For years, it’s been a golf staple at Pinehurst Resort. Simple, straightforward and easy to book, the Donald Ross Golf Package features two nights’ accommodations, three rounds of golf and breakfast and dinner, daily.

The not-so-simple part of this popular stay-and-play? Choosing three courses from among our nine, 18-hole layouts. With all that’s going on in the world, the last thing golfers need is decision fatigue.

We are here to help with the process. Here are three decidedly different variations of the Donald Ross Package that all lead to an unforgettable experience at Pinehurst Resort.

Pinehurst No. 4, hole 11
Pinehurst No. 4, hole 11
The Golf Buddy Trip

You know how this trip works. Play the biggest, boldest courses, and some of you, from the back tees. Squeeze in an extra nine holes to settle a few bets. Head to the hotel to get cleaned up (30 minutes, max, lest you be roasted), dinner at Pinehurst Brewing Co., après dinner drinks at the North & South Bar, rinse and repeat.

As far as course selection, the Golf Buddy Trip is the closest thing to a no-brainer. There are two golf course boxes that absolutely must be checked: Donald Ross’s famed No. 2 and Gil Hanse’s reimagined No. 4. The third course can vary depending on how important not just playing, but playing well on No. 2, is to the group.

For those who simply want to experience the three highest ranked venues on property, Tom Fazio’s tribute to Ross, No. 8, is a thrill ride over 420 acres of topsy-turvy terrain that tips out at nearly 7,100 yards. It’s a short shuttle ride from the main clubhouse to its location in a quiet corner of The Village.

An afternoon round on Pinehurst No. 3 is also the perfect way to sneak in an emergency 18
An afternoon round on Pinehurst No. 3 is also the perfect way to sneak in an emergency 18

If carding a social media-worthy score on No. 2 (along with the requisite golf group photo) is important, No. 3 is a prudent option. That’s right, Pinehurst’s shortest course at just over 5,000 yards features 18 variations of Ross’s trademark turtleback greens. No. 3 is the optimal “warm-up” before taking on the three-time U.S. Open venue.

And filling the role of the bet-settling “Emergency Nine” is the wildly popular, Hanse-designed short course, The Cradle. There’s no better golf buddy bonding experience. Grab a cold drink from the Pine Cone vintage beverage cart, let the music wash over your group and get lost in the “most fun 10 acres in all of golf.”

Recommended Order: No. 8 (or No. 3), No. 2 and No. 4

The Cradle
The Cradle
Family Style

There’s a version of the Donald Ross Package that sets up perfectly for couples and kids of all ages. Committed to growing the game by providing junior golfers unfettered access to golf, kids 17 and under stay and play free when visiting with a parent (kids 12 and under also eat free).

Before we get to course selection, families with beginner golfers should try to arrive early on the first day to play The Cradle or putt around (or a round) on Thistle Dhu, our 75,000-square-foot, 18-hole putting course. The combination of the two is a sight to behold, a veritable sea of golf filled with players of all skill levels.

When it comes time to “officially” tee it up on day one, families are well-served to start at the beginning – Pinehurst No. 1. This Donald Ross gem plays between 5,167 and 6,000 yards, perfect for short hitters and playing to a par 70, it’s no pushover for good players.

While No. 3 can be challenging warm-up for No. 2, its diminutive length and walking friendly layout also make it ideal for families. The forward tees are just over 4,300 yards and include two sub-100-yard par 3s, holes 2 and 8.

Pinehurst No. 5
Pinehurst No. 5

Look no further than the next odd number course in the rota for your third choice. No. 5 is a traditionally crafted, Ellis Maples designed layout with elevated tee boxes, generous landing areas and receptive greens.

Members adore the course; it is the type of track golfers love playing every day. At more than 6,800 yards from the tips, No. 5 holds its own with low handicappers. With two sets of forward tees (green and red) ranging from 5,200 to 5,700 yards, it’s perfect for beginners or those with low swing speeds.

Dinner options: Pinehurst Brewing Co. offers outdoor seating, award-winning barbecue and a wide-variety of freshly made pizzas, and casual pub fare is available at The Deuce.

Recommended Order: No. 1, No. 3, No. 5 and all The Cradle you can handle!

Pinehurst No. 8
Pinehurst No. 8
The Architecture Buff

Donald Ross, Gil Hanse, Tom Fazio, Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, Ellis Maples, Jack Nicklaus, Rees Jones – the list of golf course architects who’ve left their indelible mark at Pinehurst Resort is unprecedented in American golf.

No doubt, golf course architecture aficionados have their work cut out for them in distilling their course selections down to three. So here’s a pro tip: additional days and rounds can be added to the Donald Ross Golf Package.

Stretching the trip an extra day allows for scintillating sampler platter that includes a neoclassical restoration (No. 2) a brilliant reimagination (No. 4), a centennial celebration (No. 8) and then, the dance card opens up on day four.

The signature 16th features the large hand-shaped waste area known as “Jones’s Fingers” for architect Rees Jones.
The signature 16th features the large hand-shaped waste area known as “Jones’s Fingers” for architect Rees Jones.

Both No. 7 and No. 9 offer interesting injections of modernity that complement the traditional tenants of the other courses.

No. 7 was designed by Rees Jones, son of Robert Trent Jones Sr., the archetypal modern golf course designer. Rees returned in 2002 to update his original 1986 design, accentuating the property’s dramatic elevation changes and low-lying wetlands.

No. 9, formerly National Golf Club, is Jack Nicklaus in his peak late 80s form: generous landing areas, undulating putting surfaces and ample eye candy. Its groomed waste areas and softer edges offer an intriguing contrast to the scruffy Sandhills aesthetic of No. 2 and No. 4.

Recommended Order: No. 8, No. 2, No. 4 and No. 7 or 9

For assistance in planning your stay at Pinehurst Resort, call (855) 235-8507 or click here to begin your reservation.