Our first full day at Pinehurst Resort for this trip was packed full, starting with a full, hearty breakfast an the Carolina Hotel in one of the great restaurants called the Carolina Room. The breakfast buffet includes all the usual items like scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and they add some distinctly southern charm with fresh grits, griddle cakes and biscuits & gravy. The omelet bar is also fully stocked. You won’t leave the Carolina Room with an empty stomach, that’s for sure.
Catch up on our trip by reading the Trip Log from Day 1 here.
INSIDER TIP: Since we’re on the topic of food – I highly recommend adding the meal plan when you book your visit to Pinehurst get access to this great breakfast and a full dinner each day. Everything I ordered during my stay was fantastic, and with 6 restaurants to choose from, you really can’t go wrong.
To start the day we had a tee time lined up at The Cradle – A 9-hole short course that’s nestled in a valley behind the main clubhouse where the first holes of the #1 and #3 courses used to be. Designed by Gil Hanse who also recently redesigned the #4 course, The Cradle’s nine holes range from 56 yards up to 127 yards. Most players carry a few wedges and a putter to navigate this little gem. Even though we played it in the morning, the best time to go is after dinner.
Up at the top of the hill between the 3rd and 4th holes and along the walk between 8 and 9 sits a small teardrop trailer bar called The Acorn. It’s a very popular spot in the late afternoon when players come off one of the big courses and want to enjoy a few adult beverages while settling some bets on the short course. The atmosphere is similar to that of a low-key college block party, with music playing, drinks flowing and people navigating the fabulous par three course in various sized groups, attire and states of mind. It’s not uncommon for groups of 5 or 6 to play the course barefoot with a drink in hand. It’s all about unwinding at The Cradle.
We teed off on the No. 4 course just after lunch for a nice walk with our caddie and were fortunate to avoid any bad weather the rest of the afternoon. It had rained quite hard the previous evening, but the course drained very well. Being in the sandhills region of North Carolina has immense benefits for golf, and good irrigation and drainage is just one of them.
Unfortunately I had never played the No. 4 course prior to the renovation by Gil Hanse but from what I saw the accolades Mr. Hanse and Pinehurst Resort received for their work are well deserved. The layout of the No. 4 course caught me off guard, with dramatic elevation changes and water features I was not anticipating. The routing is quite brilliant at saving the player from having to walk up too many steep slopes, even though there are several holes that play very much down hill. The steepest slope is on the monstrous Par-4 5th hole that measures 489 yards from tha back tees. It takes a bomb off the tee to reach the top of the hill, but if you do you’re rewarded by a downslope that can add 20+ yards to your tee shot.
After a grueling test of golf from the back tees on the No. 4 course, I understand why this course (along with the No. 2) was selected as host venue for the 2019 US Amateur Championship.
After 9 at The Cradle and 18 on the No. 4 course, our evening started with a few drinks at The Deuce, which is the restaurant & bar located in the clubhouse right behind the 18th green of the No. 2 course. The patio is a fantastic place to sit in an old rocking chair and watch the late groups coming up the 18th hole. Later in the evening as the alcohol starts to flow more liberally, the folks on the patio are a little less reserved and have a habit of cheering or clapping for good shots, and jeering and booing the poor ones. It’s a great atmosphere, and I look forward to my own walk up the 18th hole, hoping to get cheers from the crowd.
Our final stop for the day was dinner at the famed Pinehurst Brewing Company. It’s not only the best microbrew in the sandhills, but it’s also the best smokehouse. They serve up pulled pork, beef brisket, ribs and chicken smoked on site. I got the sampler to try everything, and it was fantastic. The great thing is, Pinehurst Brewing Company is also included in the meal plans as part of your package.
Day 2 was a full day, and wore us out. Time for a restful sleep to recharge, because tomorrow we take on the legendary No. 2 course!