For those who love the game of golf, one bucket-list item is surely a pilgrimage to the “Home of American Golf.”
The Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen area in North Carolina boasts a storied golf legacy unlike any other place in the country. Easy to reach, with major international airports in Raleigh and Charlotte, 60 and 90 miles away, respectively — and a wide variety of hotels, resort-style accommodations and meeting spaces, world-class dining and shopping, outdoor adventures, entertainment and more — the Sandhills region is an ideal location for family vacations, buddy trips, group outings and corporate events.
The quaint village of Pinehurst was founded as a winter health and wellness retreat in 1895. That’s when Bostonian philanthropist James Walker Tufts, bought almost 6,000 acres of land in the Sandhills, envisioning a Mecca for middle-class Americans suffering from respiratory illnesses and other ailments.
Tufts correctly predicted that the area’s sparkling clear water, abundant sunshine and oxygen-producing pine trees were recuperative and restorative for many maladies of the day. That vision became Pinehurst and spawned a focus on health and well-being.
Much of the central village, including the Pinehurst Resort, was designated as a National Historic Landmark District in 1996, owing not only to its landscape design by Frederick Law Olmsted, who fashioned New York’s Central Park, but also owing to its unparalleled golf history.
The iconic Pinehurst Resort, perpetually one of the world’s top golf destinations with its nine renowned, sequentially-numbered golf courses, stands proudly as the town’s centerpiece. National championships, titans of the game, legendary architects and award-winning golf course designs all have their place around Pinehurst
The Village of Pinehurst tees up nearly 40 golf courses within a 15-mile radius. The most storied of these, Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s No. 2 Course, is currently prepping for the 2024 U.S. Open Championship — the fourth U.S. Open and 11th USGA championship contested in the Sandhills. The resort previously hosted the historic back-to-back U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open Championships in 2014, along with U.S. Opens in 2005 and 1999.
More history was made in 2019, when No. 2 and Pinehurst No. 4 —redesigned by architect Gil Hanse — served as the site of the 36-hole match-play final of the 119th U.S. Amateur Championship.
“Pinehurst has elevated itself to one of the great and historic places in golf in this country,” said Thomas J. O’Toole Jr., USGA president. “Some say it’s our St. Andrews. It’s certainly something special.”
There’s something for every golfer around the Village of Pinehurst, even the world’s best. Which is why the United States Golf Association (USGA) will soon unveil “Golf House Pinehurst,” a state-of-the-art facility housing an equipment research and testing center, museum, welcome center and more.
The nine-hole Cradle Short Course, just steps outside the resort, has been an overwhelming smash hit with all golfers, but with the millennial crowd in particular. Golfers can plunk down $50 and play as many holes as they like on the Hanse-designed, par-3 layout. The Cradle is now a “must play” — 789 yards of the most fun you’ll enjoy on a golf course — and The Cradle recently opened a halfway house that has become a social magnet.
There’s a burgeoning, energetic vibe in the Village that has transformed Pinehurst into a popular weekend getaway spot for leisure seekers as well. Breweries, pubs, 19th holes, and farm-to-table restaurants are popping up at every turn. The 121-year-old Carolina Hotel is undergoing a major renovation. A whiskey distillery is in development. Shops are bustling. Inns and hotels are updating and improving.
The Resort recently acquired one of the Village of Pinehurst’s most iconic hotels, The Magnolia Inn, and Villaggio Ristorante & Bar. The Magnolia has served as the gateway to the Village since it opened in 1896, less than a year after Pinehurst was founded.
Off-course activities include horseback riding on 4,000 acres of trails; exploring a fascinating railroad museum; relaxing at luxury spas; walking or e-biking timeless Americana main streets; and experiencing Southern hospitality at its finest.
Wrote golf course architecture expert Joe Passov: “Striding about the town’s dogwood- and azalea-lined paths, past the New England-in-the-Sandhills buildings, and breathing in the scent of longleaf pines on a breezy spring evening will cure whatever’s ailing you.”
The Village of Pinehurst and its surrounding area is rich in history, full of vibrancy — and awaits your next adventure. Start planning your bucket list trip today.