May 12, 2000
Cape Region golfers who take their golf seriously should make the 8-hour trek to Pinehurst, North Carolina. The old-style resort area, 450 miles south of the Cape Region, will never be confused with the honky tonk of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina or Ocean City, Maryland. On the other hand, golfing at Pinehurst is fantastic.
The Pinehurst Resort and its eight golf courses dominate the area, of course, including the famous No. 2 (800-487-4653). Payne Stewart won the 1999 U.S. Open on the Donald Ross layout. It will host the Open again in 2005. The clubhouse is a veritable museum, and the pro shop and dining facilities are well worth a visit.
We played other Pinehurst area courses and had a great time. The Legacy Golf Course was our first stop, in nearby Aberdeen (800-344-8825). Jack Nicklaus II designed the beautiful yet challenging course, which opened in 1991. Mike Riddle, the club manager and head golf professional, proudly noted that The Legacy will host this year’s USGA Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship, from July 4-9. ESPN will televise the competition, so Cape Region viewers will be able to see the course for themselves.
Riddle said their busy season runs from March 15 to May 15, but also said, “The fall is outstanding. The best month to play is actually September.”
Riddle affirmed that golfers at Pinehurst are “more intense” about their golf than golfers at some other destinations: “For some, it’s almost like they have a 4-day membership at the club.”
Our next stop was Mid Pines Inn & Golf Club, in Southern Pines (800-323-2114). This classic Donald Ross design first opened in 1921. Fast, crowned greens, pine needle rough, and beautiful tree-lined fairways are some of the notable features of this incredible course. Mid Pines gives golfers the full flavor of the original Pinehurst experience.
The only disappointing round occurred at The Carolina, in Pinehurst (888-725-6372). The Arnold Palmer design was in good shape. However, most golfers should not expect to score well the first time around. Course knowledge is critical at many locations, due to blind tee shots, undulating greens, and some surprising changes in elevation. A good yardage book or GPS system on the carts would help tremendously.
We finished our trip at The National Golf Club, a 1988 Jack Nicklaus design close to the center of Pinehurst (800-471-4339). This demanding layout applied several typical Nicklaus architectural principles. On several holes, for example, a high fade was the only option to bring the approach shot close to the pin. Nonetheless, it was an eminently fair test of golf. As with the other courses we visited, The National was also in great playing condition, especially the greens.
Tee times and accommodations are easy to obtain and reasonably priced. We used the services of Tin Cup Golf, a Pinehurst area golf and travel service (888-465-3857). Owners Jeff and Debbie Neubauer set us up with pleasant condos near the center of Pinehurst, and fulfilled their corporate mission as described by Jeff: “We want our guests to be happy.” The charge included cart and greens fees at all courses.
The Pinehurst town center is tiny and quaint, catering to more expensive tastes. It is similar to Second Street and the first block or two of Pilottown Road in Lewes. Avid golfers should stop by at two shops in particular—Burchfields Golf Gallery at One Market Square (800-358-4066), and Old Sport & Gallery in The Harvard Building, also on Market Square (910-295-9775). Both specialize in golf-related art and memorabilia.
The Cape Region is improving as a golf destination, as more public facilities open for play. Pinehurst shows how it’s done right, especially for dedicated golfers.
Jerry Dorneman was not a happy camper on May 8. The Cape Henlopen High School golf coach watched his team lose another match by a single stroke, this time to Caesar Rodney at Wild Quail Country Club. The 165-166 scores showed that neither team played up to their usual standards.
Dorneman said the heavy rough took its toll. Tyler Witman won medalist honors with a 38. J.J. Oakley shot a 42, followed by Josh Marr’s 43 and Mark Johnson’s 44. The Vikings hosted Seaford on May 10, and bounced back a bit with a 160-183 victory at Rehoboth Beach Country Club. Tyler Witman again led all scorers with a 37, followed by Mark Johnson’s 38. Josh Marr’s 42 and Bobby Croce’s 43 completed the Viking scoring on the windy afternoon.
Judy Slacum of Sussex Pines Country Club had a memorable Pink Ribbon Tournament on May 5 at Seaford Country Club, with a hole-in-one on the twelfth hole. Her Sussex Pines team also won the gross score competition, and included Bernie Reid, Sandy Bunting, and Terry Daisey.
The Kings Creek team of Tillie McHugh, Connie Lowe, Patty Marvel, and Christine Davidson won the net competition. Tournament Director Delores Springer reported that this year’s fundraiser for breast cancer assistance raised over $14,400, a new record.