Pinehurst #2, The Cradle, and Pinehurst Village Review
-Alex Jensen, HDCP 3, Favorite Club in Bag: Driver
Getting to play #2 and the Cradle in the same weekend was an absolute treat. When booking your trip, you will have options. Option 1 is to bundle a stay at the Carolina Inn or the Manor B&B and book the tee-times together. Option 2 is to pay for golf separately without the lodging. Depending on if you have buddies in Pinehurst or Southern Pines, either option could make sense. We went with option 1 and bundled the tee-times with the lodging for 1 night at the Manor B&B. This made sense because we wanted to utilize the facilities during our entire stay. The package can be pricey especially since the military rate is only a 10% discount. We played the Cradle twice on Saturday (you can play it as much as you want on the day of your tee-time). The rate is $50. It is perfect for families and friendly competition between buddies. The beers are flowing, the greens are rolling (similar conditions to #2), and the music is blasting. The vibes on the Cradle are legit. It seemed as though as the day went on the music genre changed from easy country to night-club-swig-juicing tracks. The conditions of the Cradle were immaculate. It takes about 45 – 60 minutes to play the 9 holes depending on traffic and the time of day. I recommend playing 9 then going to the largest putting green I have ever seen which is located adjacent to the clubhouse and pro-shop. There on the green are 18 crazy golf holes designed for a mini course. Some ridiculous undulations and tricky reads make for some friendly competition. There are drink holders on every hole, so it makes the environment welcoming for a beer or two or three. Careful on some of the putts as the ball can get away… I mean 120 ft away! After finishing your 18 mini course holes, head to the bar and grab a few more beers and play another 9 on the Cradle. We finished around 5 pm with our day and headed back to the B&B for showers. The Pinehurst Brewery is a short 3-minute walk where you can enjoy delicious cold beers and really good food to cap off your evening. The package we did included breakfast the next morning. The all you can eat buffet is unreal. Make sure you eat well in advance of your tee time so you can enjoy all the selection available. After breakfast we shuttled to the course and signed in for our round at #2. The Deuce as they call it, was a beast. We took an experienced forecaddie of 6 years, so he helped shave a few shots off the card and keep a few balls in play. The first 5 holes of #2 were definitely the most challenging. We played from the back tees (US Open tees were not in play). You won’t need driver much unless you are really comfortable with it. The greens are absurd all the way through. If you land on the wrong side, you will be off the green or a definite 3 or worse putt away. The course gets easier as you go. There are a few holes on the backside that are manageable to have legitimate birdie looks. We walked and used push carts. I highly recommend this option for 2 reasons. The first is that walking gives you an appreciation for Donald Ross’ prized possession and the second reason is taking a cart is more work as the course is path only and the distance from the hole is huge. Lastly, any birdie on any par 3 results in a special commemorative coin called the “Deuce” from the bar inside the main clubhouse (2 on #2).
We most definitely went “Bunker to Bunker” several times during the round and it was absolutely worth it. On #10, the long par 5, despite the naysayers in my foursome, I went with the obvious play which was driver-driver to about 25 yards short, middle of the fairway…took me 4 shots to get on the green from there…