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Just down Midland Road from the village, in Southern Pines, are two other Ross gems (right across the street from each other) that you should definitely consider. Of all the seven courses The Donald did in the Sand Hills area, Mid Pines CC is the only one with the holes in the same place they were when it opened in 1921. A bit on the short side at 6,515 yards, Mid Pines makes up for this lack of length with tight, tree-lined fairways and a set of very tricky putting surfaces. Pine Needles Lodge & CC, a short cart ride away, opened in 1927 and has since been the site of four USGA championships, including the U.S. Women's Open in 1996 and 2001. In 2004 - in preparation for the return of the Women's Open in 2007 - Pine Needles was completely restored to Ross's original design and lengthened to over 7,000 yards from the championship tees. Believe it, guys: Pine Needles is no ladies layout. Other fine courses in the Southern Pines area include The Club at Longleaf (Dan Maples, 1998), Hyland Hills (Tom Jackson, 1973), and Talamore (Rees Jones, 1991). The very pretty and enjoyable Talamore, by the way, offers unique caddies: llamas. Sorry, but you'll have to read the putts yourself.
Fans of Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses will find two in the area: the 7,122-yard National Golf Club in Pinehurst, and the 7,018-yard Legacy Golf Links in nearby Aberdeen. The Golden Bear did the former; his son Jack II designed the latter. Also in Aberdeen is The Pit Golf Links, a very challenging layout that only allows certain golfers to play it from the tips. In fact, you have to be at least a 5 handicap - and be able to prove it - to take on The Pit from the point-of-no-return tees. Bring it, Bubba. The course record is 68.
Other excellent choices around Pinehurst include The Carolina, an Arnold Palmer design that opened in 1997 (in Whispering Pines); Little River Club, a 1996 Dan Maples creation (Carthage); and Beacon Ridge and Seven Lakes in the West End area. Beacon Ridge is a 1988 design by veteran architect Gene Hamm, Seven Lakes - interestingly - is the 1978 work of Peter Tufts, the great grandson of the founder of Pinehurst Resort. For golf that's quite untraditional-looking but definitely memorable, head up the road to the Mike Stranz-designed Tobacco Road Golf Club in Sanford. You can take this to the bank: Tobacco Road is unlike any golf course you have seen anywhere - not even in Scotland and Ireland. You may love it, you may not - but for sure you won't forget it.
Actually, "unforgettable" is the perfect way to describe any trip to Pinehurst - whether it's your first or your latest. The wonderful weather, beautiful Sand Hills scenery, great golf, and the charming village combine to steal your heart away the moment you arrive. The centerpiece of it all, perhaps, is Pinehurst Resort - which includes The Carolina and Holly hotels and all they have to offer to visitors and guests. But there's a ton to see and do in town as well. For lovers of golf history, a visit to the Tufts Archives is almost mandatory. The numerous displays of Ross and Pinehurst memorabilia here (including the architect's original course drawings) are as interesting as they are old and quite enlightening. Memorable for different reasons are the area's shops, pubs and restaurants. Many are within walking distance within the village, and "musts" include Tom Stewart's "Old Sport Gallery," Dugan's Pub, and The Pine Crest Inn. The Pine Crest, by the way (once owned by Ross), features one of the best pork chops you'll ever eat and one of the best "golf bars" you'll ever experience.
So look. If you're one of those "sick" people who just can't get enough of golf (or great times), there's somewhere you should go to get well. It's the Home of American Golf.