Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club

page 2

Seventh hole, 400 yards; While its playing corridor may be straight, the seventh is full of nuanced playing angles. Push the tee ball slightly and the fairway contours shove it farther right from where the approach to the green is blind. Stay in the left third of the fairway to enjoy a full view of the putting surface. In addition, Franz was especially impressed by a level area in the left side of the fairway. Too subtle for the occasional golfer to even recognize, Franz believes that Ross lightly massaged this portion of the fairway to give the golfer an ideal stance to go along with the better optics. Ahead at the green, Franz reclaimed front and back right hole locations, both of which add much to the playing variety of the hole. All told, Ross got the absolute most out of this piece of the property. Remember: A gradual slope like the one found here is rarely an architect’s best friend. Fortunately, Ross expertly used it to advantage.

It may take several rounds but golfers eventually come to appreciate the playing attributes of the seventh hole.

The more one plays the seventh, the more one comes to appreciate its playing virtues.

The natural slope of the land shunts tee balls to this area from where the approach shot is blind over the beautifully conceived bunker short of the green.

The natural slope of the land shunts tee balls to this area from where the approach shot is blind over the beautifully conceived bunker short of the green.

Meanwhile, a drawn tee ball that stays down the left provides the golfer with an entirely different  (and better!) perspective from which to play his next shot.

Meanwhile, a drawn tee ball that stays down the left provides the golfer with an entirely different (and better!) perspective from which to play his next shot.

 

As seen from behind, the seventh green follows the natural grade of the land and drops four feet from back to front. The out of position golfer can readily have a putt that breaks a dozen feet and more.

As seen from behind, the seventh green follows the natural grade of the land and drops four feet from back to front. The out of position golfer can readily have a putt that breaks a dozen feet or more.

Eleventh hole, 165 yards; After having lived at Mid Pines for seven consecutive months and on the course every one of those days, Franz says that his appreciation for Ross’s work has only grown. For example, this green complex features a knob front right that can be used as a kicker to feed balls toward back hole locations where the green narrows. Franz contends that playing a draw into this green as Ross intended is one of the more rewarding shots on the course and he loves the slow drama of watching the ball release off the kick mound.

Much longer than it is wide, the eleventh occupies a high spot on the property. Given the recent tree removal, golfers now need to pay particular attention to the wind in selecting their club.

Much longer than it is wide, the eleventh green occupies a high spot on the property. Given the recent tree removal, golfers now need to pay particular attention to the wind when selecting their club.

Twelfth hole, 380 yards; Similar to the fourth green complex, this long narrow angled green occupies a special place among the 7,000 plus green sites that Donald Ross designed over his forty-seven year career. Protected by bunkers right and left, the sliver of green, which angles from front left to back right, is fifteen paces wide in parts. Any approach from the right side of the fairway is at an awkward, oblique angle to this shallow green.

Classroom A1A in how to design a hole: Provide a hazard that must be carried to obtain the best angle into the green. Gobs and gobs of short grass exists to the right of the fairway bunker but the front left to back right angle of the green becomes problematic.

Classroom 101 in how to design a hole: Provide a hazard that must be carried to obtain the best angle to the green. Gobs and gobs of short grass exists to the right of the fairway bunker but the front left to back right angle of the green becomes problematic.

 

As seen from behind, the green angles toward the player's left edge of the fairway.

As seen from behind, the green angles toward the player’s left edge of the fairway.


Thirteenth hole, 235 yards;
Ross and other Golden Age architects had no compunction about requiring the player to hit a wood on a par three. Indeed, many viewed it as a necessity. After all, they reasoned, such holes only add variety to the course by making players hit every club in the bag. Certainly a hole like this helps explain why the talented golfer Bobby Cruikshanks once noted, ” Any man who breaks 80 on that course on his first or second round is a golfer.” He said that in 1921 when hickory golf prevailed and the course measured less than 6,400 yards. Golfers today are impressed that this 6,750 yard course still seems to make them hit every club in the bag.

A low runner will take the predominant right to left slope near the green and bumble well onto the putting surface.

Built in the days of hickory golf, a hole of this length required that the green be open in front to allow for a run up shot. Ross provided that but also a right to left slope near the green that can be used to help chase the ball onto the putting surface.

 

Fifteenth hole, 480 yards; Routing holes across broadly sloping terrain is tricky. Without sufficient width, the golfer may be made to feel like a billy goat. Fortunately, Donald Ross had ample width at his disposal and made the most of it here. Instead of an awkward hole around the higher edge of the property, Ross designed a hole that is fun to play. A drawn tee ball over the left edge of the right bunker takes the fairway slope and runs for forty plus yards. Advances in technology have brought this green into reach for many golfers and hitting the green in two is quite satisfying.

