Initial ThoughtsTo stay and play at Pine Needles Lodge in the Sandhills of North Carolina reminds you of the way a golf trips are meant to be.
Date PlayedMonday, March 12th, 2007
Value - 5.0Whenever a course has hosted or will be hosting a USGA championship, the price of greens fees is almost automatically inflated, with the degree of inflation directly proportional to the gravitas the championship holds. Pine Needles is a mainstay in the WomenGÇÖs Open rota, including 2007, so this is certainly the case here as well. On the bright side, staying at the lodge brings greater value and certainly adds to the experience. ThereGÇÖs no substitute for the feeling you get when you know your golf shoes are the only ones youGÇÖll wear that day.
Pace of Play - 7.0The time of year and course design combined to greatly contribute to an excellent pace of play. In early March, particularly in the afternoon, tee times were relatively easy to come by so there was not the issue of having to wait right from the start on the first hole that is often the case when a course is crowded.
On the tee box of the majority of holes, the landing area of the drives are within sight and the fairways are quite generous, therefore there is little time wasted searching for an errant golf ball.
Course/Maintenance - 8.5North Carolina is far enough north that a golf courseGÇÖs conditions can decline in the winter months, particularly since Bermuda grass is prevalent. In the winter months, this type of turf goes dormant so the fairways and rough are often not as thick as would be the case just a few months later.
The design, a Donald Ross, is a classic. ThereGÇÖs everything you would expect: strategic hole-layouts, domed greens with adjacent chipping areas offering plenty of choices, swept-faces on bunkers, plenty of slight doglegs, relatively wide fairways, and moderate length.
Hospitality - 8.5Naturally, the hospitality is enhanced by Southern charm, but one thing that sets Pine Needles, and its sister-resort Mid-Pines, just across the street, apart from other resorts is the GÇ£homeyGÇ¥ atmosphere. If it wasnGÇÖt for the equipment of the players, you might think youGÇÖd stepped back to the 1950GÇÖs GÇô and that is meant in a good way.
Scenery - 7.0In the Sandhills of North Carolina, there are no vistas of mountain peaks, deserts, or sprawling lakes. But the courses feel very natural, lined with an infinite number of tall, thin pine trees GÇô sometimes evoking a cathedral-like sensation -- and holes that appear to have evolved with the land rather than bulldozed into place. ItGÇÖs a very subtle attractiveness.
Overall - 8.5 (not an average)Pine Needles is a throwback to a different time. ItGÇÖs golf in its purest form, without the tricked up course-design or over-the-top accommodations. A week or long weekend in March is a great way to kick off the golf season.
Written by Tom Goyne of BallsSticksStuff.com
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This is great!
joe jones says:
Its been many years since I played Pine Needles. We stayed at It's sister course Mid Pines and played both on a package deal.Always went in April. One year they had 4" of snow and squeegeed off the fairways so we could play. I love Donald Ross courses and those trips were a great golfing experience.
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10.0 - 9.5 World Class
9.4 - 8.5 Awesome
8.4 - 7.5 Very good
7.4 - 6.5 Above Average
6.4 - 4.5 Solid
4.4 - 3.5 Below Average
3.4 - 2.5 Save Your Money
2.4 - 0.0 Pay NOT to go