Pinehurst Golf Tips Archive

Come through under pressure…like Payne in 1999

Know who didn’t choke under pressure?

Payne Stewart in 1999.

Payne was ready for the big moment, and that had a lot to do with his making the 15-foot putt to win the U.S. Open at Pinehurst.

The Pinehurst Golf Academy’s Eric Alpenfels recalls how Payne Stewart’s coach helped Payne prepare for the magical moment at Pinehurst in 1999. Why did Payne make the putt? Because he had a gameplan all along.

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Golf Tip – Stop Missing Short Putts

The Goal
Pinehurst Golf Academy Director of Instruction Eric Alpenfels shows you how to stop missing short putts.

The Problem

In putting, failing to strike the center of the putterface by mere fractions will immediately send the ball off line, resulting in missed putts, even from short distances.

The Fix
In a drill you can even do in your office, you can improve your consistency in hitting the golf ball with the center of the clubface, resulting in fewer 3-putts to make more of those stressful 3- and 4-footers.

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5 Reasons to Choose the Pinehurst Golf Academy

Golfers can fall into a trap, beating balls on the range endlessly and hoping to find the magic somewhere in the dirt. After all, it worked for Hogan.

But we’re not Hogan.

Here are five reasons why you should seek help at the Pinehurst Golf Academy.

It’s Science

While the Pinehurst Golf Academy is routinely listed as one the best golf schools in the world, there are a few things that set it apart even further. Much of what Pinehurst does – its teaching methods, its drills, its coaching – is rooted in substantial research and science.

Master Golf Professional and the Director of the Pinehurst Golf Academy, Eric Alpenfels, is a regular presenter at the World Scientific Congress of Golf – held every four years and hosted by, ahem, St. Andrews. Why? Because Alpenfels’ research over the last 25 years is that highly regarded in all facets of golf, from instruction to technology to equipment. It’s nice to have Einstein in a polo watching your swing.

Something called “Transfer Practice”

Pinehurst’s practice range, dubbed Maniac Hill, is one of the very first practice ranges in all of golf. And while a good deal of Golf Academy instruction is done on this historic land, well, there are NINE golf courses at Pinehurst. So you’ll want to get on the course, right?

Well, getting back to research, Alpenfels over the years has found that a golfer is going to improve more quickly if he can immediately take what he’s learned at the range to the course. And so in Pinehurst, there’s on-course instruction with a Pinehurst golf pro as part of the daily routine.

What’s better than learning from short-game wizard Kelly Mitchum in the morning, and then taking that info directly to the most demanding short-game course in the world, Pinehurst No. 2?


Speaking of, You Get to Meet Kelly Mitchum

He’s played in four PGA Championships, dozens of PGA Tour events, the Walker Cup, was a U.S. Amateur semifinalist and won the North & South Am. Now he’s teaching you.

Oh, and dude can do this:

You’re the VIP

There may be no better guest experience at Pinehurst than that of a Golf Academy student. Overnight accommodations, breakfast in the morning, followed by golf instruction, lunch, golf instruction on the course, time to play the course in the afternoon, evening socials and dinner, and a lot of times, new friends for life.

Like many resorts, Pinehurst encourages post-stay surveys with our guests. Every single year, the Pinehurst Golf Academy gets the highest scores in total guest satisfaction. The numbers don’t lie.

It’s Pinehurst

Ouimet. Hagen. Snead. Hogan. Nicklaus. Watson. Payne. They all won here.

The 1936 PGA Championship. The 1951 Ryder Cup. In 2024, Pinehurst will host its fourth U.S. Open in just 25 years, something no site has done in a century.

But it’s not just that history.

Now the Pinehurst experience includes The Cradle, its fun new 789-yard short course. It includes Thistle Dhu, a 75,000-square-foot, 18-hole putting course. It’s the Putter Boy. The Payne Stewart Statue. The Village Chapel chimes. The Deuce, an open-air pub overlooking the 18th hole of Pinehurst No. 2. And soon, we’ll welcome the Pinehurst Brewery and a redesigned Pinehurst No. 4.

Need we say more?

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5-year-old is too short to see his great shot

…That said, Isaac Riches, have we got a course for YOU:

This is tremendous. Hang around to watch Isaac’s reaction after being told of his shot.

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The Best Tips for Planning Your Buddy Trip

HERE ARE THE BEST TIPS to ensure you get the most out of your next buddy trip, with a little something extra off the tee for some.

