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A friend and I just spent the past weekend in Pinehurst for our annual end of season southern golf trip. This was our first year visiting Pinehurst, and it definitely will not be our last. Round 1 - Talamore We arrived Thursday morning and were able to check into our hotel early and relaxed a bit before our 12:30 tee time at Talamore. The Pinehurst area had received 4.5 inches of rain from Sunday through Thursday, so we were unsure how the courses would be. We were pleasantly surprised. Talamore was cart path only, but that was fine and didn't detract from the experience at all. The weather during the round was cold, only about 45 degrees, and a light mist/rain fell for most of the front 9, which actually added to the ambiance of the experience. There are numerous write ups on here about the course from the Newport Cup so I'll keep mine brief, but man, we were blown away at the course. Even with all the rain they received, the greens were the best I had ever putted on. The fairways were generous, and definitely a great mix of holes that included a couple short par 4s that I'd love to play again when the ball is rolling to see how close I could get to the greens. I shot a 79 which I was pleased with for the first round and less than ideal conditions. After the round we went to Southern Pines Brewing which is a small, local brewery that did have some good beers. The Duck Hook Cream Ale and the Pineapple Thief IPA were delicious. Round 2 - Dormie Club We had an 11:09 tee time Friday at Dormie Club, and due to the rain, the course was walking only, because the cart paths were sand and were actually in worse shape than the course was. The weather Friday was perfect. Mid 50s and sunny. Dormie was a pretty tough walk, some of the holes are a decent distance apart from each other and some decent elevation changes as well. Yet again the greens were immaculate and the course was excellent. Both my friend and I ranked Talamore slightly ahead of Dormie club, partly because neither of us are a fan of blind shots, and Dormie had a few more than Talamore did, but we would definitely play it again and they are both in my top 5 favorite I've ever played. I played a very solid round at Dormie club, shooting a 77 and hitting 71% of the fairways off the tee, and I took advantage of the par 5s, playing the three par 5s in 2 under par. After this round we met up with @DaveP043 and his wife at a local bar where we chatted for a little bit, and it was great to meet them and put a face to the name. Dave was very helpful when I was planning this trip, figuring out which courses to play and where to eat while down there. We went to the highly recommended pizza place, Etalia, and it did not disappoint. The food was very good. Here are pictures of the 1st and 3rd holes from the tee boxes, and the pizza from Etalia Round 3 - Mid South Mid South was our final round of the trip, and overall the course and the facilities were superb. The weather was perfect again, low 60s and sunny, no wind. Yet again the greens were perfect, these were the fastest ones out of the three courses we played, and there were so many subtle breaks that were tough to read which gave me fits with the putter. I hit some approach shots close and had some close looks at birdie/par saves, but I missed 9 putts inside of 12 feet and lost focus towards the end of the round which lead to a couple blow up holes en route to an 83 As I mentioned in the GameGolf thread, my shot of the trip came on the 12th at Mid South: I drove the ball 5-10 feet into the right pine straw, but was blocked out from most of the green by some trees, had like 170 to the middle of the green. I chose 7 iron and a straight shot from where I was aimed would have put me between the greenside bunkers on the apron of the green. I opened my stance and tried to feel like I was swinging out to in for a cut, and the ball started dead straight then had a really nice 10-15 yd cut to the middle of the green and stopped 8 feet from the pin. Missed the putt of course. Really happy with my execution of the shot, it's not that often I purposefully add curve to shots, and to pull it off gave me a lot of confidence. Mid South definitely required a bit more strategy/thinking which club to hit off the tee on some holes, which isn't a bad thing, I was just in the mindset of hitting driver at all times and it did hurt me in a few instances, but that is more of a reflection of me as player and not the course itself. Overall, I would play all three of these courses again in a hearbeat. They were all slightly different, I'd say Talamore was probably the easiest of the 3 courses, Dormie Club was the most remote/scenic, and Mid South was the nicest overall in terms of greens, practice facilities, staff, etc. Even had a course ranger come out to us on the 17th tee at Mid South and apologize to us for the slowness of the groups in front of us, we ended up having a 4.5 hour round according to the on cart GPS unit/timer. We had a great time overall and definitely will be back. I hope this helps anyone who is thinking about visiting the area!
