Coolest spots in golf: Donald Ross’s Pinehurst cottage

January 11, 2019
A look inside the house Donald Ross and his wife built at Pinehurst.

As you might expect from one of golf’s great architectural minds, Donald Ross’s former home is a true original. The Scotsman came to Pinehurst at the turn of the century to work as a golf pro, but he got more than he bargained for: a thriving design career and his wife, Florence, an American.

Ross built the couple’s home along his No. 2 course; he called it Dornoch Cottage, after his beloved hometown. The structure is a testament to the famed designer—and to marital compromise. The couple couldn’t settle on an overall style, so the home’s facade features Scottish-style stone and arches, while the rear boasts the veranda and white columns of a traditional Southern mansion.

Ross lived in the home until his death in 1948. Pinehurst took ownership of the Dornoch Cottage in 2017 and architect Gil Hanse bunked there for six months while redesigning the recently reopened No. 4 course. The resort now allows special guests to stay there, so get on their good side (or get hired to design one of their courses!) and you just might get in the door.

1. Closest to the Pin

While you’re crashing at Ross’s pad, you’ll hopefully get the green light to wander through the back gate and straight onto No. 2’s third green.

A view of Pinehurst No. 2 outside of Donald Ross's house.
Pinehurst No. 2 out the back window? Yes, please.
Christopher Sturman

2. Mighty Finery

The designer had a style all his own. Today you can try pulling off the Donald Ross look by purchasing threads from his namesake clothing line.

Donald Ross's desk at Pinehurst.
Historic, and awesome, golf memorabilia is all over the house.
Christopher Sturman

3. Playing All the Angles

Surprisingly, Ross’s office didn’t overlook his course; it faced a railroad line that ran past Pinehurst. According to legend, Ross would leave his desk lamp illuminated so passengers might buzz about what course he was working on next.

Donald Ross's desk at Pinehurst.
A peek inside Ross’s office.