Editor’s Note: Over the next two weeks as the year comes to a close, Pinehurst will reveal its Top 10 Stories from 2017. We’ll have one recap a day with links to the original stories if you would like to reflect more. We appreciate your engagement with each of these stories and several others from throughout the year, and we look forward to making more news in 2018.
And since we like numbers at Pinehurst, that’s exactly how we’ll count these down:
Anytime there is substantial work on a golf course at Pinehurst, it has to be considered pretty big news. The first traces of Pinehurst’s multiyear plan to restore much of the original characteristics to the Pinehurst golf experience came on Pinehurst No. 3 in 2017. With the first holes of Courses 3 and 5 being used for the coming Cradle short course, both No. 5 and No. 3 were re-routed, with the bulk of the work coming on No. 3.
Two new par-3s were added and two other holes were redone to create a reimagined No. 3 as a par-68 golf course. And with the re-routing came an opportunity for noted designer Kyle Franz to hop on large equipment and restore the native grasses and sandscape that was original to the course. But while No. 3 may be more aesthetically pleasing again, it’s more notable for the added strategy that is back in play. Some of that strategy can be in the modern sense of the game – try to drive a short par-4 to a devilish turtleback green or try 4-iron and a wedge?
But there’s a return of vintage strategy as well, as author Chris Buie writes about the No. 3 work:
Ross balances the ledger by having the 15th offer a real opportunity for birdie. The unusually wide variety of holes is continued here with terrain that is the opposite of the 14th. The 15th tee shot plays sharply downhill to a wide fairway. The fairway ‘cants’ left to right, adding yet more playing interest. Those attempting to reach the shortish par-5 in two will have to contend with one of the most intriguing bunkers Ross ever did. In modern times the angular gully that crosses the entire fairway had been grassed in. Now it’s back to the sandy, rustic look of earlier days. This will enhance the strategic as well as aesthetic aspects.
All in all, No. 3 has become a more fun, playable course that reflects the vintage looks and charms of early Ross designs in Pinehurst.
If there was a theme to Pinehurst in 2017, that was it. And it would be visited again.