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Slideshow: "Mid Pines has truly been reborn"

Bill Fields goes to Mid Pines and photographs Kyle Franz's restoration of the other significant Donald Ross course in the Pinehurst area.

An eGolf Professional Tour event was recently played there as a re-introduction of sorts for the course.

Franz took out rough in many places, replacing it with sandy areas of pine straw and wire grass -- but the transformation isn't wall-to-wall or overdone. Trees were taken out in some areas, creating attractive vistas particularly on the 16th hole and around the second, eighth and 12th tees. The bunkers have been tweaked to give them more natural, less rounded edges. MiniVerde Bermuda grass was installed on the greens, which were enlarged a bit and the interesting contours restored on some. They already roll beautifully.

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Reader Comments (20)

Have played it twice since the renovation. Has always been one of the fun courses to play, and walk, in Pinehurst. If you do roll into the natural areas, which are probably closer together than over at #2, it is trouble. Now it's time for the Bell family to drop some coin and renovate(or at least paint) the old iconic clubhouse and inn. The entire property is truly one of the treasures in golf. By the way, heard that a slow renovation is being done at an equally classic Ross gem down the road at Southern Pines GC.
09.10.2013 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
I played Ponkapoag and Leo J Martin in Boston when I was vacationing this summer. It's such a shame the municipal ownership can't contract with an architect for restoration. Ponkapoag is a Top 10 layout in New England and LJM's back 9 is one of the best in Massachusetts (the 18th hole is insane). As of this moment you'd be better off chipping from on the greens than putting because the conditions are so bad. I keep waking up in the middle of the night hoping that I'll inherit millions to buy those places and contract Geoff to restore them.
09.10.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike U
Now on the same level as the sibling across the street, which is quite an accomplishment.

When you play #2, it feels like a corporate run assembly line, every move is choreographed to maximize ROI. Not at Pine Needles/ Mid Pines, feels like your home course only better...
That picture almost makes it look like the guy is wearing plus fours.
09.10.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPepperdine
They have done a remarkable job. Always thought Mid-Pines was more fun to play than its sister course across the street. I always enjoyed the self contained, old fashion golf courses that were not routed through residential properties. Southern Pines, mentioned in previous post by Old Harv, is a wonderful, old style Ross design that is a blast to play. Mid Pines and Southern Pines are both enjoyable to walk as well. Job well done.
Ok, that settles it. Inaugural Shack Open in Southern Pines some time after the New Year. I was unable to do anything this year; work you know. But I'll see what I can organize for us Southern Shackelfordians in 2014. More later. That's me in the picture. Not really, but he seems to have stolen my knee brace that recently went missing.
09.10.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
I played there Fri. The course is shaping up nicely. The greens are much larger in spots. The front right position on 7 is new and diabolical. There are few places prettier than MidPines in the spring! This restoration is a job greatly done I believe.
09.11.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTaffy
I'm in for the Inaugural Shackland Open. We'll need two flights, one for Dover Pro and one for the rest of us.
09.11.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLudell Hogwaller
@ Ludell I will be glad to play w/ you, just make sure I am off of the Members' Tees (White) - age takes it toll.

Just an FYI, CCNC offers perhaps two of the best courses in Pinehurst that often times get over looked due to the club's exclusiveness. If you are making a trip down here try and find a member or a local with some "pull" that can get you on either of these two marvelous Ellis Maples designs. The Dogwood (1964) is very, very good. And the Cardinal is not slouch as both are ranked in the Top 15 in NC. Ellis' father, Frank, was Donald Ross' construction foreman and actually did a lot of the original work on #1, #3, #3, & #4, and later became superintendent at #2, as well as at Mid Pines and Pine Needles. Ellis designed #5 years later and designed a lot of very good golf courses through out the south, predominantly NC -- Grandfather Mountain is one his most notable.
Ludell just conjured up an image for me that is pretty cool. If the Pro from Dover does not carry a 1 iron, sport a left hand that has never seen sun, and have a grin on his face that lets you know that he knows something you don't....... I'm gonna be disappointed.

Agree that CCNC is terrific and is not as tough to get on as it used to be.
My best memory of CCNC is not the golf course(s), but rather of meeting the genial and delightful Harvie Ward there.

These photos of Mid-Pines are gorgeous; congrats to the Bell family and all who had a part in the work. From the photos, I think I could still pretty easily find 200 more trees to remove.

And yes Southern Pines is another gem in the same neighborhood. I'd have a hard time thinking of another place with three such delights all together. Maybe the Monterey Peninsula; maybe Southampton, Long Island. East Lothian, Scotland. But it's that good.
09.11.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChuck
Three years ago (in February), my wife was pregnant with our first child. To celebrate, I convinced her to take a Babymoon to Pinehurst where I played Pinehurst #2 and Mid-Pines.

