Visiting Pinehurst? Make sure to include these 3 iconic holes on your itinerary

You can't go wrong at any of Pinehurst's nine courses, but some holes — like the 13th at Pinehurst No. 4 — are simply iconic.

Sean Zak

If you’re planning a golf trip sometime in the new year and find yourself hemming and hawing about the destination, do yourself a favor and just pick Pinehurst. With a whopping nine golf courses available to play, as well as an ultra-fun short course, putting course, luxe accommodations and a quaint village to explore too, there’s truly something for everyone.

The best part? Playing at Pinehurst offers a golf architecture lesson of sorts, especially if you include courses No. 2 and No. 4 on your itinerary. Pinehurst No. 2 was famously designed by Donald Ross, and the Gil Hanse-re-designed No. 4 is the perfect complement.

Below, check out and inside look at some show-stopping holes you can look forward to on your next trip, and why you’ll find them so special.

Iconic Holes: Pinehurst No. 2, Hole No. 5

Not only is this hole aesthetically beautiful, it’s also a fun strategic challenge. Depending on the tee you elect the play from, the par-5 can be reachable, or a very comfortable three-shotter. The element of risk-reward here is very apparent! The generous landing area off the tee allows you to feel like you can whale away on your drive. Extra-long hitters will then be faced with a tough decision. Lay up, or go for it in two? Those who opt to go for it will need to beware of this intimidating, elevated green complex. Though there’s no trouble directly in front, sand awaits wayward shots to the left and right, which will leave players with a difficult approach to the green. And that goes for anyone with a short iron in his or her hands, too! The fairway also slopes a bit from right to left, further complicating both the second and approach shots.

Once you’re on the green, subtle contours await, so keeping the ball on the right side of the hole location is paramount. The best part? The beautiful, elevated vista you’re treated to after putting out.

Iconic Holes: Pinehurst No. 2, Hole No. 15

The beautiful par-3 15th hole looks pretty straightforward from the tee — mid-length, with bunkers flanking each side — but my oh my, will you get a surprise when you walk up to the green. Actually, you may not even need to approach the green to get an idea of the severity of the green’s slope. The turtleback green will reject any shot that lands short of the false front, so what looks like a good shot from the tee will leave you with a dejected feeling as it rolls backward, away from the hole — and you’re left with a very tricky up-and-down for par.

The green itself is large, and a bit faster than it looks. You’ll feel good about escaping this hole with a par! A word of advice: club up to give yourself the best chance of avoiding the false front.

Iconic Holes: Pinehurst No. 4 Hole No. 13

Pinehurst No. 4 is regarded by many as the resort’s most beautiful, and given the stunning vista that awaits you on the 13th hole, it’s easy to see why. A sparkling lake shapes this dogleg par-5, and adds intrigue to each shot — especially as you approach the green, when it juts across the fairway to force a carry.

There’s really no way to avoid the water — but the hole’s delight is that it’s up to you how much you want to bite off. Long hitters can reach the green in two — but will likely face a lengthy approach with a fairway wood. Going left is death — a watery one for your ball, anyway. Missing right lands you in the sandy scrub. The good news? The run-up to the green is wide open. And once you’re on the green, the slopes are far more benign than what you see on No. 2 — a break that feels much-deserved after the drama of getting there.

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Jessica Marksbury
Golf.com

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.