One of the most enjoyable rounds of golf I played in 2019 was at the often overlooked Pinehurst #3 course. While visiting the North Carolina Sandhills on assignment for The Golfer’s Journal, I had the opportunity to venture out and see some of the great courses that make the area so special. Because Pinehurst and the Sand Hills region is such a hub for golf activity, I was able to play with a wonderful assortment of good friends who had gathered there for various reasons. We took on Pinehurst #3 late one afternoon and played as a seven-some. It was a highly enjoyable experience that provided further evidence as to why the Pinehurst Resort is among the best places for golf in the United States.
Over the past decade, the Pinehurst Resort has undergone some incredible upgrades to its long storied collection of golf experiences. Among the most notable enhancements are the restoration of Pinehurst #2, the renovation of Pinehurst #4, the newly added Thistle Dhu putting course, and the creation of the Cradle Short Course. With all of those efforts gaining so much attention it is easy to see how an impressive overhaul of the #3 course could get lost in the coverage.
Pinehurst #3 is an original Donald Ross design that has been altered in a variety of ways throughout its existence. Said to be among his favorite works in the area, the #3 course still maintains much of the original Ross routing. Despite many changes over time, some holes were carved off to create the #5 course while others were lost to resort expansion, the course still has a ton of golden age charm. Now, after an extensive renovation led by architect Kye Goalby the Sand Hills aesthetic has been brought back and the course once again has a strong and attractive identity within the resort.
As the shortest of the resort’s 18 hole courses, Pinehurst #3 is perfectly tailored for a fast-paced round of golf with friends. At just over 5,000 yards long and with a par of 68, the #3 course is reminiscent of some Brittish courses that don’t adhere to the more standardized scales of modern golf. Don’t be fooled by the small ballpark appearance though. With difficult greens, tight lies, native sand areas, and many dogleg holes, #3 still can pack a punch.
Built over an attractive hilly terrain and offering many delightful Donald Ross features, Pinehurst #3 makes for a great add-on round during a visit to the resort. With six par 3 holes on the course, a good day of ball striking is required to score well there and the course serves as a great introduction to play the more famous tracks on site. In my estimation, a visit to the resort would be incomplete without spending a few hours tackling the #3 course.
To get a more full picture of the Pinehurst #3 experience, take a few minutes to enjoy the latest installment from my Golf is Everywhere Youtube series. With seven friends playing such a fun course, my afternoon there made for a few good memories and a real desire to come back soon. I think you’ll enjoy the scenes I captured from the round while gaining some insight into why the course is a must-play at the resort.
Shoutout to my friends Dave Baysden, Joe Zwickl, and Robbie Wooten along with others for recommending the course and making the walk so enjoyable.