Pinehurst News

The Best 2-Hole Playoff Scenarios on Pinehurst No. 2

With the USGA’s announcement that future Open championships would now be decided by a two-hole aggregate playoff instead of the longstanding 18-hole tradition, we asked around and took a look at what might be some of the most fun two-hole combinations should there be a playoff at the 2024 U.S. Open on Pinehurst No. 2.

A few things to start:

  1. It would be hard to imagine one of the holes not being the 18th. That’s where the grandstand seating 10,000-plus is always built. It’s also the scene of perhaps Pinehurst’s most famous moment. So, we’ll definitely look at 18th-hole scenarios, but for fun, we’ll look at a bunch of others as well.
  2. Many people have wondered how a 3-hole playoff might be more ideal. That’s a reasonable consideration, but we’ll stick to two holes*.
  3. In each scenario, we chose two holes relatively close to each other.
  4. We know the USGA will make this decision; we’re just having some fun with it.
  5. We’re using yardages from the 2014 U.S. Open.
    *Well, we bend the rules for one of them.

Finally, when we posed the question on Twitter and Facebook, a lot of the initial answers were the same. So we’ll start there.

4th Hole, Par 4, 529 yards
5th Hole, Par 5, 576 yards

When the pars of these two holes were changed to more reflect Donald Ross’ original design, two-time U.S. Open Champion Curtis Strange remarked that he always considered that two-hole stretch a par-9, anyway. The holes do feel like a packaged deal. It’s a tremendous spot on No. 2, and the 4th and 5th may make for the most dramatic-looking tee shots anywhere on the course. Of course, they’re also pretty far away from the clubhouse and most spectators.

17th Hole, Par 3, 205 yards
18th Hole, Par 4, 451 yards

This seems like the most logistically likely scenario. And while the 18th certainly gave us Payne’s moment in time, the par-3 17th has perhaps been even more instrumental in deciding Pinehurst’s U.S. Open champions. In 1999, Payne knocked it stiff to take a 1-shot lead over Phil Mickelson (see above). In 2005, Michael Campbell made birdie to slam the door, and in 2014, Michelle Wie made a rollicking birdie putt down the hill to clinch her major championship. Oh, and Tiger Woods bogeyed 17 on both Sundays in 1999 and 2005, ending his hopes. Big-time hole.

14th Hole, Par 4, 473 yards
13th Hole, Par 4, 315 yards

An idea first raised by Pinehurst resident and former PGA Tour player Darron Stiles, and it’s a beauty: Play the long par-4 14th, with its devilish green, then come back up the hill and play the 13th as a drivable par-4. (Ed Hardin of The Greensboro News-Record had the same thought within minutes of Darron.)

What a delicious idea. It works for proximity to the clubhouse, and the reverse routing of the two holes is extra cool. It’s one of the prettiest spots on No. 2 and features the widest expanse of sandscape and wiregrass. And that area as the sun is going down? Divine.

Throw in a front-right hole location on 13, and the potential for calamity is palpable. We like this one.

16th Hole, Par 4, 528 yards
18th Hole, Par 4, 451 yards

Keeps 18 in play, but includes one of the toughest holes not just on No. 2, but in U.S. Open history. And seeing the B-roll of Payne’s ridiculous save on 16 in 1999 never gets old (see above).

3rd Hole, Pinehurst No. 2

3rd Hole, Par 4, 320 yards
6th Hole, Par 3, 242 yards

Play the 3rd as a drivable par 4, and then walk over to play the 6th, one of the toughest greens and bunker complexes on No. 2. Here’s the beauty of this – the potential of someone going eagle-birdie and winning a two-hole aggregate with a score of FOUR. (A score of 9 or 10 isn’t out of the question, either.) Sure, it’s far away, but Deuces on the Deuce to win!

The Cradle*

Probably our most popular response when we posed the question. (Y’all really like The Cradle.) The options are seemingly endless here, so much so that we’re throwing out the two-hole aggregate. Options include:

  • Playing the entire 789-yard course. It only takes an hour for us to play, so let’s see the pros.
  • First ace on the Punchbowl, The Cradle’s 3rd hole, wins.
  • Want just two holes? Fine. Two holes, one club.

And finally:
On the 4th tee, a player can see all nine greens of The Cradle. Here’s the game: Each player gets nine golf balls and plays one shot to each green. A couple of greens are simple chip shots, though with greens running away from the player. Some would be 200 yards away. Champion is the player who hits the highest percentage of greens in regulation.

A ball-striker’s paradise.

And if there’s still a tie? Turn up the music.

Thistle Dhu awaits.

Have other ideas? We’d love to hear them. Comment below or tweet to us @PinehurstResort.

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USGA announces 2-hole aggregate playoff to all Open Championships

Some really interesting news out of the USGA today:

Now, this begs the question: Should there be a playoff at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2024, which two holes should be used?

Pretty popular choice.

An interesting shuttle ride. Perhaps drones will be more than adequate by 2024…

Now we’re talking…

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More Daylight = More Pinehurst

That day has come. Everyone who loves golf looks forward to it.

No, not the start of The Masters.

Before that.

On March 11, Daylight Savings Time began. Or, better known, it’s time to Spring Forward.

Here’s how you can fill those extra hours at Pinehurst:

Pinehurst No. 8

Play 36

It’s the tried and true method of tackling the most golf possible. And with nine championship golf courses, Pinehurst is the ideal fit for any golfer who desires the opportunity to play a different course every day, even at 36 a day. Each of Pinehurst’s courses offers a unique charm different from the others, all of them reflecting the eras in which they were originally built.


