What’s the most underrated/best value course in the Pinehurst area?

The 14th hole at Mid Pines

The 14th hole at Mid Pines in Southern Pines, N.C.

Courtesy Photo

GOLF’s Top 100 course panelists are among the most respected and well-traveled course evaluators in the game. They’re also keen to share their opinions. In this GOLF.com series, we’ll unlock their unvarnished views on all questions course-related. Check out GOLF’s latest Top 100 Courses in the U.S.Top 100 Courses in the WorldTop 100 Courses You Can PlayBest Municipal Courses in the U.S., and 100 Best Short Courses.

What’s the most underrated/best value course in the Pinehurst, N.C., area?

Will Davenport, panelist since 2020: My top area courses are Mid Pines and Pine Needles. They are very different (Mid Pines is shorter and has more quirk, while Pine Needles has a bit more bite), but they are both a joy to play.

Paul Rudovsky, panelist since 2015: Agreed. And to that I would add another great Ross design, Southern Pines, the least expensive of the three. I would also cite Tobacco Road (about 30 minutes away), a brilliant Mike Strantz design that demands clear thinking and terrific risk/reward decisions and execution.

the third hole at pinehurst no. 2
What exactly makes the greens at Pinehurst No. 2 so menacing?
By: GOLF’s Course Ratings Panel

Pete Phipps, panelist since 2021: The traditional answer has been Pine Needles and Mid Pines, but, seconding Paul, Southern Pines is now a must-play in Moore County as well. The property still needs some time to truly realize its potential after a first-rate 2021 renovation by Kyle Franz. But it is very much worth playing as is. Donald Ross designed Pinehurst No. 2 in 1905 and Southern Pines in 1906, so you’re getting a similarly wonderful Ross experience for a fraction of the cost! And while it’s no longer open to the public but instead part of a national membership, Dormie Club still needs to be recognized as one of the better courses in the area. When you give Coore and Crenshaw a blank slate just five miles from where they had recently restored Pinehurst No. 2, from a design perspective you’re playing with house money. Opened for play in 2010, the course has a lot of movement throughout, along with three natural lakes coming into play, offering a slightly different feel from No. 2 (which has no water). Many of us miss the days of paying our greens fees in a trailer and heading out onto this hidden gem, but that all seemed too good to be true, which was proven to be the case when Dormie Club was purchased and turned fully private in 2020.

Thomas Brown, Panelist since 2015: Woodlake Country Club, a 20-minute drive east of Pinehurst, has an Ellis Maples design that was recently restored by architect Kris Spence. Though it’s a private club, it has made special availability to the public during the U.S. Open.

What’s the (other) best course at Pinehurst Resort, and why?

Rudovsky: I played No. 10 about three weeks ago. It’s a superb design on a great piece of land. In my opinion, it’s the second-best by far. Nothing else comes close.

Davenport: Nos. 10 and 4 are the heavy hitters, but a quick nod to No. 5. It’s much shorter and friendlier than its siblings, but it more than holds its own in character and charm. It is a must-play if you have more than a couple of days and is the perfect afternoon bonus round.

Brown: Easy. Let’s spend the rest of the afternoon on The Cradle, the resort’s highly entertaining short course. Wait, cancel that. The Cradle is being used as the driving range this week.

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