Pinehurst Cradle Archive

Golf Channel to broadcast LIVE from The Cradle on Wednesday

We are excited to announce that the Golf Channel’s popular show Morning Drive will broadcast live from The Cradle at Pinehurst on Wednesday. From 7-9 a.m., Morning Drive will provide live look-ins at a round played by the Golf Channel’s Matt Ginella, John Cook and Alexandra O’Laughlin, who will be joined by Cradle designer Gil Hanse.

The Golf Channel will feature bonus coverage from Pinehurst on its social media platforms as well.

Nearly 120 years after golf arrived here, we present The Cradle, a nine-hole short course that even the newest to the game can enjoy. The Golf Channel already calls The Cradle, “the most fun 10 acres in all of golf.” Mere steps from the Resort Clubhouse, it is the same area where, in 1898, Dr. Leroy Culver carved our first nine holes out of the sand. Over the next century, Pinehurst came to be referred to as the Cradle of American Golf.

Greens fees for The Cradle are $50 this fall and replay rounds are free. Rates will vary seasonally. Guests are welcome to play the course more than one time in a day.

Kids 17 and under play free when accompanied by a paying adult, and resort guests may book tee times in advance. Public tee times are available 24 hours in advance. Replays will be booked at the conclusion of each round.

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Ella won the Drive, Chip & Putt? Oh, we’re not surprised

When we watched Ella June Hannant win the 7-9-year-old girls’ age group at the Drive, Chip & Putt National Finals, we can’t say we were all that surprised.

After all, we’ve known for quite some time that Ella could play – and that she has a terrific short game. After all, she’s the youngest golfer ever to have a hole-in-one on our short course, The Cradle.

You can revisit her story below. Congrats, Ella!

ELLA JUNE HANNANT DIDN’T NEED to be told to check the hole.

Already an accomplished golfer at the tender age of 8 – she has the trophies and medals to prove it – Hannant does admit to having two thoughts when she couldn’t find her ball Sunday on the punch bowl green of the third hole of Pinehurst’s short course, The Cradle.

“Well, the greens were really fast, so I thought maybe it was in the hole or that it might’ve rolled back off the green,” Hannant recalls. “After all, they are Pinehurst greens.”

Most telling is that Hannant, of Pikeville, North Carolina, thought to check the hole first. And even though she was playing with her dad, Steve, and younger sister, Zada, Hannant put the pieces together on her own.

“I looked in the hole, and my ball was there,” she said. “I just walked up and looked for it.”

And so, with a sand wedge from 56 yards, Ella Hannant, at 8 years old, became the youngest player to make an ace on The Cradle. It is her first hole-in-one, and the 18th on The Cradle, which opened in late September.

“I’ve been wanting one since I was about 2,” Hannant says.

She has the game to have backed up that goal. Hannant is one of the top-ranked junior golfers, and she recently won her age division at the Drive, Chip and Putt Regional at Pinehurst. The week before the Masters, Hannant will compete in the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship at Augusta National.

She’s won countless other tournaments – she’s been competing since she was 5 – and it was one of those tournaments that led her to The Cradle on Sunday. After winning a U.S. Kids Golf tournament on Saturday at Pinehurst No. 8, Hannant’s tournament on Sunday in Raleigh was canceled. Her dad gave her the option: play one of the courses she will have future tournaments on, or take a shot at The Cradle, Pinehurst’s 789-yard short course.

“The Cradle is fun. I think it would be really fun for kids to play a quick nine holes.” -Ella Hannant, 8

Hannant chose The Cradle – kids 17 and under play The Cradle free with a paying adult – with the goal of shooting par.

And she did – an even-par 27.

“Ella keeps a goal book,” says her mother, Regan, “and that was her goal – to shoot par. Of course, we didn’t think that would include a hole-in-one.”

Ella used a total of five clubs in her round on the course, which features holes that range in yardage from 56 yards to 127 yards. She used her putter, 5 iron, 7 iron, 8 iron – and that fateful sand wedge.

“The Cradle is fun,” Ella says. “I think it would be really fun for kids to play a quick nine holes.”

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Mike Golic’s Golf Rant is Shut Down When He Underestimates Pinehurst

As we like to say in the South, bless him.

Bless you, Mike Golic. And bless you, Trey Wingo, for putting Golic in his place.

It’s all good fun here, and we’ll admit we’re playing this with our tongue planted firmly in cheek. Still, we enjoyed it immensely this week on ESPN’s Golic & Wingo when Golic tried to call BS on golfers who like to walk when they play. Wingo agreed, but only to a point, mentioning that when he gets the opportunity to play historic courses, he’s always going to walk. “I would always rather walk on Pinehurst No. 2,” Wingo says.

Here, though, is where Golic thinks he sees an opening.

“I will not lie,” Golic starts, his face beginning to light up. “I like to walk on Pinehurst 6.”

But Wingo knows he has him, and cuts the former NFL defensive tackle with a chop block.

“That is a course, by the way,” Wingo says completely deadpan, knowing he’s got him.

“Is it really?” Golic responds. “Dammit.”

Then Wingo lets him have it for a few seconds.

Golic, though, can’t leave it alone, and tries to save it.

