Pinehurst in a state of slow recovery
April 23, 2010
This year’s spring golf trip with Kevin Conlon and his three brothers marked my twentieth milestone in the annual event. I’d like to say that my golf game has improved markedly over that period, but that would be pressing the issue.
Nonetheless, we all had a very good time revisiting familiar courses, even if our golfing skills were at times a bit spotty.
Our first round took place at Seven Lakes Country Club, a short drive north of Pinehurst, North Carolina (888-475-2537). With a slope rating of 131 from the white tees, this course presented a challenging start to our holiday. A par on the first hole turned out to my only one of the day. However, a birdie putt from off the fringe on the 179-yard par 3 16th hole helped salve the self-inflicted wounds of several double bogeys.
Gene Roberts, the head golf pro at Seven Lakes, said that Pinehurst golf courses struggled in the recent recession, with a few clubs closing and others being resold for what he said were bargain-basement prices. He felt the area’s primary tourist attractions were beginning to come back, however, as spring bookings are trending up.
We played the next day at Legacy Golf, in nearby Aberdeen, NC (800-344-8825), a Conlon brothers’ favorite. The hilly course also includes several water hazards off the tee and near the greens. Some of the views are far prettier than the scoring results of such challenges.
The third round was at Talamore Golf Resort, a course we played in 1995 in our first visit to Pinehurst (800-552-6292). My only highlight of the day was a bunker splash out for a birdie, accompanied by several lowlights.
Nick DelCampo showed some of his competitive spirit on the par-3 thirteenth hole. With longest putt of the day money at stake, the Kings Creek CC member said he was bringing the tape measure with him as we left our golf cart. He made all 34 feet, 4 inches of it.
Our fourth round was at the Jack Nicklaus-designed National Golf Club, in Pinehurst (800-471-4339). This is a very pretty course, but as with some other Nicklaus designs from the late 80s and early 90s it did not suit either my game or most of the rest of our gang. When the folks who wrote at the club’s website that there are “undulating greens,” they were being far too modest. The fact that most of us only played a few rounds in 2010 before facing this test also played a part in the debacle.
Our final day lightened the mood considerably, thanks to the decision to play a scramble format at Tobacco Road Golf Club, in nearby Sanford, NC (877-284-3762). Our foursome benefited significantly from Kevin Conlon’s putting prowess. We also agreed that if we each played our own ball on this Mike Strantz design, we’d have been far less happy with the outlandish layout.
Taylor shoots first hole-in-one
Congratulations to Duane Taylor on his April 15 hole-in-one on the seventeenth hole at Marsh Island Golf Course. The 68-year-old Cape Region resident felt conditions were a bit windy, so he used his Taylormade Fairway Hybrid 3 wood for his attempt on the uphill 159-yard hole.
In a recent note, Taylor said, “I played the hole to be about 175 yards. It hit the green and just kept rolling and went in the hole.”
This was Taylor’s first ace, but he knew the protocol for its celebration.
He treated his playing partners to a post-round lunch at the Pelican Grille at Marsh Island. The lucky witnesses were Bob Blomquist, Terry Prindle, and George Oates.