9. R&D MAKES FOR THE BEST R&R It’s not how long you to plan, it’s how well you plan. If your dates are flexible, ask about specials. Many golf resorts have “shoulder seasons” such as March or November when the weather might still be great but high season rates haven’t yet kicked in. And sure, you might need an extra layer, but that extra layer might mean an extra day – and an extra 18 or 36 – as well.

Extra Club: Ask about shuttle service to and from the airport. Why drive if you don’t have to? Often airport shuttle rates are discounted depending on the number in your group. And some resorts like Pinehurst offer free shuttle service around the resort during your stay. Leave the keys – and the road rage – at home.

To plan your Pinehurst Buddy Trip, call (800) ITS-GOLF or begin with an email.

8. THE MICHAEL JORDAN RULE Play for something different. Yes, it could be a trophy. But make sure it’s interesting. Michael Jordan always had an answer when someone asked how much they’d play for: “Whatever makes you nervous.” We’d paraphrase that to be, “Whatever makes you putt the 3-footer.”

Extra Club: It doesn’t have to be for cash. How about this? Loser babysits the kids so the victor can take his wife out for dinner when they get home. Ready to concede that 3-footer now? Didn’t think so.

7. THE THROWAWAY ROUND Too much competition might lead to some frayed nerves…and tempers. Make sure to incorporate a noncompetitive round in your trip – something just for fun where scores don’t matter. Just want to get in 9, or 14? Fine. Mulligans? Sure, just don’t hold up play. Have fun, play fast. Golf is a game, after all. Enjoy it.

Extra Club: Um, duh. Try The Cradle at Pinehurst, our new 789-yard short course. All kinds of games are at your fingertips (like these), and heck, there’s a chance your entire group might even get to play together.


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6. SHIP HAPPENS Don’t fly with your clubs. Use a club shipping service like Ship Sticks. It’s what they do, they do it well, and most resorts deal directly with them. Golf bags are always the last bags off the plane and are often sent to a different area of the baggage claim. Time is golf, people.

5. THE COMMITTEE OF ONEGolf Digest’s David Owen makes the best case for this: “Give one person the overall responsibility for managing the itinerary, keeping track of reservation deadlines, reminding laggards to make their deposits, and deciding which minor tasks can safely be delegated. Having a single, reliable leader makes it less likely that critical details (such as tee times) will be forgotten and creates a clear blame path if things go wrong.”

Extra Club: Same thing applies to rules decisions. Ask the club pro to make the final decision on a rules claim. Keep the boys – and their hurt feelings – out of it.

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4. TAKE A BREAK Yes, you are there to golf. But don’t be so blind that you miss the culture, too. Why go to Ireland or Scotland and not experience what the actual country – outside of the country club – has to offer? Time off from competition helps recharge the batteries, not to mention the sore muscles and egos. Speaking of sore muscles, try the resort’s spa (View our Gentlemen’s Menu here). A treatment could go a long way, and many resorts offer spa discounts – especially midweek.


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3. TAKE A BREAK…FROM EACH OTHER: Another great tip from David Owen. Don’t feel like you have to do everything as a group all the time. “We often split up for dinner, primarily to eliminate tedious arguments about who is willing to pay how much to eat what. Doing this also occasionally generates interesting demographic data, as it did when (as someone realized later) all the Democrats went to a sushi bar while all the Republicans went to Outback.”

Extra Club: Speaking of politics, just…don’t.

2. FUN AND GAMES Mix it up with different games and different pairings for each round. But don’t get too heavy on stroke play. Ever start a round with two doubles and a triple in the first four holes? You’re done, right? Not in match play, or in…

Extra Club: Modified Stableford. As Barbara Berwick told Golf Digest, “Our group uses a modified stableford format, where you get points for bogeys and better. I didn’t want everyone to be too worried about their score. Stableford scoring rewards you for risk, which is a fun element. And they like it because we now have a big scoreboard, but people can’t tell what they actually shot.”


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1. STICK AND STAY As Dave Walker explained to Golf Digest: “If you find a place you like, stick with it. The people at the resort or the golf course, they’ll go the extra mile if they know this is a yearly thing.”

Extra Club: Some resorts offer return guests special rates. Note the name of your reservationist and ask for him or her the next time. Most likely they’ll still have your guest record, which will make planning all the easier.

Also, the better you know a course, the better you’ll play.

And isn’t that the point?

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