While Pinehurst was great, my experience at Mid-Pines was priceless. Because of a snow storm before we arrived, I practically had the entire course to myself. While it was a little cold, the snow had melted. For 18 glorious holes, I had a course like Mid-Pines to myself.

How many people get to to play a course like that without anyone bothering them?
09.11.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrad Ford
@ No Longer

I usually ask for 3, but just to keep it friendly, I will only take 2 side! Press when you're mad. Now, I don't play very well since the dog bit me a few years back, but I do love to gamble! And that 2 iron in the bag? I use it to prop my trunk up with it, that's all.

And BTW, my left hand is pale because of the poor circulation.

Come to think of it, I think I might just ask Ludwell for that other shot . Boyz, come on down. We have 50 plus courses within 70 square miles and we are running out of time!

Too funny.
I'm in for the Shack Open!!
09.11.2013 | Unregistered Commenterclashman
@Brad, Southern Pines is strapped for cash, seems like it's been that way for a while but they have an old-school super who gets it. You won't believe how many trees have come out just since you played it 3 years ago. I just heard from a reliable source that they have started a renovation project there that will be done over time, not all at once, which should raise its stature even higher. One of the coolest things about SPGC is seeing some of the holes surrounding the course that I believe were holes that were cut out but never built for whatever reason, probably money. I've heard about 4 or 5 different stories so not sure which one is true. For those within driving distance, there is something called the Symposium on Affordable Golf scheduled for late October. Fourth year coming up. It's free and there is some really cool speakers each year, and it's FREE. Attendees can play golf on the second day at Southern Pines for either 30 or 35 bucks.
09.11.2013 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
@ ol Harv RE: Southern Pines GC Ross originally 'drew' 36 holes for the site. You can find the actual drawings in the Tufts archives in the village -- There was to be two 18-hole courses. Only 27 holes were ever built. 15 years or so ago they literally shut down one of the 9-hole routings. Out of those 9 holes, there remains 8 original D.Ross greens that have never been touched! Those are the holes you see grown up on the outskirts of the 18 routing you play now. the 9th green was turned into a chipping / target green at the end of the driving range. Southern Pines was built prior to Mid Pine and / or Pine Needles.
Great to hear Mid-Pines got a good scrubbing. Played there 7yrs ago and had fun, except was sad to see new asphalt paths everywhere, ruined the atmosphere a bit for me since my cousin and I walked while it appeared everyone else that day was riding. Did they dig up those black atrocities Old Harv?

A Shack Open in one of the best places in the world to tee it up. I nominate Pine Needles/Mid-Pines as home base (or the 'Crest if available and/or permitted to stay there ;-)). Perhaps a 36 day at CCNC, A visit to the Bell's tracks, and a high-stakes skins game up the road at Tobacco Road followed by a dinner at the Barn place in Southern Pines IIRC?
09.12.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
Maybe Pro can comment. I know there are lots of hard sand paths, which are great, similar to #2, but definitely still some asphalt if my memory serves me right. Mid-Pines definitely does a lot of things right. Johnny, again, don't forget SPGC, it is a special place which is really starting to shine thanks to heavy tree removal and now a renovation. It only stretches to maybe 6300 but is a great course to walk. Very similar to Mid-Pines.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
A lot of the 'original' courses have natural or 'sandy' cart paths. Thus the Sandhills moniker for the area. I have to go back and review Mid Pines, as we walking, so I didn't pay particular close attention to the cart paths. #2 is pretty strict about keeping carts "on paths", or rather keeping them off of the golf course unless there is a serious medial issue. Mostly only the members will ride on #2 and visitors virtually all take a caddie The worse part of a lot of older courses that tired to keep pace an put in cart paths years back put in asphalt, trying to save a few dollars, then never providing a root pruner or sealing the asphalt. As time as passed, a lot of these old jewels are now proud owner of horrible asphalt paths with pine roots bucking the paths making some almost impassable. The course that have good sand bases can benefit from natural cart paths. Will let you know. Pine Needles does have continuous paths, as do most.

Southern Pines is just a good ol' boy place to play. Probably in as good of shape as it as been in 15 years. "The longest 6000 yards you can play". Say, "Hello" to Doug Thompson, the HP at SPGC. Nice fellow and has been in the Sandhills forever.
@ol Harv: Yup, the Bells know how to run a golf course(s). Never played SPGC, it was always one of the courses I heard about, but never got around to playing. One can argue and debate for weeks on end what the best Pinehurst area golf-trip course rota would be.

I also enjoyed my time(s) at Pinewild since freshman year. Reamer was a trip and a heckuva nice guy from the times I was there. One of the most unassuming Directors of Golf I have ever met. Helped me hand grind some wedges and got my sticks all sorted out...swing advice amounted to "John, you need to work out more...or start for that matter".
09.12.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz

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