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Just as it did the 99th, 105th and 114th renewals, the eighteen magnificent holes of Pinehurst’s No.2 Course will settle the 124th US Open this week.

Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka and over 150 others will peg it up in a bid to succeed Wyndham Clark as the United States’ national champion, joining the late Payne Stewart, Michael Campbell and Martin Kaymer in winning the title in this pocket of North Carolina.

Founded by Boston soda fountain magnate James Walker Tufts in the last few years of the 19th century, Pinehurst is one of the most historic and acclaimed golf resorts in the US. It’s also one of the biggest. It held the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest golf resort until it was overtaken by Mission Hills Golf Club in China.

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There are three hotels, multiple different clubhouses, villas, condos, restaurants, and lots of other leisure facilities. It is, quite simply, not your average golf resort.

And that’s to say nothing of its ten 18-hole courses – TEN! – and solitary, acclaimed nine-hole track.

It all adds up to 189 holes of golf heaven. Here’s a little guide to each of the courses…

Pinehurst golf No.1
A view from behind the green on the par 4, 10th hole on the No.1 Course (Pic: David Cannon / Getty Images)


Opened: 1901
Designer: Donald Ross
Yards / Slope: 6,089 / 118

The first nine holes at Pinehurst were drawn up by Leroy Culver in 1897, followed a year later by another nine designed by John Dunn Tucker. It was, though, Donald Ross who stitched them together in 1901, creating what has become known as Pinehurst No.1.

The par-3 ninth hole on No.2 (Pic: David Cannon / Getty Images)


Opened: 1907
Designer: Donald Ross
Yards / Slope: 7,562/ 138

The main attraction. No.2 was also designed by Donald Ross and is widely considered his magnum opus. The Scots-born architect described it as “the fairest test of championship golf I have ever designed”. A redesign of the course by RT Jones in 1974 saw thick Bermuda rough installed through the course, which lasted until a restoration of Ross’ original course in 2010 by Bull Coore and Ben Crenshaw. Instead of rough, golfers who miss the fairway now have to play from hardpan sand and native scrub – just as Ross intended. In addition to three editions of the US Open, the multi-award-winning course has also staged several PGA Tour events, a PGA Championship, the 1951 Ryder Cup, the US Women’s Open, the US Senior Open and three editions of the US Amateur (most recently in 2019 when Andy Ogletree took the title). Without doubt, this is one of the finest courses on the planet.

The par-3 fourth on Pinehurst No.3 (Pic: David Cannon / Getty Images)


Opened: 1910
Designer: Donald Ross
Yards / Slope: 5,155 / 125

By far the shortest of the 18-hole courses at Pinehurst, No.3 is a classic Ross design, with its tiny greens placing a real premium on accuracy and ball-striking. It underwent slight modifications in 2018 to accommodate the creation of ‘The Cradle’ – more on that shortly – but it remains true to Ross’ original ethos.

Pinehurst golf
The closing hole on the No.4 course (Pic: David Cannon / Getty Images)


Opened: 1919
Designer: Donald Ross
Yards / Slope: 7,227 / 138

Arguably the second-best course at Pinehurst, Ross was the original designer of the No.4 course. However, it has undergone so many significant changes in the century since it opened for play that the Scot is no longer credited by the resort as its architect. Robert Trent Jones redesigned it in 1973, before Rees Jones in 1982 and Tom Fazio in 1999 made their own modifications. Another major redesign carried out in 2018 by Gil Hanse saw the course stripped of much of its rough and replaced with native sandscapes, much like the No.2 course. Hanse also removed the pot bunkers installed by Fazio, which many considered out of place at Pinehurst.

The devilish 12th hole on the No.5 course Pinehurst (Pic: David Cannon / Getty Images)


Opened: 1961
Designer: Ellis Maples
Yards / Slope: 6,828 / 135

An understudy of Ross, Ellis Maples stepped out of his mentor’s shadow to design the No.5 course at Pinehurst. It has a more noticeable parkland style than its rugged predecessors.


Opened: 1979
Designer: George Fazio / Tom Fazio
Yards / Slope: 7,053/ 139

A collaboration between George Fazio and his nephew Tom, the No.6 course is located several miles from the main resort – a consequence of the resort being out of land – and plats out of a different clubhouse. Like No.5, it, too, has a more parkland feel to it, with numerous lakes and more traditional bunker shapes amongst the most noticeable features.


Opened: 1986
Designer: Rees Jones
Yards / Slope: 7,216/ 142

The seventh course at Pinehurst was built on the site of a forgotten nine-hole employee course originally designed by – you guessed it – Donald Ross. It features the most uneven topography of the Pinehurst courses. Fun fact: Tiger Woods won the Big I Junior Classic on this particular layout way back in 1992.

The par-3 13th on the No.8 course (Pic: David Cannon / Getty Images)


Opened: 1996
Designer: Tom Fazio
Yards / Slope: 7,099/ 137

Widely acknowledged as the most likely contender to No.4’s status as the second-best course at Pinehurst, No.8 opened in 1996 to celebrate the resort’s 100-year anniversary. With the least amount of housing, it offers possibly the most peaceful round and winds through wetlands and forests. A two-time host of the PGA Club Pro Championship.


Opened: 1988
Designer: Jack Nicklaus
Yards / Slope: 7,106 / 143

No.9 was originally a private club known as ‘National Golf Club’ but was purchased by Pinehurst in 2014 and, like the other courses under its ownerships, was made available to all resort guests. It is a classic Nicklaus design, with lush grass, thick rough and extremely tricky greens.

The Cradle is the only nine-hole course at Pinehurst (Pic: David Cannon / Getty Images)

The Cradle

Opened: 2017
Designer: Gil Hanse
Yards / Slope: 789 / NA

A simply wonderful nine-hole par-3 course that was designed by the acclaimed Gil Hanse and opened for play in 2017. Holes range in length from 56 to 127 yards. Terrific.


Opened: 2024
Designer: Tom Doak
Yards / Slope: 7,020 / TBD

Built on the site of the former Pit Golf Course, No.10 opened in April this year – the first new course to be built at Pinehurst in nearly three decades. You’ll find it three miles south of the main resort clubhouse in Aberdeen. “The site is topographically distinct and drastically different from anywhere in Pinehurst,” explained Doak at its opening. “It’s bigger, bolder and more dramatic. There’s about 75 feet of elevation change, and we worked our way up to it around the mid-point of the layout. You have expansive views from this apex over the rest of the course. It’s an unforgettable experience for golfers.”

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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