Originally posted on GCA… Most of the topics here about the Dormie Club seem to be old (except the one I just bumped) or deal with holes 14/15 only (like the one I just bumped). So I thought it'd be okay to start a NEW topic about the course. I played it the Sunday after the Newport Cup (a Ryder Cup-style event), so, October 22. We had the first tee time of the day (7:50) and the shop duo were actually kinda late to show up, so we hung out at the front gate until about 7:40. I didn't mind - we weren't planning to spend an hour warming up anyway. 🙂 Of the holes there, I really thought 14 stood out, along with 4, 8, 10, 16, and 17. I would rank 3 and 12 as the holes I liked the least. Three seemed like a layup short of the waste area to the right 210 yards or so (it's only 20 yards left of the sand, and 270 or so to carry it), and 12, not being able to see the green contours makes the hole bit goofy the first time you play it. It's undoubtedly a better hole the third or fourth time around, but two of the guys with whom I played had their balls hang up in the fringe above the hole, and could barely get the ball to stop 15 feet below the hole. I'm good with some "local knowledge" but this felt a bit much. This was my first Coore & Crenshaw course, and so I'm not going to rank it or anything like that. Among the courses I like that I've played, I have Oakmont, the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, Camargo Club, The Old Course, Caledonia, and North Berwick. I'm nowhere near as traveled as many here, but I've done okay for myself in the time I've had to play golf instead of teaching it.🙂 I like courses that make you think from time to time, courses that give you a choice, and occasionally say "okay, here's the shot, let's see if you can hit it." Except for having a few too many right-to-left holes I felt the Dormie Club did this beautifully. When I realized we'd be playing from about 6700 yards, my host said "yeah, there are a few 480-yard par fours here" I scoffed, thinking he was over-stating it because he's kind of short off the tee. But, there were a few of them, no doubt, and a few short ones to make up for the yardage eaten by the beasts. In particular, I loved the swooping draw second shot I had to play to the 8th hole. I loved the tenth, too, which just dared you to let the shaft out (with a little control on the second shot). I liked the blind shots (my second shot on six, the 11th IIRC I played too far to the left away from the sand, so I couldn't see the flagstick) for the most part, except maybe the 12th (and that's only "blah" the first time around). I liked, of course, the way the course sat upon the land. The conditioning was great. The bunkers (no rakes) felt natural. I apologize if I sound like a newb saying that. I am. 🙂 I loved the greens. I grew up playing some greens built in the 1950s, with a lot of contour, so I've come to appreciate putting on good greens. I appreciated using the contours of the greens - and the run-up areas in front of them - to help get the ball to the hole in ways that are unlike a lot of aerial U.S. golf. (One of my favorite shots ever was a 6I I hit to The Road Hole that flew about 90 yards and bounced and rolled the other 90.) I liked that the fairways were wide, but there were clearly better sides to play from (I just wish so many of them weren't from the left). I enjoyed everything about the day. The clubhouse was perfect. The weather was perfect. We played in about 3:30 (despite two players in our group, well, they looked for a lot of balls, let's put it that way). I posted in the other topic about the 14th and 15th, so I'm hoping we can talk about some of the other holes in this topic. Some photos (and a little bit of commentary): Waiting outside the club at 7:15 or so in the morning. The view out the large windows of the small eating area of the finishing hole, a par four. The second hole, one of many right-to-left holes. The "meh" third. It's pretty to look at, but it felt like a somewhat boring hole to play. Bunt it out there, hit a wedge to the proper section of the green (lots of motion on this green). The "first and a half" shot to the sixth. I didn't know how much this hole narrowed, and my ball bounded into the small bunker left. Fortunately I was able to chip out onto the green from there. A good hole, which requires a very good second shot. Not many par fives are "second shot holes" but I feel this one is - how much (with a 3W or hybrid) do you really want to push toward the green? The bunker guarding the inside of the turn on the 8th hole. I hit an "okay" drive, but had 205 yards or so to the pin toward the back of a very deep green. I hit about a 50-yard draw to the left fringe, pin-high. One of the cooler shots I have played in awhile, and I like that Coore and Crenshaw asked me to hit it. The second shot on the loooooong 10th. I liked this hole a lot - it gives you a chance to let the shaft out, and is a true three-shot par five, where most players will still not even have a wedge in for their third. I thought the landing area for the second shot was a bit generous - I had no problems hitting a 3W over/left of the "nose" bunker out there. The 12th. I'd have loved to see a bit more of the green contours here… though now that I have played it once, at least I'd know on return trips how severe the back-to-front slope is. 14 from the tee. 60 yards wide, and 300 yards or so gently uphill. The ideal spot is a few yards ahead of where I was standing in this photo. I over-drew my tee shot but had a perfectly decent shot from left of 14. I'm convinced the play here is to get the ball as close as you can. There are strokes to be saved, and laying up is a wimp's play on this hole.🙂 My group had a long conversation about this hole, and everyone hit a different club. The tee shot on the 15th. I played at the left-hand bunker with a slight cut. And I was rewarded with a look at most of the green from only 80 yards out. I used the slope left to funnel the ball down onto the green for about a 12-foot birdie putt (it lipped out). The second shot to the 500-yard par-five 17th plays about 50 yards uphill. I had 216 yards or so to the flag… …and I hit a pretty good shot from there. (The eagle putt stayed a bit more right than I'd read. Bummer, a tap-in birdie.) The clubhouse/pro shop/grill room as seen near the back of the 18th green. All you need. Perfect.