While some students headed to Florida for spring break in search of good weather, the Hillsdale golf team headed to North Carolina to play at one of the most historic golf courses in the country. Founded in 1895, Pinehurst Resort is home to nine golf courses; most famous among them is No. 2, the three-time host of the US Open and one-time host of the PGA Championship.
The team spent five days playing the different courses of Pinehurst and nearby Mid Pines Golf Club to gear up for the season. Junior Andrew Grayson noticed good things from the team during the week.
“Everyone improved throughout the week and I think there are signs of a promising spring ahead of us,” Grayson said.
Under the Carolina sun, the team found great opportunities to improve by playing one of golf’s best and hardest courses: Pinehurst No. 2. The course was designed by legendary course architect Donald Ross who also designed the other player-favorite, Mid Pines, and features the local terrain of the Sandhills region of North Carolina from tee to green.
“The course is very rugged and full of sand and scrub grass once you’re off of the fairways,” head coach Nathan Gilchrist said.
As far as playability, the unique rough posed less than half of the challenge to the players according to sophomore Sutton Dunwoodie. Approach shots would roll right off of the green just like they did during the 2014 US Open, the last year the course hosted the event.
“Tee to green, it isn’t really that challenging, but then it gets brutal around the greens,” Dunwoodie said,
“When you hit a green and it rolls off, it was tough to get mad because you think, ‘Wow. That’s what’s supposed to happen at Pinehurst.’”
This aspect demanded precision from the golfers both with approaches and chips onto the green, according to Gilchrist.
“The most difficult part of the golf course is the green complexes,” Gilchrist said, “The demand for No. 2 is getting and keeping the ball on the putting surface.”
By playing demanding courses like Pinehurst No. 2 and Mid Pines, the players were able to sharpen important aspects of their games in preparation for their most recent tournament in Kentucky last weekend and the rest of the tournaments this spring. Even more, the team was able to have fun while they were at it.
“Pinehurst is the ultimate buddies trip destination, allowing us to play a new course every day and get in as many rounds as we can before the season begins,” Dunwoodie said.