Three Golf Itineraries for the Entire Family at the Cradle of American Golf

Hundreds of golf families visit the Pinehurst area each year.

Many to attend tournaments and golf schools. The U.S. Kids Golf Foundation is located at the Longleaf Golf and Family Club in Southern Pines. The U.S. Kids Golf World Championship and World Teen Championship are held here at Pinehurst Resort every summer, as is the North & South Junior Championship.

And that only scratches the surface. For every family who arrives as part of a sanctioned competition there are a dozen more visiting the Cradle of American Golf to simply have a great time and learn as much about the game as they can in a few days.

Here are three handy itineraries for maximum fun, multi-generational golf trips ranging from beginner to advanced.

Kids will love our putting course, Thistle Dhu. So will you.Kids will love our putting course, Thistle Dhu. So will you.

For The Beginner

Playing a regulation golf course, even from the forward tees, can be one of the most intimidating experiences a beginning golfer can have. Way too often we see junior golfers thrust into this situation. For kids – and parents – who are new to the game, we recommend the following itinerary:


  • Check-in is in the afternoon, but we welcome all guests to arrive for golf as early as they’d like.
  • Enjoy a morning putting lesson on our 75,000 square-foot 18-hole putting course, Thistle Dhu.
  • Lunch at The Deuce: Deuce Burger, side of hand-cut fries all washed down with a molten chocolate cake.
  • Hit a few balls together at Maniac Hill, our 14-acre practice range, where nearly 10 million balls are hit annually.
  • After checking in, head to dinner at the Pinehurst Brewing Co., and if it’s a Monday or Tuesday night, order up a few racks of baby back Railroad Ribs for the entire crew.


  • Grab a healthy breakfast at The Carolina, replete with lots of fruits and grains, to fuel up for the day.
  • Engage the entire family is two 18-hole putting rounds on Thistle Dhu, one for fun and the other for score. The winner gets to pick out a gift from the golf shop.
  • Head over to The Tavern at the Holly Inn for lunch and start out with a couple baskets of the famous Southern Hushpuppies.


  • It’s a splurge morning at the Carolina Hotel breakfast buffet because today’s the day your junior golfer graduates to his or her first full round of golf on The Cradle.
  • Book a mid-morning tee time on The Cradle, our par-3 short course designed by golf course architect Gil Hanse.
  • Before departing, hit the Ryder Cup Lounge for nachos, wings and a “slice” of the famous “Mile High Key Lime Pie.” (You’ll know the reason for its name when it arrives at your table.)

Getting Better? For the Intermediate Player

The junior golfers in your group know the rules of the game (don’t worry, we won’t quiz them), are mastering its etiquette and have logged a number of rounds on regulation golf courses from the PGA Junior or forward tees.

That stated, they’re not ready to play “championship caliber” courses like No 2, No. 4 and No. 8. If this sounds like your crew, here’s an itinerary that effortlessly straddles the line between beginner and advanced. Dining suggestions remain the same but feel free to mix it up:


  • After arriving and checking in, play a relaxing round on The Cradle, followed by a putting contest on Thistle Dhu. The winner gets to tee off first tomorrow.


  • Saddle-up the pushcarts and get ready for a nice walking round on No. 1, a playable Donald Ross original standing in at just over 6,000 yards.
  • Work on those approach, pitching and chip shots at The Cradle in the afternoon; or this is a great opportunity for mom and dad to relax in a chair with a drink while the kids go it alone.


  • Get the flat sticks ready, it’s time to take on beguiling Pinehurst No. 3. Its turtleback greens are reminiscent of famed No. 2 and will get the kids ready for taking on the vaunted layout next year.

It’s time for Pinehurst No. 2.It’s time for Pinehurst No. 2.

Getting Good? For the Advanced Player

Advanced junior golfers are playing competitively in a circuit like the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) or U.S. Kids Golf. Younger players are likely playing from the forward or middle tees on regulation courses. Older ones have moved back to the “blue” or back tees and have sampled a few tournament-caliber venues.


  • After arriving and checking in, play No. 5 , a timeless and eminently playable Ellis Maples design that is the perfect way to ease into a three-day golf trip to Pinehurst.
  • If daylight permits, head over to The Cradle for a final short-game tune-up before taking on No. 2 tomorrow.


  • It’s the moment your accomplished junior golfers have waited for, a chance to play where the pros play on vaunted No. 2.
  • Donald Ross-designed greens can expose weaknesses in your family’s putting, so spend an afternoon hour or so fine-tuning the flat blade on Thistle Dhu.


  • Time to take on Gil Hanse’s acclaimed reimagination of No. 4, cohost of the 2019 U.S. Amateur and 2020 North & South Junior Championship.