Though reachable in two, note the sloping fairway. Achieving a good strike with the ball well above a right handed golfer's feet is no mean feat.

Though reachable in two, note the sloping fairway. Achieving a good strike when the ball sits well above a right handed golfer’s feet is no mean feat.

Sixteenth hole, 430 yards; Moore County is famous for both its sandy soil and its rolling topography. Mid Pines features both. The sixteenth tee is high on the rim of the property and a well struck tee ball soaring into the valley makes for one of the prettiest ball flights in Moore County. Franz’s new back tee adds 30 yards to the hole so it again plays as Ross intended (i.e. a big hole requiring some sort of mid iron approach). Despite the demands of the hole off the tee, the domed green with its high middle section is where strokes most likely add up.

One of the best holes in Moore County - Pinehurst No.2 would love to claim it.

One of the best holes in the southeast – Pinehurst No.2 would love to claim it.

 

This ‘before’ picture was taken in 2007. Though the tee shot provided a commanding view, the hole lacked the scale and strategic merit we see now.

The dolloped lighting through the Long Leaf pines reasonates with all golfers.

Filtered lighting through mature pines has long resonated with golfers.

 

Golfers who get tangled up down the left often over play their second and get in this right side bunker complex. No one likes a 40 yard explosion shot.

Golfers who get tangled down the left often over play their second into this right side bunker complex. No golfer likes a 40 yard explosion shot!


Seventeenth hole, 390 yards;
A highly regarded dogleg, this hole sweeps to the right. A power fade is handsomely rewarded off the tee, leaving the golfer a clear view of the green. The golfer whose tee ball is played more cautiously to the left must confront a pair of bunkers at the left front of the green. In short, the perfectly conceived bunker scheme enables this penultimate hole to hold its head high with both the sixteenth and eighteenth holes, both of which enjoy greater topographic interest.

Relatively flat, Ross summoned his design skills to help make this hole the equal to other, more naturally blessed holes.

Relatively flat, Ross summoned his design skills to help make this hole the equal to other, more naturally blessed holes.

The patch of fairway beyond this bunker is not readily evident from the tee but is the ideal position from which to approach the green.

The patch of fairway beyond this bunker is not readily evident from the tee but is the ideal position from which to approach the green.

 

Eighteenth hole, 410 yards; The one requisite of a great Home hole is to provide a sense of occasion. There are many ways for finishing holes to accomplish that and this is a prime example. From the tee, the golfer enjoys a long view down the hole and a glimpse of the impressive Mid Pines Inn in the distance. David Eger, the 2000 North South Champion, considers this to be the finest finishing hole in the state.

Given that the first hole plays downhill, it is quite unusual to find that the Home hole also plays downhill. Yet, its elevated tee provides a majestic vantage point that is amplified upon ...

Given that the first hole plays downhill, it is unusual that the Home hole also plays downhill. Its elevated tee provides a majestic vantage point that is amplified …

... as one rounds the bend on this slight dogleft left, bringing the Mid Pines Hotel more into view.

… as one rounds the bend on this slight dogleft left, bringing the Mid Pines Inn more into view.

Plenty of on-lookers from the hotel are generally guaranteed to watch the proceedings unfold on the back to front sloping Home green.

Plenty of on-lookers from the handsome hotel regularly watch the proceedings unfold on the back to front sloping Home green.

The closing stretch at Mid Pines comprises three sterling par fours in a row. That’s the way it should be as the par fours in particular are the design highlight of the course. The first, fourth, seventh, twelfth, and the final three offer both varied and compelling golf for all skill levels. The potential of this set of holes (as well as the course in general) has now been fully realized thanks to the 2013 restoration work. As such, Mid Pines has gone from a charming place to have a game to a charming place littered with great holes to have a game.

Mid Pines's resurgence means that the Pine Needles-Mid Pines Resort now offers quite the one-two punch. For those that like their golf on well manicured surfaces, there is Pine Needles. For those that find great beauty in the native state of the sand hills of North Carolina, there is Mid Pines. best yet, the resort guest is free to rotate between the two!

Mid Pines’s resurgence means that the Pine Needles-Mid Pines Resort now offers quite the one-two punch. For those that like their golf on well manicured surfaces, there is Pine Needles. For those that find great beauty in the native state of the sand hills of North Carolina, there is Mid Pines. Best yet, the resort guest is free to rotate between the two!

The End