Pinehurst No. 2 is consistently ranked as one of the top courses in the U.S. and the World by Golf Magazine's panel of experts.
Pinehurst also earned Platinum status in Golf Magazine's 2012 Premier Resort rankings
Not since the sand greens were converted to grass in 1935 has venerable Pinehurst No. 2 witnessed such a remarkable transformation as it did in 2011.
Architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw yanked out 35 acres of primary Bermuda rough that had flanked the fairways, leaving in its stead hardpan, sandy scrub, pine straw and wispy wiregrass, all to reestablish the risk/reward driving experience established by Donald Ross. Fairway edges have a browner, more natural look that blends better with the sandy areas that seep into the pines.
Fairway widths increased by 50 percent, the iconic greens were deflated—with unnatural crowns and wings reduced more to existing grade—and bunkers were restored and re-shaped. Restoring the course to its 1936 PGA Championship playability and returning the layout to the one revered by Hogan, Snead and Armour was a masterstroke.
In 2014, No. 2 will host the men's and women's U.S. Opens in back-to-back weeks.
The resort, established in 1894, offers eight outstanding courses. With the opening of No. 8, the Centennial Course, in 1996, Pinehurst now has more holes than any other resort in the United States.
Other courses at Pinehurst
* The No. 1 course is the most scenic and picturesque.
* The No. 3 course is a typical Donald Ross design, featuring dome-shaped greens.
* No. 4: This piece of property has been reshaped more times than Joan Rivers's nose, and only the original routing done by Donald Ross in 1919 remains after Tom Fazio's redesign. No. 4 is an undeniably fun, quality resort course, and like all Fazio courses makes for terrific eye candy. But whereas the upturned saucer greens are at home on No. 2, they seem contrived on a course of this recent vintage—the architectural equivalent of Xeroxing the Mona Lisa and calling it a "tribute."
* No. 5 is very tight and has numerous out-of-bounds stakes lining its fairways.
* No. 6 is extremely long and has many elevated greens.
* No. 7: There are some fine holes here—notably the seventh, a short par 4 that demands a stomach-churning approach shot over wetlands—but this isn't quite seventh heaven. The endless sequence of elevated greens—there are 13 of them in all—and the similarity of several holes on the back nine gives the layout a repetitive feel that it probably doesn't deserve. The homes lining the fairways give the course a claustrophobic feel that is deserved.
* No. 8: This is arguably the most enjoyable course to play at Pinehurst after No. 2, with a charming mix of holes that range from inviting to downright intimidating. Be warned: The ever-encroaching trees and scattered wetlands also mean you're more likely to lose a ball at No. 8 than on any other course at the resort.