Location: Southern Pines, N.C.
Course architect: Donald Ross
Restoration: Kyle Franz / 2013
Yardages: Blue — 6,723 | White — 6,163 | Red — 4,913
Ratings: Blue — 126 | White — 122 | Red — 119
Slopes: Blue — 71.0 | White — 68.7 | Red — 68.8
Saturday morning green fee: $$$$$ (Over $200)
Caddie service: Yes
Walker friendly: Yes
Fairways: Ultradwarf Bermudagrass
Greens: Bermudagrass (Overseed rye in winter)
Starter: While there are many Donald Ross gems in the Sandhills, Mid Pines is a favorite because the course remains reminiscent of how Ross used oxen to shape the course back in the 1920s. What may be more compelling is the fact that the restoration by Franz was exactly that — a restoration and not a change to a masterpiece. If Ross were to step on the tee today, then he would see a course close to his original design.
Play because ... : Play for the pure enjoyment. The course is not especially long, does not require forced carries, has few hazards and can be played along the ground or through the air. It's old style golf on a masterpiece created by one of the game's greatest golf course architects. That does not mean that Mid Pines cannot be difficult or frustrating at times. That’s golf, though.
Takeaway: Not often can a course be played with no complaints, but that is the case at Mid Pines. The current restoration has brought the course up to modern standards, while keeping the Ross design intact. The greens, as are to be expected with most Ross designs, are the challenge, so a quality short game is required. The sheer enjoyment of walking through the pines and soaking in the serenity of Mid Pines is worth the trip.
RATINGS [1 to 10 scale, 10 being the highest]
Food | beverage: 8.0
Pro shop: 7.5
Pace of play: 8.0
THE COURSE | Scorecard
Best par 3: No. 2 (Blue, 190 yards | White, 162 yards | Red, 116 yards). The second hole is one of the few holes at Mid Pines with water in play, but any reasonable tee shot should eliminate the threat. Uphill and always requiring an extra club, this is a hole that looks relatively benign, but seems to ruin many a round early. Due to the green's elevation change from back to front, the potential for a three-putt is fully presented.
Best par 4: No. 18 (Blue, 411 yards | White, 392 yards | Red, 319 yards). A truly great finishing hole. The elevated tee allows for a full view of the fairway and the beautiful Inn at Mid Pines in the distance. The tee shot to a fairway that moves from right to left is challenging, but staying right is better than going left into the numerous pine trees that line most of Mid Pines' fairways. The second shot is into an elevated green that, while large, can easily be missed short. If the green is missed, then the chip shot can be extremely difficult depending on the hole location.
Best par 5: No. 6 (Blue, 537 yards | White, 480 yards | Red, 370 yards). This is neither the longest nor the most difficult hole for the first two shots. The third shot requires precision to a green that is guarded by a fronting bunker that receives a golfer's full attention — no matter the approach line. Like most Ross courses, the approach shot is best taken from the right part of the fairway, minimizing the greenside bunker. This hole is not the most difficult par 5, but it is enjoyable because of the thought necessary to be successful.
Rated by: Alex Miceli