Pinehurst No 8 Review
Pinehurst No. 8
Teacher’s Comments: A peaceful and beautiful setting for a challenging course.
Pinehurst No. 8 felt familiar to this Michigan golfer.
With its wide, tree-lined fairways, elevation changes and patches of marsh and water, Pinehurst No. 8 has that Northern Michigan feel. There were times when the only way I knew it was Pinehurst was from the tee to green bermuda grass and the sandy earth.
Pinehurst No. 8 is known as the Centennial Course, built for the resort’s 100th anniversary with a design by Tom Fazio. It is the youngest of Pinehurst’s nine courses (discounting redesigns and restorations).
I played Pinehust No. 8 from the late afternoon into the early evening and it was absolutely lovely. There are no houses in sight on the edges of the fairways at Pinehurst No. 8 and after the first nine, I was practically the only one on the course.
No. 8’s routing seems intended to create that sense of splendid isolation. Unlike other courses, you are unlikely to see much of other groups as you make your way through the round.
It was the second round I had walked that day and by the end I was a bit weary (my earlier stroll was on No. 4. You can read my Pinehurst No. 4 review at the link). But I played well enough, all things considered.
More importantly, I had a lot of fun.
My favorite hole was the one that most reminded me of a Michigan design: Number 14. That’s not why I liked it, though. Rather, fourteen is a tremendous risk-reward hole. It plays as a sharp dogleg left, where the tee shot must carry a marsh to a shallow fairway. The more of the marsh you challenge, the closer you get to the hole.
Thankfully for shorter hitters, there’s a tee box on the other side of the marsh that turns the hole into a straight shot down the line.
It is important with the fourteenth to be able to use as short a club as possible on the approach. The open approach to the green faces the left center of the fairway. A large bunker guards the center right side.
Trying to play too close to the edge to get a shot into the open portion of the green is another risk-reward kind of thing. There’s very little room for error on the left.
On the front side, I really enjoyed the first hole. A 361 yard downhill par 4, it’s a bit of a roller coaster, with the fairway tilting first left, and then back right. It reaches its nadir right in front of the green, then rises to the mounded putting surface.
Don’t let your ball kick off the back. That’s bad. That’s where my approach shot went. Right into the woods.
It’s a fun hole to start the round, though.
Pinehurst No. 8 is a long course, clocking in at 7, 099 yards at its longest. Fortunately, there are five other tees to choose from.
The course is made all the more difficult for its crowned greens and steep drop-offs, which Fazio intended as a tribute to Donald Ross’ designs.
It is very important to play from the correct tees at No. 8. There are some heroic carries that wreck your round if you are playing the tees even slightly above your weight.
Conditions on the late March evening I played were very good. The course was not as green as it would be in the summer, but real golfers know that brown grass is not dead grass. The fairways were smooth and the putting greens fast. At no point did I feel as though playing in March put me at a playing disadvantage. I mean it as no disparagement to the other courses when I say that No. 8 might have been in the best condition.
Pinehurst No. 8 is a short shuttle ride from the main complex, but well worth the trip. It’s got a different vibe from the other Pinehurst courses I played, but as the old adage says: variety is the spice of life
The Pinehurst No. 8 Review was first published May 20, 2021 on GolfBlogger Golf Blog from notes and photos taken on a round played March 30, 2021. A Pinehurst No. 4 review and Pinehurst No. 5 review are at the links. For all of GolfBlogger’s Golf Course Reviews, follow the link.
A photo tour of Pinehurst No. 8 follows