You’ve probably heard it said before that Pinehurst No. 2 is a relatively easy golf course to walk. And while that’s true, it’s always good to take a break and sit for a while. Also, it gives you a chance to watch several groups come through rather than follow a few players.
With enough seating for 25,000 people, though, it might get a little overwhelming about which spots might be best.
So that’s where we come in.
Here are our favorite 5 spots to sit and watch the 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open.
If we don’t list your favorite, leave a comment below to help out your fellow spectators. (Or don’t in the hopes of saving your seat…)
5. 11th Green
Ben Hogan called the 11th one of his favorite par-4s, and the hole has been restored to the way it looked and played in his era. This is the area where most spectators will arrive, and they are greeted with a huge grandstand. Extra bonus points here for the “bucket seats,” rather than the hard wooden planks at most of the other grandstands. Get a seat here and you can rest your back a little, have ample legroom and watch a hole Hogan birdied all four times to break through in his first professional win in the 1940 North & South Open. More bonus points if you sit at the top corner of the grandstand, where you can look back on the 12th tee. And if the 12th is being played way, waaaaaay back, you might hear a few golf balls go whizzing directly over your head.
4. 13th Green
The 13th could play as one of the more exciting holes on the course. With the back tee, it will demand precise yardages to stay in the fairway. It also may be played as a drivable par-4 (for both championships), bringing sand and wiregrass into play on the left side of the green. One of the most visually appealing holes of the Coore & Crenshaw Restoration, players may be coming at an elevated green from a wide variety of lies out of some of the thickest native area rough on the entire course. And if you happen to catch 13 on a day it’s playing as a drivable par 4, you might see anything from a 2 to a 7. The ultimate risk-reward of No. 2.
3. 6th tee
We can refrain from giving you the hole specifics of the 6th hole here. Why? Because at the towering grandstand near the 6th tee, you have views of the 3rd green – a hole which will also be played a a drivable par-4 some days – the treacherous 5th green, the 4th tee, and the 6th tee, which could be played as far back as 246 yards as a par 3. Extra points here because 5 AND 6 feature two of the most diabolical greens on No. 2.
A story: When most members or guests play No. 2, local caddies are known to shout “SHORT” as soon as the clubface meets the ball on the 6th. Players routinely ask, “What?” even as the ball is still in the air. Caddies will respond, “Just wait.” Then, as the ball rolls off the false front of the green, the caddie will wait, and with perfect comedic timing, say, “Sir, that’s a GVR. Green Visited in Regulation. Welcome to No. 2.”
2. 17th Green
Oh, man, 17. More bang for your buck. 17 has shown itself to be perhaps the most crucial hole in the last two U.S. Opens at Pinehurst. Payne Stewart’s gorgeous swing (SERIOUSLY, WATCH THIS) led to a short birdie to take a 1-shot lead over Phil Mickelson, who missed his own short birdie attempt, heading to 18 in 1999. Michael Campbell also made birdie at 17 on Sunday, and Tiger Woods made bogey, essentially deciding the 2005 Open. Also, you can see the 16th green – remember Payne’s 25-footer for par that broke about 8 different times? – and tee shots on 18. It’s a must on Sunday, unless…
1. 18th Green
Ross’ masterpiece concludes with a slight dogleg right that now plays around sand and wiregrass. Where Payne Stewart drove his tee shot in the final round of the ’99 Open would now land in sand and wiregrass. Can you imagine his decision, then? The grandstand is the largest on the course, it features those bucket seats again, and it’s where everything will be ultimately decided.
Get there early on Sunday.
6th Green – The bunkers are 6 are crazy. And chances are you’ll see somebody Rossed – putting off the green.
15 green – Coore & Crenshaw added more space to the green of 15 for Mike Davis’s evil genius at setting hole locations. Bonus points here because this grandstand is one of the very few positioned in the shade for most of the day.
7 Green – Gorgeous dogleg par-4, and you get the view of the 8th tee.