|The wonderful one-shot 9th.|
I was fortunate to play Pinehurst No. 2 last fall (in fact it was the last game I played in 2013) thanks to a friend I'de met only a few days previous who arranged the day before to have us go first off the tee at 6:45 in the morning. It was a special round, and having caddies to help guide us around was a welcome experience. For a major championship venue, I found the course eminently playable (I shot 80, albeit the greens speeds were manageable, we played suitable tees for our calibre and the fairways weren't lined with spectators), with the greens and surrounds providing the greatest defence against scratch golfers. Pinehurst No. 2 is the type of course that good golfers can pile up bogies even on a good day, a test and result that is much more enjoyable than one that yields the potential for round ending holes at every turn. It is also a course that allows higher handicaps to swing freely, never lose a ball and play around the hazards due to the increased width. In combination with firm and fast and even a hint of brown turf conditions, a model for faster golf (a remedy the sport is in desperate need of). I sincerely hope that the public perception of the restored Pinehurst No. 2 will be positive as I feel it is a model for sustainable golf, and is a healthy change to what has been in vogue for the past few decades.
The focus of this post will be to highlight some of the positive features of Pinehurst No. 2 rather than be an exhaustive description of the strategic merits of this Donald Ross masterpiece.
Pinehurst No. 2 is routed over a landscape replete with lots of smaller undulations, and by replacing the irrigated rough with native waste areas, Coore & Crenshaw have added lots of contrast to the overall landscape making the golf course much more visually appealing.
|No. 11 (scene of my only birdie, note approach just left of hole)|
|My recovery shot from pin high left at No. 2 ended up falling off the front of the green after a less than crisp chip. The next stroke was a putt for fear of piling up a big number and facing the same shot again.|
|Over the back of No. 8 green, scene of the famous John Daly "hitting a ball in motion" meltdown.|
|The fairway at No. 12 provides plenty of width to give advantage to players who can play accurately from the tee to gain a better angle of approach.|
|No. 18 is wide for players not trying to carry the fairway bunker, but narrows considerably and is set at a diagonal to the line of play to confound the highly skilled golfers who elect to take on the challenge.|