GolfBlogger’s North Carolina Golf Trip: Day Two At Pinehurst
The Cradle is Pinehurst Short Course, with nine holes varying from 56 to 127 yards. I played the course with just two clubs: a pitching wedge and a putter. It is really a delight, with rugged, natural-looking bunkers, and distances that call for creative play.
An employee told me that The Cradle does 50,000 rounds a year, which undoubtedly makes it the most popular course on the property.
After making a circuit of the Cradle, I headed to nearby No. 4. This 1919 Donald Ross classic has been through several redesigns and restorations over the years, including ones from Robert Trent Jones (1973), Rees Jones (1982), Tom Fazio (1999) and most recently, Gil Hanse (2018).
I think Hanse’s work is brilliant (I am not alone in this judgment).
Pinehurst No. 4 has a natural, untamed feel. Holes flow from teeing ground to fairway to green and on to the next teeing ground with nary an interruption. Large waste areas run along, creep into and across the fairways. Close cropped naive wire grass give Pinehurst No. 4 a playing surface that most closely resembles fescue.
No. 4 is a very fair course that offers plenty of opportunities. After the fourth hole, I had inextricably lost all of the rhythm in my swing and was struggling to get any distance. And yet, I was quietly able to reel off a long string of bogeys. The fronts of all of the greens were open, allowing a long chip, or putt from a shot that fell short.
Putting, on the other hand, was tough. All of the player in our group struggled with speed. The greens just looked a lot faster than they actually were. I was unable to convince myself to hit the ball harder and thus left many short.
Immediately after my round at No. 4, I took the resort’s highly efficient shuttle service over to No. 8.
Pinehurst No. 8 is a Tom Fazio design that was built in 1996 to celebrate the resort’s centennial. I really enjoyed it. With its tree-lined fairways, tough elevation changes and patches of marsh, it reminded me very much of a Northern Michigan Course. Tees, fairways and greens are all Bermuda grass, which is a different surface than I am used to.