“But I heard Pinehurst 6 is a par-3,” Golic tries, in vain.

Wingo has him again. Bless him.

“No, it’s not a par-3. That would be The  Cradle, the new situation (at Pinehurst).”

Golic now, though, seems excited.

“Oh, now that’s what I would like,” Golic says, before getting even more info from Wingo, who continues to preach the Pinehurst gospel.

Truly, fellas, thanks for the kind words. And Golic, you’re welcome any time to try The Cradle.

Or Pinehurst No. 6.

As for you, Trey? The tee is yours.

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The numbers are in: The Cradle rocks

A quick look at the numbers from the first 2 months The Cradle was open

The Cradle opened in late September, and its first two months to finish the Fall season were remarkable. A few numbers from those initial months:

  • More than 6,100 rounds were played on the new 9-hole, 789-yard short course.
  • The busiest day had 174 golfers play, and the largest group was a 12-some.
  • With a $50 greens fee that includes replay rounds that same day, the average time to play one round was just over an hour.
  • In those first few weeks, more than 220 juniors under 17 played for free with a paid adult while Pinehurst Country Club members played 2,100 rounds and hosted 706 guests.
  • Since opening, more than 30 holes-in-one have been recorded, with aces coming from players ages 8 to 84.
  • In a unique event, Pinehurst teaching professional Kelly Mitchum played the short course from sunrise to sunset on the winter solstice – the shortest day of the year – and finished 26 complete rounds for a total of 234 holes. He shot 12 under par for the day.

With holes ranging from 40 yards to 127 yards, The Cradle features native sandscape and wiregrass common to the original courses of Pinehurst. But it’s the sounds and sights emanating from the course daily that reveal what the course has meant to players in the opening months.

“I love seeing people sitting outside the clubhouse basking in this great scene. I feel like The Cradle reinforces the true golf spirit that is such a part of Pinehurst.” -Cradle designer Gil Hanse

“I love seeing people sitting outside the clubhouse basking in this great scene,” says Cradle designer Gil Hanse. “I feel like The Cradle reinforces the true golf spirit that is such a part of Pinehurst.”

Cradle plans for 2018 include a live segment on Golf Channel’s popular Morning Drive show in March, a day to bring your dog to the course, a concert series, Women’s Golf Day program, fundraisers, a spring break kids program and other unique ideas that are being dreamed up daily.

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The “Throwaway” Hole-In-One on The Cradle

In 1923, Ray Elliott was a caddie at the Laconia Country Club in central New Hampshire. He came from a poor family, but found himself drawn to the game of golf.

Elliott didn’t have money for clubs, but the players he caddied for did. In those days, of course, golfers played hickory-shafted clubs, and whether they fell out of favor for their less-than-inspired play or because they were so worn, many of Laconia’s regulars would eventually toss those old hickories in a scrap heap of sorts. They had a name for the abandoned brassies and niblicks: Throwaways.

Ray Elliott lived for those throwaways.

Elliott collected clubs when he could, and started playing golf at 9 years old. Eventually he completed a set in only the most basic sense of the word – no two clubs in Ray Elliott’s bag matched.

Ray Elliott in 1948.

Yet by 15, Elliott was a scratch golfer. He played into his 70s, spending much of that time better than scratch as a plus-player, and handed down not only his name to his son, but the love of golf.

“He taught me the game,” Elliott, the son, says. “You should’ve seen his swing. People used to stop and watch him swing those old clubs. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Ray Elliott, now 67 and a member of Pinehurst Country Club, shares something else with his dad – an affinity for hickory clubs. The younger Elliott also doesn’t have quite a matching set still, but that’s because two of his hickory clubs were once his father’s. Even his dad’s old putter, a 1950s-era Bristol Dandy with a copper shaft, is always in Elliott’s bag. Every time Ray Elliott plays golf, he carries his dad with him.

Ray Elliott, with his father’s niblick on the 3rd hole of The Cradle.

And so the Elliott’s were together, as they always are, on Pinehurst’s short course, The Cradle, on Monday. And whenever Elliott plays The Cradle, he always uses his hickories, including one of his dad’s original throwaways, a 1920s niblick.

It was with that club that Elliott aced the Punchbowl, The Cradle’s third hole. Playing by himself, Elliott lined the throwaway off the steep hill behind the pin, and watched from the tee as the ball began its rolling descent. By the time he reached the green, Elliott didn’t see a ball.

“I knew it had to be in the hole,” he says.

Elliott asked the group in front of him to walk with him to the cup to verify the hole-in-one. A shiver went through him.

“It’s not so much that it was a hole-in-one,” Elliott says, his eyes misting. “It’s that I had done it with my father’s club. With that club.”

A throwaway.

Ray Elliott takes a practice swing with his father’s niblick on the 3rd hole of The Cradle.

Since The Cradle opened, a debate has simmered along its sandscape and waving wiregrass: Is a hole-in-one on a short course equivalent to an ace on a regular golf course?

Elliott now has four holes-in-one. But, to that question, with eyes still wet, he is firm with his answer.

“This hole-in-one means more to me than all three of the other ones combined,” he says. “This one will stay with me for the rest of my life.”

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