Category: Pinehurst

March 26, 2010

Ask Travelin' Joe: Cabo San Lucas, Pinehurst and Tucson

Posted at 10:28 AM by Joe Passov

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Hi Joe,
Do you know of any decent quality courses in Cabo at an affordable rate?

Jeff Gilman
Via email

I get asked this question as much as any in my mailbag and every couple of years, I respond the same way: Sorry, the answer is no. They just don't exist. As superb a golf destination as Los Cabos is, its glaring weakness is that it lacks mid-priced and bargain/entry-level courses where one can sample the game without taking out a second mortgage.

I always start with the course formerly known as the San Jose del Cabo Municipal, which is now on its fourth name. It's a nine-holer that's presently called Punta Sur and it's usually under $100 for 18 holes, but I can't recommend it. It's barely 3,000 yards from the tips, it affords just one view of the Sea of Cortez — and that's right from the first tee — and it's practically suffocated by condos.

Better you should spend the extra pesos and play Puerto Los Cabos ($110-$195; 877-795-8727, where the afternoon rate in high season is $140. Intended to be 36 holes, it's 18 for now, with the front nine by Greg Norman and the back nine by Jack Nicklaus. With its rolling desert setting, a fistful of holes that edge of the Sea of Cortez and a couple of the most stunning par-3s in Mexico, Puerto Los Cabos is currently the region's best value.

Hello Joe,
I'm planning a golf trip for 10-20 players in mid-April. We're from Florida and want a location including at least one "famous" course. The best option so far is Pinehurst, but I'm concerned about the weather. TPC Sawgrass Stadium is closed and Harbour Town is being played the same weekend. What do you think?

Roy Katzin
Via email

You'll have a great buddies trip to Pinehurst in mid-April. I've done the same dates four times, never been rained on, mostly played in shirtsleeves and basked in the "Springtime in the South" aura that pervades, thanks to the profusion of dogwoods in bloom. The average daytime high for the dates you're thinking of is 72 degrees.

Make no mistake, there are plenty of quality options in and around the Pinehurst area, but if you're gunning for that special trophy course, such as Pinehurst No. 2, you'd best stay at the Pinehurst Resort (800-487-4653, Several lodging and package choices awaits, but one that might be a good fit for your group is the Buddy Trip of a Lifetime Package.

Included is three days/two nights, Villa accommodations (four guest rooms connected to a central gathering parlor), wet bar stocked with beverages of your choice, plus snacks, for your stay, unlimited golf, a round on No. 2 with single caddies who wear your name on their bib, breakfast and dinner daily, plus gifts, spa access, photos, tips from a Pinehurst pro and more.

OK, it comes with a cost: $2,300 per person based on double occupancy. But this is pretty close to the ultimate in pampering, camaraderie and a special day on No. 2.

Dear Joe,
Four of us from Denver did 36 a day for three days last March at We-Ko-Pa courses and Eagle Mountain. Back to that area again, or should we give Tucson a try? I read your reviews about the Phoenix area but I'm wondering which courses you like in Tucson?

Jeff Lindquist
Denver, Colorado

Travelin' Joe is partial to Phoenix, Scottsdale and the Valley of the Sun — after all, I live here — but variety is the spice of golf, so by all means give Tucson at least one go-round. If you're into courses such as those you've listed above, then we're talking high-end, very scenic tracks, of which Tucson has plenty.

The hot course in town these days is the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain ($105-$195; 520-572-3500,, the Jack Nicklaus-designed 27-holer that hosts the WGC-Accenture Match Play. Lush desert flora frames every fairway and the mountain vistas are superb. Bring your sand game and a putting touch, because the bunkers are huge and deep and the greens, even after a Nicklaus renovation right after the 2009 event, remain vexing to even the game's best.

Personal favorites include both the Mountain and Canyon courses at Ventana Canyon ($100-$175, 520-577-1400, a pair of mid-1980s Tom Fazio gems and La Paloma Country Club's ($85-$205; 520-742-6000, three nines, though you've got to stay at the adjacent Westin to get aboard.

March 06, 2010

Ben Crenshaw, Bill Coore talk about restoring Pinehurst No. 2

Posted at 11:17 PM by Ryan Reiterman

Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore have an impressive portfolio of course designs — Kapalua's Plantation Course, Sand Hills in Nebraska, We-Ko-Pa and Bandon Trails just to name a few.

