Yes, Pinehurst No. 2 is worth the money
While covering the 2005 U.S. Open for Travel Golf Magazine, I kept an open mind all week as the world debate raged on whether $375 is too much for a round of golf at Pinehurst No. 2, or whether $240 is too much for Nos. 4, 7, and 8. I listened to the good points raised on either side - and there are plenty to go around. Even I struggled with the analysis. It's a tough and close debate.
The natural setting is not Pebble. Or Bandon Dunes. Or Whistling Straits. Or even
It’s not the course design either. The design is so subtle that the nuances escape most golfers. A.W. Tillinghast wrote of his classic Winged Foot, “The holes are like men, all rather similar from foot to neck, but with the greens showing the same varying characters as human faces.” The same is true of Pinehurst. Pinehurst’s greatest weapon is its benign nature tee to green as well as its intricate green complexes. The wide fairways, devoid of stunning vistas lull the player to sleep when he should be on high alert. One mistake approaching the devilish greens and the ball is in a place where the player cannot get close to the hole to save par. No less a personage than preeminent architect Tom Doak called No. 2’s green complexes “the best in
It's not the price either. $375 is half a month's rent, a luxury car payment, two dinners for two at the glitziest NYC restaurant, tickets for four to a Broadway show, or tickets for a family of six to a major league baseball game (or tix form two to a three game series). Only
It's not Donald Ross either. Ross is a seminal designer. But I don't drink the Donald Ross Kool-aid and genuflect on command. I study golf course architecture as a science not a religion. Pinehurst No. 2 may not even be Ross’ best work – Oakland Hills is a much more interesting track tee to green for its more varied design features and for the more sane and reasonable green complexes. (I know the Donald Ross Society will want to grill me alive for saying that. I’ll take a medallion of my loin medium rare, please.)
But there is a reason why Pinehurst is the St. Andrew's of
If you love Pinehurst, Pinehurst will love you back. Many who do this, soon have a bumper sticker on their car that reads "PINEHURST - I wasn't born here, but I moved here as fast as I could."