iâ€™m used to doing on I-95. As per usual I made a slight detour through the Raleigh airport to pick up Jay so he could make the 1 hour ride to Pinehurst with me. Also as per usual my golf partner for this trip, Steve, had work obligations that required him to juggle his flight at the last minute and he didnâ€™t arrive in Pinehurst until after 2AM. It’s funny how predictable life can get.
All of us, including Steve, were up bright and early the next morning for our first round of the trip at Mid-Pines. I had played this course about 15 years ago when I was in town for a work conference. It was one of those corporate event, captains choice kind of rounds so it wasnâ€™t exactly the most ideal situation to check the course out. I was excited to see it again.
Mid Pines opened for play in 1921 and was designed by Donald Ross. Considering that Ross lived in Pinehurst I think its safe to say that this is one of the courses where he actually spent time on site. Mid Pines and Pine Needles are sister courses and are each affiliated with an on property hotel/inn which means there are golf and lodging packages available for those who would like them. For players that are not staying at one of the affiliated properties, getting a tee time is as easy as making a phone call.
After we checked in at the pro shop and hit a few balls on the range we headed for the 1st tee. I didnâ€™t take very many photos, but below are a few that I hope will provide a feel for the course.
There is a lot of talk about the â€śturtlebackâ€ť greens on Donald Ross courses. While not all Donald Ross greens are this style there are a number of greens at Mid Pines with this feature. Below is a photo of the 4th green that shows a little bit of a crowned contour.
Here is a look at the 6th green. This photo doesnâ€™t really do it justice, but there is a bit of an upside down bowl feel to this putting surface as well.
The photo below was taken from the 9th tee which is a short par 4 with a dogleg right. The tree lined fairway with pine tag beds is very typical of what is found at Mid Pines.
Below is a look from the 16th tee which is a 400 yard par 4. The brown grass in the foreground can be found in various places around the course. It adds to the aesthetic, but it rarely comes into play.
I found Mid Pines to be a very pleasant golf experience. The course is very playable, friendly and fun. Balls that stray off course are rarely lost and require good recovery shots played from the pine tags. There are a number of enjoyable holes and the course features some quintessential Donald Ross greens. Overall, Mid Pines is a fun course and a good addition to anyoneâ€™s Pinehurst trip.