Ask golfers to describe America's greatest courses and they'll weep about "Wow!" holes like the seventh at Pebble Beach. Pinehurst No. 2 has no signature hole and no breathtaking aesthetics, but it proves that a course can be much greater than its individual holes.
You can land a jumbo jet on the generous fairways without dislodging a pinecone, but No. 2 is the toughest course on the planet from within 50 yards of the greens, which are tougher to hold than a nervous turkey on Thanksgiving. It takes only one chip shot rolling back to your feet to have confidence replaced by doubt and despair. So what if it lacks the scenic splendor of other top courses? No. 2 might be the finest test of championship golf anywhere, a course that defends itself through greens that gently draw blood in 18 different ways, and not by having to bastardize the fundamental design every time the pros come to town. -- Eamon Lynch
The resort, established in 1894, offers eight outstanding courses. With the opening of the Centennial Course in 1996, Pinehurst now has more holes than any other resort in the United States.
The No. 1 Course is the most scenic and picturesque. No. 2 was renovated during 1996 and has been a mainstay of Golf Magazine's course rankings. The No. 3 Course is a typical Donald Ross design, featuring dome-shaped greens. No. 4 got a complete makeover by Tom Fazio in 2000, but many of the original Ross features are still evident, including more than 140 pot bunkers. No. 5 is very tight and has numerous out-of-bounds stakes lining its fairways. No. 6 is extremely long and has many elevated greens. No. 7 is a modern design laid out on undulating terrain with lots of natural vegetation coming into play. When Rees Jones was walking through the woods in 1984 and laying out the holes, he came across several ancient bunkers of a long-abandoned golf course. He ordered the bunkers restored, and today they sit on the fourth hole.
No. 8, Centennial, which opened in 1996, is a traditional Fazio design. This course covers 125 acres of wetlands and freshwater marshes. The greens have some of the characteristics of the greens on No. 2 but are larger.