Thistle Dhu
Putting Course

When you visit Pinehurst, make sure and check out our putting course, Thistle Dhu, located adjacent to Maniac Hill and the short game practice area. “Thistle Dhu?,” you ask? We’ll there’s a story there.

James Barber, owner of the Barber Steamship Lines of New York, built an 18-hole “Lilliputian” golf course in 1916, on the grounds of his home in Pinehurst, NC. It would be the first miniature golf course in America. The story goes that upon first seeing the home and course, he pronounced, “This’ll Do.” It was translated into Thistle Dhu and the name stuck.

Nearly a century later, the name returns once more, and it does so at its rightful home of Pinehurst.

Calling to mind the legendary Himalayas Course at The Old Course in St. Andrews, Thistle Dhu features 18 holes of mind-bending journeys designed to entertain everyone in the family, from the golfing beginner to the scratch player and everyone in between. Play is free to resort guests, just bring your ball and putter and enjoy the fun.

A New Experience on Golf’s Biggest Stage

Minutes after walking through the gates at Pinehurst Resort to watch the U.S. Open, 3-year-old C.J. Lowder saw his first pro golfer tee off from the 12th. He looked up at his dad, Chris Lowder of Aberdeen, and smiled big.

“I want to do that,” he declared.

And so he did.


Open to kids every day during the men’s and women’s U.S. Opens, the Sandhills chapter of the First Tee offered kids a chance to play a modified version of Thistle Dhu.

The new version was brimming throughout golf’s historic fortnight with kids from C.J.’s age to middle schoolers, many of them learning proper technique from their moms or dads.

“I think this is a great thing,” Chris Lowder said as his son chased putts around him. “It gets children excited and involved. It’s already great that the Open lets kids this age in free. This is a great age to get them started.”

In 1916, James Barber of Pinehurst designed Thistle Dhu, the first miniature golf course. Word has it that after having seen his finished course, Barber declared to his designer, ‘This’ll do!’ An American icon was born.