The Cradle

It’s the ideal way to lengthen your day with a club in your hand at Pinehurst. Designed by noted architect Gil Hanse, The Cradle, our 789-yard, 9-hole short course can be played in about an hour. And with more than 30 aces in just the few months it’s been open, there is a chance at magic in every swing. Replay rounds are free, so enjoy The Cradle as music plays during Pinehurst’s golden hours as the sun dips lower.


Thistle Dhu

Our 18-hole putting course, Thistle Dhu, meanders around the famed Putter Boy statue and is located next to The Cradle, giving it the same glowing vistas at dusk and sunset. All you need is a putter, a ball and perhaps a cool beverage, which can be set into each hole’s tee marker (upper right photo) as you try a devilish and fun putt. It’s the perfect way to gently stroll in the fading light.


The Deuce overlooks the 18th hole of Pinehurst No. 2.

The Deuce

Tired bones and achy muscles from playing 36 the day before? Take a break with a mid-morning round of golf and then relax that afternoon and early evening with a craft beer or signature cocktail at the Deuce. Whether inside at the open-air bar or seated on the same veranda where golf enthusiasts have been watching players finish their rounds for more than a century, there is nothing like a cool evening listening to the nearby Village Chapel’s chimes mark each passing hour as golfers approach the clubhouse.


If it works for Jordan Spieth, it’ll work for you.

Try Cryotherapy

The Spa at Pinehurst’s hours run to 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday and to 6 p.m. on Sunday. That gives you some time at the end of a long and fulfilling day at the course for a chance to get a quick cryotherapy treatment. Cyrotherapy only takes 3 minutes and will leave you refreshed and on the quick road to recovery for your next day. Trust us, it works.


Every day at Pinehurst is a good a beautiful one. And of course, there are several other things we’d recommend:

  • A walk through the Village of Pinehurst;
  • Tour the Tufts Archives and learn the history of Pinehurst;
  • See that history in vivid imagery in The Carolina Hotel’s renovated history hallway;
  • Sit in a rocking chair on the veranda of the Ryder Cup Lounge at The Carolina as the bagpiper plays his evening serenade;
  • Repeat next year.

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A Young Scot’s First Look at Pinehurst No. 2

The East Lothian Junior Golf League from Scotland stands at the clubhouse before playing a match against Pinecrest High School on Pinehurst No. 2. Harry Rogan is second from right.

By Alex Podlogar

With the bronzed countenance of Donald Ross peering over his shoulder, Harry Rogan couldn’t help but have his stare drawn to the nearby 18th green of Pinehurst No. 2. Tall and broad well beyond his 17 years, Rogan would’ve towered over his countryman Ross. But it was the diminutive Scot’s legacy that loomed large instead.

“Those greens,” Rogan says in a trailing, wistful Scottish lilt native to his hometown of Haddington. A slight nod and a shake of the head brings him back a bit, his eyes, though, still radiant.

“It’s an extremely historical place,” Rogan says. “Being designed by Donald Ross, with U.S. Opens and a Ryder Cup having been here, and all the famous names who have played here, when I go home, whether I’ve played bad or good, it will have been a memorable experience because it’s Pinehurst.”

Rogan is a member of the East Lothian Junior Golf League, a group of 10 junior golfers who traveled from Scotland this month to play a variety of courses, several of them at Pinehurst. Their trip was capped with participation in a Winternationals Junior Series event, though earlier in the week, they played a friendly four-ball match on No. 2 with local high school Pinecrest, the three-time defending state champions who are ranked seventh in the nation.

It was there Rogan and his teammates were re-engaged with, and re-educated by, their countryman.

“If you’re on the green in one, you’re OK,” Rogan explains. “But if you peel off to the right or left, just a little bit, you’re off the green into a bunker or a roll-off, and you’re faced with a classic Donald Ross dilemma.

“You may think you’ve hit the right club, but if you’ve hit it high, and it spins back, there you go because the greens are so much more reactive.”

“If you’re on the green in one, you’re OK. But if you peel off to the right or left, just a little bit, you’re off the green into a bunker or a roll-off, and you’re faced with a classic Donald Ross dilemma.” -Harry Rogan

These are reflective moments for Rogan. A day has passed since he came off that 18th green, and still the shots stay with him. He ponders what happened out there – the bounces that strayed into the sandy wiregrass, the creativity he found forced to consider when only a few passing minutes before he might’ve thought nothing but full steam ahead with the driver in hand.

“You can stand on the tee, and think to yourself, ‘Well, it does look kind of simple.’ But, realistically, if you mess up just slightly, you are faced with the full effect of Donald Ross. Too hard, and you’re off the green. Too soft with it, and you’re facing something edgy for bogey.”

David Warren, the secretary of the East Lothian Junior Golf League, speaks to players before they play a match on Pinehurst No. 2.

The gregarious man who brought Rogan and his mates to Pinehurst stands idly by, wearing the cherubic grin of a man who knows. Few understand and feel the game like David Warren and his fellow Scots. He’s watching as Rogan works through his memory, mixing appreciation with some sort of soft-spoken awe. Were Warren to stand next to the Ross statue staring kindly back at the both of them, the similarities would be as striking as they are in contrast with the lad.

He’s watching as Rogan works through his memory, mixing appreciation with some sort of soft-spoken awe.

“Clearly, what struck us the most is the severity of these greens,” Warren says, building to a genial patter. “You can see why we kicked Donald Ross out of Scotland.”

And why, when Rogan, Warren and the others returned home, they had Pinehurst No. 2 to bring with them.

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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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