North Carolina’s Pinehurst Resort has hosted the U.S. Open three times (1999, 2005, 2014) and will host it again in 2024. As golf courses go, it’s very much legit, with a number of Donald Ross-designed courses. Later this year, it’ll even host the U.S. Amateur.
But perhaps signaling a shift in just what draws casual golfers to the links in 2019, recent buzz at Pinehurst has far more to do with its brand-new brewery, Pinehurst Brewing Company, and the Happy Gilmore-esque atmosphere of its par-3 course “The Cradle.”
In 2017, Pinehurst decided to convert the first holes of courses three and five into a 789-yard, nine-hole par-3. It was a bit of a gamble, even with the resort having nine public courses in its village, but it’s paid off tremendously. Over 36,000 rounds are booked for this year, and it’s not difficult to see why. It’s not a large commitment, in time or price. A round is just $50, takes an hour to play, and is all-you-can-play, for the entire day. Not to mention, there’s a bar on the course called the Pinecone, which golfers pass on the fourth and ninth tees.
It all adds up to an accessible, walkable time at the course, which allows you to say you “played” Pinehurst, sans the sunburns, thrown clubs and general exhaustion that comes with five-plus hours spent on professional tees.
Plus, the beer is good. Pinehurst poached Eric Mitchell from Charlotte’s Heist Brewery to head the new brewing company, which is housed in an newly renovated 19th-century steam plant. On tap is a rotation of crushable “lawn mower beers” (as Mitchell put it), plus a local cider. On the menu you’ll find smoked Texas BBQ (brisket, pork shoulder, wings) burgers and other elevated 19th-hole bites.
We recommend finding a weekend to head down here with some buddies and staying in one of Pinehurst’s hotels: The Carolina Hotle, The Manor Inn, or The Holly Inn. Pinehurst operates shuttles to and fro all these hotels, so you can load up on brews without worry. Do take some time to try out the golf resort’s “mini golf course,” which is a putting green with an 18-hole course. Loser’s paying.
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