A quick walk around the Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, and you’re immediately struck by the old school charm.
The quaint clubhouse and lodge give a nod to the golden age, while the horse-stable themed driving range bays add a distinct look to the practice tee.
The recently renovated golf course features those signature Donald Ross style crowned greens, although large surface areas make for a friendlier experience than some of his other course designs.
There’s a nice variety of holes throughout, with combinations such as reachable par 5s followed by daunting par 4s, short-and-long par 3s, and holes demanding you work it both ways.
The finishing holes are some of my favorites, with the 17th requiring two of your best to reach the 460-yard hard dogleg left in two, and the 18th providing a beautiful downhill approach to the final green.
During your visit to Pine Needles, there are two other things you must do.
1. Check-out “The Loop”
It’s a 4-hole short course on-property that’s perfect for a pre-round warmup or post-round betting with the boys. The 4-holes measure 160-, 105-, 265-, and 135-yards, respectively and it takes less than an hour to play.
Greens are small, but roll very similar to those on the Pine Needles course. It’s definitely a fun way to spend some more time with the sticks in hand.
2. Play Mid Pines
Mid Pines is a sister course located directly across the street from Pine Needles. It’s another Ross gem that I’d argue may be even better than Pine Needles.
Tighter fairways and smaller more undulating greens mean strategy and precision are favored over distance. And, the routing is particularly good, with beautiful views of surrounding holes seen from many points throughout the course.
Playing this course in the late-afternoon leaves an amazing on-course experience as the sun sets during your final few holes.
If you’re considering a trip to the Pinehurst area, I’d absolutely recommend adding Pine Needles – and Mid Pines – to your tee sheet. You’ll love this authentic Donald Ross golf experience.