The first course on the ProcrastiNation golf tour is in the books. The fellas and I headed south of Raleigh, NC to play Pinehurst No.8 – it was impressive to say the least. Lets start with the drive onto the property, No.8 is off the main campus of the Pinehurst facility which eliminates some of the luster but it still had a very serious feel, you knew that this is where people who love golf just feel at home.
I walked through the door and was overcome with how cool the Pinehurst logo and facilities are, it feels like old time golf, it’s like you have been transported back in time and you are hurled into the tradition that is the game of golf. Before we get to the experience that is pinehurst I want to walk you through the highlights of the round.
Before we get rolling, we left our bags at the bag drop in front of the clubhouse, when we came out from paying our bags were already loaded onto the cart and equipped with Pinehurst No.8 tees and as many range balls as you wanted. For a kid who grew up in New York playing municipal tracks, this was a hell of a treat. I sounded like such a New York Italian goon when I exclaimed “woah, they put our bags on the cart” – sometimes pure joy and excitement comes out of us and that was one of those moments.
I had to get focused so before we ventured over to the driving range I retreated back inside and took my pre-round dump inside a beautiful locker room. It felt like you were preparing for the US Open and although this is not Pinehurst No. 2 or No. 4 or even No.1 the mystique of seeing the Pinehurst logos everywhere and thinking of the legends of the game who traveled to this location was chill-worthy.
The driving range had feelings that you were preparing to take on a PGA tour event, it felt like a major and for a weekend hacking shitbag like myself this was a tremendous feeling. The staff was all extremely friendly and helpful, the starter explained to us all of the ins and outs of Pinehurst No.8 and after our range session I felt like I was going to shoot the course record.
The course is in beautiful condition, I dont think thats much of a surprise, I actually started out playing really well, we played from the black tees which are the second longest at Pinehurst No.8 – they started us out on the back nine and I shot a 41, which I felt was a big accomplishment. The greens are like putting on glass and there are certain spots on the green that if you land what you think is a good shot, you will soon find out that the ball is rolling down a cliff and leaving you with an absolute hilarious chip back up to the green.
We made the turn to the front nine which on this day was our second nine and It chewed me up. The front nine at No.8 in my opinion is significantly more of a challenge. I shot a 46 on the back nine including my one double bogey of the day and ended up shooting an 87 which won the group I was in by three strokes. The fairways are immaculate at No. 8 but I will say there was a perceived maintenance issue on the 16th green that left the green with some type of tractor or mower tracks. It looked like someone left the gate of the tractor down and dragged it across the green, not a great look for Pinehurst. That was my only complaint regarding the entire course, everything else was in a great condition.
Following the round, we headed over to the main campus at the Pinehurst facility where Pinehurst No.1, No.2, No.3, No.4, No.5 and No.6 are located. In addition to those courses, the par 3 course called the Cradle and the Thistle Du putting course is all located in the same area. Here, at this location, the trip to Pinehurst was worth every penny and second, I have played better golf courses in my life, well, only one, Tobacco Road but the entire Pinehurst experience was second to NONE, this was the best golfing experience of my life.
The beauty of Pinehurst is that it makes you a better golfer almost immediately. Since my Pinehurst No.8 playing experience, I shot 77 and 81 from a course that plays 6,700 from the back tees which my group plays. This was my second round in the 70’s of the year and was my lowest score since I moved back to start playing the far tees so this was a major victory for my own personal golf game. Since playing Pinehurst I felt way more comfortable with the short game and specifically my wedge play, if I can figure out the driver on a consistent basis we are going to be looking pretay pretay pretay good. My current handicap is an 8.9 and the goal is to be a sub 8.5 by the end of the season.
I am playing a new course this weekend so I will be writing something up for that course and I also will be working on my home course review, that’s a 27 hole beauty that only charges me $800 a year for a membership, so shout-out to keeping the working man still involved in golf.