The duo is now getting ready to lend a hand at restoring Pinehurst No. 2. Coore and Crenshaw have been called in to help restore the strategic value and natural aesthetics to Donald Ross's famous design, which will host the U.S. Open and the U.S. Women's Open in 2014.

Don't worry, if you have any plans to make a trip to Pinehurst this year, play will not be disrupted at all. The major work will be done when the course closes in mid-November.

For more on Coore and Crenshaw's philosophy on restoring Pinehurst No. 2, check out the video below.

February 11, 2010

Pinehurst launches 'Perfecta' experience

Posted at 4:24 PM by Ryan Reiterman

Starting March 7, Pinehurst Resort is offering the "Pinehurst Perfecta" package, with unlimited rounds at the resort’s eight courses, including at least one round each on its three top-ranked courses: No. 8, No. 4 and No. 2, site of the 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open. 

At $1,995 per person for three full days (inclusive of all taxes and service charges), it includes two nights in the Carolina Hotel, $100 gift card, preferred 20% discount on airport transportation from RDU, Tranquility Pass for a soak or steam at the Spa at Pinehurst and choice of the humidor and Macallan Scotch in the new Ryder Cup Lounge.

Also included are breakfast and daily dinner, featuring at least one night in the 1895 Grille or steaks in the Carolina Dining Room.

For more information visit

Pinehurst Resort was also recently named one of Golf Magazine's Premier Resorts.

December 05, 2008

Pinehurst: America's golf mecca

Posted at 3:52 PM by Gerald McCullagh

Many avid players often look to the British Isles for their golf pilgrimage, but don’t consider their own backyard.

Sure, St. Andrews and Turnberry are wonderful, but when seeking world-class golf, your first destination should be Pinehurst, N.C. Nowhere else in the United States can you play U.S. Open courses located just minutes from each another.

The rich golfing tradition of Pinehurst goes back more than 100 years to visionary developer James W. Tufts and legendary course designer Donald Ross. Since Ross’s Pinehurst No. 2 course opened in 1903, the North Carolina sand hills around Pinehurst have grown to include 43 golf courses with lodgings that include both on- and off-course accommodations.

The real heartbeat of the Pinehurst area is the Village Green, a small town reminiscent of New England charm. The town’s center is within walking distance to some of the finest old-world hotels I have ever seen. As I walked through the front door of the Pine Crest Inn, I felt as if I stepped back in time to the most romantic period in golfing history. Surrounding me were pictures of Sam Snead, Donald Ross, Julius Boros and other legends of the game.

I asked an older staff member what had changed over the years at the inn.

She replied, “Nothing.”

At the turn of the century golfers from the Northeast would ride the rail from Penn Station in Manhattan, arrive 12 hours later in neighboring Southern Pines, and be on the first tee in a half-hour. Along these lines, I heard a story of a father and son who frequently rode the train down on a Friday evening, played golf over the weekend, and returned back to Wall Street for business on Monday. The successful model that attracted visitors here 80 years ago remains strong today.

I can’t write about Pinehurst without mentioning Peggy Kirk Bell, a charter member of the LPGA. Her two magnificent golf courses, Pine Needles and Mid Pines, are the Donald Ross masterpieces and a testament to her contribution to the local community. When asked about the character of Mid Pines, Ross once stated that it played like a Viennese waltz with a subtle complexity and challenge that every player can appreciate.

When people visit the Pinehurst area, they often think of it as the perfect place to retire. It has so much to offer with affordable housing, great transportation, and a magnificent hospital. The medical center is one of the top hospitals in the country.

One of the most important things on any golf trip is the company. I found the perfect twosome to play with: my colleague Dee Forsberg Voss and my dear friend Dr. Douglas Knudson.

Thanks, Doctor, for a great birthday treat!

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Gerald McCullagh teaches at the University of Minnesota’s Le Bolstad Golf Club in Falcon Heights, Minn. He also blogs here.

Want to learn more about Pinehurst? Check out's articles, photo galleries and videos.

Ask Travelin' Joe

Our traveling correspondent has been where you're going. Heading out of town on vacation? Business trip? Travelin' Joe can suggest the best places for you to tee it up. If you want to ask Travelin' Joe a question, e-mail him at


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