Pinehurst is a major magnet for golf lovers, and its allure doesn’t diminish when the days shorten. Average June through September average high temperatures are 86, 89, 87 and 82, respectively. And when you’re out on the links, October-February average highs (72, 63, 53, 50 and 54, respectively) are a guarantee you won’t melt.
There’s the Village of Pinehurst (www.vopnc.org) and there’s Pinehurst Resort (www.pinehurst.com). The latter came first and is far and away the draw. The resort’s first course debuted in the 1890s, and quickly became a site for championship play. PGA championships were first held there. Since it opened in 1907, Pinehurst No. 2, designed by Donald Rice, has been one of the most famed in the nation.
PGA championships were first held at Pinehurst in 1936.
A couple years ago in the Observer’s Travel section, the paper’s veteran golf writer, Ron Green Jr., was asked to explain Pinehurst No. 2’s allure: “It’s considered a masterpiece of golf design. ... The experience of playing No. 2 with a caddie, the spectacular greens and the memories of all the greats who have played there make it a blast. You’ll see why the 2014 men’s and women’s U.S. Opens will be played there.”
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Green also praised the No. 4 links: “When Tom Fazio redid No. 4 a few years ago, the result was another premium layout at the resort. The terrific routing and the green complex are both reminiscent of their more famous cousins next door at Pinehurst No. 2.”
The resort now has eight courses and a new putting green, a trio of hotels (The Carolina, The Holly Inn and The Manor), a spa awarded four-star status by Forbes Travel Guide, tennis, croquet, kayaking on the resort’s own lake, programs for kid, and more.
There’s a legion of golf courses in the general area. Noteworthy to Green was Pine Needles, in nearby Southern Pines: “It gets everything right. If the idea of playing golf is to have fun, Pine Needles does that as well as any place. A Donald Ross design and overseen by the great Peggy Kirk Bell, Pine Needles is a treat for golfers of all skill levels.”
Pinehurst Resort hotels are popular package destinations for the holidays. Thanksgiving week includes a performance by the Carolina Philharmonic, a T-Day buffet and family activities. December brings historic walking tours. New Year’s Eve, there’s a 6 p.m.-1 a.m. program for ages 6-12.
Off-resort and in the village, the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be 5 p.m. Dec. 6. It includes strolling carolers, entertainment and holiday shopping.