By Dave Droschak
Pinehurst Resort’s new 9-hole short course – measuring a total of 789 yards — has opened.
Designed by golf architect Gil Hanse, The Cradle features holes ranging from 56 to 127 yards each. Mere steps from the resort clubhouse, it is the same area where, in 1898, Dr. Leroy Culver carved the first nine holes out of the sand at Pinehurst.
Over the next century, Pinehurst came to be referred to as the Cradle of American Golf.
“Pinehurst’s place in golf goes back almost as far as the time the game was first introduced in America,” says Pinehurst CEO Bob Dedman Jr. “As we embark on the latest era at Pinehurst, it’s symbolic that our newest course sits on the same ground as the original first holes of golf at Pinehurst. We look forward to watching players of all ages and all abilities enjoy golf at The Cradle.”
For those familiar with U.S. Open golf at Pinehurst, the new 9-hole course, opened Sept. 30, will occupy the space that the pros use for the driving range.
Hanse’s design incorporates the native sandscape and wiregrass common to the original courses of Pinehurst. With holes that meander along the rolling terrain, The Cradle’s greens subtly blend into the surrounding landscape and are protected by rough-hewn bunkers, all features that have long been hallmarks of Pinehurst golf.
“The beauty of golf at Pinehurst is that it is very natural, traditional and classic, especially architecturally,” says Hanse, who designed The Olympic Golf Course in Brazil. “That Pinehurst character, we believe, permeates through The Cradle. These nine little golf holes are on a historic piece of land, and we feel like each hole has its own identity that fosters the creativity golfers have enjoyed here for more than a century.”
Greens fees for The Cradle are $50 this fall, and will vary seasonably. Kids 17 and under play free when accompanied by a paying adult, and resort guests may book tee times in advance. Public tee times are available 24 hours in advance. Tee times can be made by calling 1-800-ITS-GOLF.
“Like the Putter Boy, who now overlooks play on The Cradle, the Golf Lad has been a lasting symbol of the genuine joy and passion for golf at Pinehurst since the game arrived,” said Pinehurst president Tom Pashley. “We hope golfers will share those same feelings on a short course designed to be fun and challenging while at the same time inspiring others to take up the game we all love.”
The opening of The Cradle and expansion of Thistle Dhu, the resort’s putting course, are two elements of a multiyear plan Pinehurst unveiled in November 2016. Following the successful opening of the Deuce, a new tavern overlooking the 18th hole of Pinehurst No. 2, Pinehurst announced it hired Hanse to build the short course and begin a redesign of Pinehurst No. 4.
Hanse will break ground on the No. 4 redesign in October.