Why Pinehurst is Special to me.
One of my greatest pleasures in golf is walking Pinehurst No. 2 with my light bag on a Sunday afternoon in the spring. Pinehurst is a very special place to play golf with so many great courses in the area, but none are more historic and legendary this Donald Ross masterpiece.
My father told me as a young man just learning the game that the simplicity of each hole can be deceiving. There are no extraordinary distances to carry, water hazards to contend with, artificially elevated greens to reach, or railroad ties to avoid. The course seems like it was carved from the North Carolina Sandhills landscape by nature. There are no a straight lines on the course. Just like in nature, each fairway has subtle curve.
The round begins with a short walk to the famed club house, thru a long corridor of display cases of old photographs and coveted trophies, past life sized bronze statues of men that have made Pinehurst what it is and out to the rap-around veranda of worn red brick. The first tee is just steps away. You check in at the starters shack just like countless courses around the county, except you are about to tee it up where all of golf’s legends have played. In Pinehurst you get a sense that you are part of a living tradition.
All thoughts clear from your mind when you see the wide, gently sloping fairway in front of you from the first tee. No hazards to avoid, no water to navigate around. Just the single minded pursuit of planning your shots one at a time with natural peace and tranquility all around you. Dogwoods, azaleas, holly, pine straw, of course longleaf pines can be seen from every view. There is something about golf in Pinehurst that frees the mind.
The course allows golfers to “play with your eyes” because of all the rich visual cues. No blind shots on this course. Aim your approach shot for the tall pine behind the green. See the shot reach its apex and land on the putting surface.The dogwood tree on the left side of the fairway on 1, the right tip of the fairway bunker from the tee on 4, Payne's statute from 18th tee. Feel your tee shot go to the target in the fairway.
Pinehurst is my home now after living in New England for all my adult life. I remember when I told my father that I was relocating. He immediately made plans to visit and play No. 2. Sadly he never lived to see that day. My father gave me great amounts of confidence that I could achieve anything that I tried. Now I think of him as I walk the fairways on the course he told me about, and that that we never saw together. Not a round of golf passes after looking at the Carolina sky blue, the stands of majestic long leaf pine and the expanse of green grass I say quietly to myself- “Thank you Dad for everything you have given me."