When the first wave of Scots Irish immigrants came to North Carolina in the 1730s, they were the pioneers of a wave of migration to the area that would continue well into the 20th century. The Scots who had left the lowlands of their home country for Ulster had now made their way across the ocean and brought with them a host of music, dress, and traditions that were the foundations of Appalachian culture and a link between worlds old and new.
Over 150 years later, in 1895, another Scottish transplant arrived in the Pinehurst area of North Carolina’s Sandhills: the game of golf. Originally opened as a health retreat by Boston businessman James Walker Tufts, Pinehurst Resort today has the distinction of being one of North America’s highest-rated and most popular golfing destinations. And the resort shows no signs of slowing down.
While golf fans may be most familiar with No. 2, the legendary U.S. Open venue that hosted Payne Stewart’s heroics in 1999, Pinehurst has, for the last 30 years, been home to nine full golf courses on its expansive property. That is set to change in April 2024 with the opening of No. 10, a new course for the resort designed by renowned golf-course architect Tom Doak and his firm Renaissance Golf Design.
This newest addition is the only the latest development in the storied history of the place known as “The Cradle of American Golf.” Author and golf historian Lee Pace says, “There are probably three dozen courses in Moore County now as a result” of Pinehurst. As the new addition to a particularly strong golfing region that includes not only No. 2 but also U.S Women’s Open host Pine Needles, the well-regarded Mid Pines, and cult favourite Tobacco Road, the new course at Pinehurst enters a competitive landscape.
To ensure it stands out, Pinehurst tapped Doak, designer of top-rated courses such as Pacific Dunes in Oregon and Tara Iti on New Zealand’s North Island. Pinehurst No. 10 occupies part of a 900-acre site just over six kilometres from the main resort at Pinehurst, on ground that is home to a defunct quarry and an aborted previous attempt at a golf course.
In a relatively flat region, Doak was able to use the leftover dunes from the quarrying operation midway through the routing. “The site is topographically distinct and drastically different from anywhere in Pinehurst,” he says. “It’s bigger, bolder, and more dramatic. There’s about 75 feet of elevation change, and we’ll work our way up to it around the midpoint of the layout. You’ll have expansive views from this apex over the rest of the course. It will be an unforgettable experience for golfers.”
When No. 10 opens in April, Pinehurst will provide a dozen options for golfers, with its 18-hole layouts, the Thistle Dhu putting course, and the ever-popular Cradle, a nine-hole short course where players can test their wedge game.
Lee Pace says the recent development is as much “a spin-off from the post-COVID golf boom that we have enjoyed” as anything else. When early designs were drawn up for the site where No. 10 now sits, the owners felt the demand wasnʻt there. Instead, Pace says, they wound up buying another course that is now called Pinehurst No. 9. “For six years, that [No. 9] became the ‘new course’ that fulfilled demand, but they decided they needed another golf course.” With the soon to open No. 10, Pinehurst is cementing its reputation as one of the premier golf destinations not only in America but worldwide, and there is still room for more.
Of the potential for further growth on the site, CEO Bob Dedman Jr. says, “This exceptional property is a place where many of our dreams of the future can be contemplated. How those dreams play out will be determined over time, the same way the path forward revealed itself through recent additions like The Cradle, Thistle Dhu, and the redesign of Pinehurst No. 4.”
For those looking to stay and play at Pinehurst, the resort has six lodgings: The Carolina Hotel, Holly Inn, The Manor, villas, condos, and The Magnolia Inn. In addition, there are numerous off-site eating and drinking options, such as Pinehurst Brewing Company, a brewery and restaurant in an old steam plant that serves smoked-on-site barbecued meats.