Altvater: Pilgrimage to Pinehurst is religious experienceWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
If you call yourself a golfer, but have never visited Pinehurst, your journey is not yet complete, grasshopper. Travelers to Pinehurst are transported back in time to a place where golf is revered. The trip becomes a religious experience to one of the “cradle of golf” in America.
James Walker Tufts purchased the land for Pinehurst in 1895 and opened the Holly Inn. He commissioned the construction of Pinehurst No. 1 and it opened for play in 1898.
Famed Golf Course architect, Donald Ross, was lured to the area by Tufts in 1901 as the golf course manager. Ross would re-design No. 1, and build Nos. 2, 3 and 4. He didn’t stop there, however; before his death in 1948 at the age of 75, Ross was credited with over 400 golf course designs around the world.
Ross tinkered with Pinehurst No. 2 for most of his life. It is revered as one of the most iconic golf courses in the United States and has hosted several major championships.
Playing golf on these historic links is just part of the trip. The downtown village has been preserved through the years and is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon walking through shops and exploring historical sites.
A stay at the Pinehurst Inn offers a trip back in time and true southern hospitality has been preserved for the modern golfer.
The Holly Inn is still offering world-class service to their guests and the outdoor patio is a wonderful spot to enjoy a leisurely dinner with friends.
Several other dining options are available within walking distance, including the historic Pine Crest Inn. Ross once owned this establishment and made it his home. Chipping contests are routinely held in the lobby as hungry diners await their tables. The bar offers a chance to connect with friends and share the day’s golf adventures.
For anyone who appreciates the history of the game, The Givens Memorial Library and Tufts Archives, located in the heart of the village, contain original Donald Ross drawings and exhibits.
A trip to Pinehurst is not complete without a visit to Tom Stewart’s Old Sport & Gallery. It houses some of the most unique golf related items that can be found and every golfaholic is sure to find a must-have piece for his collection.
The current owners of Pinehurst recognize their responsibility to maintain this piece of American golf history and have done an excellent job. The recent renovation of famed No. 2 by the team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw received rave reviews and even more courses have been added to the resort. With their latest purchase of the National Golf Club, there are now a total of nine golf courses bearing the Pinehurst brand.
Although not as famous or difficult as their cousins, Mid Pines and Pine Needles resorts are owned by the family of one of the original founders of the LPGA, Peggy Kirk Bell. Bell has resided in Pinehurst for most of her adult life, but was born and raised in Findlay, Ohio.
Both Pine Needles and Mid Pines are Ross designs that many golfers enjoy, as much or more, than the Pinehurst courses.
The area around Pinehurst is a true golfing mecca; 23 of the 35 golf courses in the Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Aberdeen area were awarded 4-stars by Golf Digest.
In addition to the Pinehurst, Mid Pines and Pine Needles, Talamore can provide a truly enjoyable Pinehurst experience and is probably the best value for golf travelers to the Pinehurst area.
Pinehurst is steeped in a rich golf history and must be experienced by anyone who considers himself a true golfaholic.
Tags: Ben Crenshaw, Bill Coore, Donald Ross, Fred Altvater, Givens Memorial Library, Holly Inn, James Walker Tufts, Mid Pines Resort, Peggy Kirk Bell, Pine Crest Inn, Pine Needles Resort, Pinehurst, Pinehurst Inn, The Back Nine, Tom Stewart’s Old Sport & Gallery, Tufts Archives