Location: Pinehurst, N.C.
Course architect: Gil Hanse
Redesigns | Renovations: Donald Ross (1919, original 18 holes), Robert Trent Jones (1973), Rees Jones (1982), Tom Fazio (1999).
Tee — Yardage | Rating / Slope:
Orange — 7,227 | 74.9 / 138
Blue — 6,961 | 73.7 / 135
White — 6,428 | 70.8 / 131
Green — 5,864 | 68.5 / 123
Red — 5,260 | 65.4 / 116
White — 6,428 | 76.9 / 140
Green — 5,864 | 73.8 / 133
Red — 5,260 | 70.1 / 124
Saturday morning green fee: $$$$ [Over $200]
Caddie service: Yes
Walker friendly: Yes
Fairways: Tifway 419
Greens: Champion Bermuda
Starter: It’s always big news when something new is created on the links at historic Pinehurst Resort. Less than a decade after Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw tackled a renovation of historic Pinehurst No. 2, the latest, greatest and hottest golf course architect on the planet – Gil Hanse – is in the spotlight with his bold and dramatic unveiling of a piece of property that has seen the likes of Donald Ross, Robert Trent Jones, Rees Jones and Tom Fazio massage this sandy soil since 1919.
“We conceptually liked the sandy wire grass carries that are right on grade at No. 2, but we decided with the scale of the property at No. 4 we wanted to create more formalized sand shapes off the tee to set the tone right in the foreground for the hole itself to follow. It was a good way to offset the scale of the fairways, which are pretty wide and fit the overall property. Part of it is a bit of an ode to Pine Valley.”
Play because ...: The new No. 4 is really like no other layout among the more than three dozen courses scattered across Moore County, combining up-and-down movements, ragged waste areas, a large lake, sizeable green complexes and the golden touch of Hanse. “As he did with The Cradle short course, Gil far exceeded my expectations as to what could have been done on that ground, the creativity, the way to visualize what’s not there,” said Pinehurst Resort president Tom Pashley. “People ask me how involved was Pinehurst in giving feedback on No. 4? Well, I could never in my wildest dreams envisioned what Gil has done with No. 4. We left it all up to one of the best in the business … and it’s just remarkable.”
Takeaway: The resort brass over the years has been quietly pushing for a potential rivalry course to iconic Pinehurst No. 2 that would stir debate among guests and members as to which layout they would prefer if given a “one and done” opportunity to tee it up in the Sandhills. Years ago, it appeared that course would be No. 8, The Centennial Course, designed by Tom Fazio. But while some do favor No. 8 because of its diverse topography, the layout is off site and away from the core of the resort’s initial five courses – and the rivalry never really materialized. Now, No. 4 takes over that mantle, with several of its holes sharing the same corridor with No. 2.
RATINGS [1 to 10 scale, 10 being the highest]
Food | Beverage: 9.0
Pro Shop: 9.0
Course Difficulty: 10.0
Pace of Play: 9.0
THE COURSE | Scorecard
Best par 3: No. 6 [217 | 200 | 184 | 159 | 132 yards]
If the distance of this hole doesn’t trip you up, a series of cascading waste areas with a major falloff to the right side of the perched up green will.
Best par 4: No. 5 [489 | 481 | 460 | 355 | 341 yards]
Golfers must regain focus after taking in a spectacular view of a massive waste bunker along with a large lake to the right of this hole. A strong drive is required to fly the fairway hill and not be left with a long-iron shot from a downhill lie.
Best par 5: No. 9 [527 | 517 | 484 | 464 | 436 yards]
This hole looks so much longer because of a diagonal waste area that runs the entire width of the fairway and measures around 100 yards in length. “You have to either lay up or man up on the second shot here,” said Bob Farren, longtime Pinehurst Resort director of golf course maintenance and grounds. Added Hanse: “We tried to build features at No. 4 that would match the property’s scale or enhanced that scale, so you are going to see larger sand hazards, such as the Hell’s Half Acre that crosses the ninth hole. That feature gets people’s attention for sure."
Rater: David Droschak