The Cradle Short Course Review
The Cradle Short Course At Pinehurst
Teacher’s Comments: If Pinehurst No. 2 is a golf symphony with a full orchestra, The Cradle is a set from a jazz trio.
In recent years, “short courses” have come into vogue at America’s top golf resorts. Among others, there’s Bandon Preserve at Bandon Dunes, The Bootlegger at Forest Dunes, The Sandbox at Sand Valley and more.
At Pinehurst, there’s “The Cradle,” which is as much golf fun as anyone can possibly have on ten acres. I had a blast, and would happily play it time and again.
The Cradle’s name is an homage to the original 1898 course at Pinehurst, on which ground it is routed.
The Cradle was designed by Gil Hanse, and in appearance resembles both Pinehurst No. 2 and Pinehurst No. 4 (which is also a Gil Hanse project.) It may in fact also reflect No. 1, but I didn’t get to play that, so I can’t say for sure.
If Pinehurst No. 2 and No. 4 are golf symphonies with full orchestras, The Cradle is a set from a jazz trio. It is stripped down to the basics, improvisational and pure.
Holes at the cradle range from 56 to 127 yards, for a total of 789. There’s quite a bit of room for variance, as there are not really tee boxes per se. Instead, a teeing ground is marked and can conceivably change quite a bit from day to day.
You likely won’t need more than three clubs at the Cradle. I took my putter, a pitching wedge and a hybrid. From the teeing ground, depending on the distance and the line, I used either the wedge to fly the ball in, or the hybrid to run it to the green. A hybrid also is my chipping club of choice.
Like the aforementioned jazz trio, players at The Cradle will need to improvise. From hole to hole, players will need to employ full shots, half shots, long chips and putts, pitches out of the sand and perhaps even a flop or two. Players will need to imagine a sound/shot and then coax their instruments/clubs into performing as desired.
I played The Cradle first thing in the morning before a round on No. 4, and it was very quiet. In the evening, though, The Cradle turns into a “happening place.” Music is playing, drinks are flowing and large groups are lobbing, pitching and putting their way around the nine holes. There’s even a “halfway house” there in the form of a small camper trailer. I think that if you go to Pinehurst and don’t spend an evening at The Cradle, you will be missing a vital part of the experience of the resort.
The Cradle Short Course Review was first published on GolfBlogger Golf Blogg July 7, 2021 from a round played in April 2021.
A photo gallery of Pinehurst’s The Cradle follows