Augusta’s Morning News with John Patrick, Mary Liz Nolan, and Chris Michaels

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PINEHURST, NORTH CAROLINA - NOVEMBER 02: Detail photo of tees during the final round of the LPGA Q-Series presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield North Carolina at Pinehurst No. 9 on November 02, 2019 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

Every year I’m a part of a guys’ golf trip. This year, we went to the Sandhills of North Carolina.

The trip started about five years ago.  We were scheduled to head to the Sandhills.  We were not going to play at Pinehurst, we were playing at Pine Needles and Mid-Pines.  Pine Needles has on four occasions, hosted the United States Women’s Open.  We did not make it that first year, the threat of an impending hurricane chased us to Purcell Farms in Alabama.  But we promised, we would make it to the Sandhills.

First Trip

We did, in 2019, just before COVID.  There were twelve of us.  The trip is a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday outing.  We had a wonderful time.  We decided then and there that the group would return to this area every other year.  COVID was an issue in 2020 and 2021.  The trips were taken but many of us passed on going.

It returned in earnest last week.  Sixteen of us gathered once again at Pine Needles for a weekend of golf.  Besides there now being more of us, something else had changed.  The group that owns Mid-Pines and Pine Needles had bought another course, Southern Pines and they had spent a lot of time and money to refurbish it.  So this was going to be our maiden voyage on that course.

Golfing

We arrived on Friday around lunchtime.  We had tee times at Mid-Pines later that afternoon.  Mid-Pines is a wonder, original Donald Ross course that has easily stood the test of time.  It’s always an enjoyable round of golf and the weather was wonderful.  With the late start, we had to hustle after the round to shower and make it to dinner.  Dining at Mid-Pines.

We were up the next morning, heading for Southern Pines.  The weather forecast was NOT promising.  Actually, the forecast for the three days was rather gloomy.  It caught up to us halfway through our round.  As luck would have it, when the heavy rain hit, we were near the halfway house and just found shelter there for the 30-minute deluge.  Here’s another one of the great things about golf in that region, all of the courses are “sand-based” and drain really well and quickly.  I will say the group found Southern Pines to be the toughest course we played and we all kind of agreed, that it might be passed over when we return.  Again, because of the rain delay, we hustled through showers and made it to dinner.

We awoke early on our final day for Pine Needles.  The day started misty and with some drizzle, but about 8 holes in, the sun broke through and the rest of the day was wonderful.

Recommendations

If you do guys’ golf trips, I can’t recommend this area enough.  There is golf for golfers of every level.  Of course, Pinehurst is known around the world as “the cradle of golf in America”.  But you can have a wonderful time at the other locations.  Pine Needles is quickly becoming my favorite course in the area.  It’s also pretty affordable.  Plan well in advance.  A year out is NOT TOO EARLY.

By the way, the fall is a wonderful time to visit this region.

If you’d like to know more about the area, click here.