The Itinerant Golfer

The Itinerant Golfer's Take on Mid Pines Inn & Golf Club

Pinehurst, North Carolina | Mid Pines Inn & Golf Club

Architect: Donald Ross
Year: 1921

1010 Midland Road , Southern Pines, North Carolina 28387
(800) 323-2114

driving range available
motorized golf carts available
on-site accommodations

In 2012, I kicked off the golf travel season with a return trip to Pinehurst, North Carolina. One of my regular travel buddies, Jay, has an uncle who owns a condo right in the heart of Pinehurst. For the last couple of years Jay’s uncle has very generously allowed us to use the condo for a golf weekend in March. We have officially declared these Pinehurst trips to be the de facto season opener and plan to return every March for a little golf and a little March Madness.

Pinehurst is just a short 3 hour drive down the road from where I live in Virginia. It’s a fairly pleasant ride on good highways that aren’t overrun with aggressive drivers and tractor trailers, so it it’s not like the sweat inducing white knucklers I’m used to doing on I-95. As per usual I made a slight detour through the Raleigh airport to pick up Jay so he could make the 1 hour ride to Pinehurst with me. Also as per usual my golf partner for this trip, Steve, had work obligations that required him to juggle his flight at the last minute and he didn’t arrive in Pinehurst until after 2AM. It’s funny how predictable life can get.

All of us, including Steve, were up bright and early the next morning for our first round of the trip at Mid-Pines. I had played this course about 15 years ago when I was in town for a work conference. It was one of those corporate event, captains choice kind of rounds so it wasn’t exactly the most ideal situation to check the course out. I was excited to see it again.

Mid Pines opened for play in 1921 and was designed by Donald Ross. Considering that Ross lived in Pinehurst I think its safe to say that this is one of the courses where he actually spent time on site. Mid Pines and Pine Needles are sister courses and are each affiliated with an on property hotel/inn which means there are golf and lodging packages available for those who would like them. For players that are not staying at one of the affiliated properties, getting a tee time is as easy as making a phone call.

After we checked in at the pro shop and hit a few balls on the range we headed for the 1st tee. I didn’t take very many photos, but below are a few that I hope will provide a feel for the course.

There is a lot of talk about the “turtleback” greens on Donald Ross courses. While not all Donald Ross greens are this style there are a number of greens at Mid Pines with this feature. Below is a photo of the 4th green that shows a little bit of a crowned contour.
Mid Pines
Here is a look at the 6th green. This photo doesn’t really do it justice, but there is a bit of an upside down bowl feel to this putting surface as well.
Mid Pines
The photo below was taken from the 9th tee which is a short par 4 with a dogleg right. The tree lined fairway with pine tag beds is very typical of what is found at Mid Pines.
Mid Pines
Below is a look from the 16th tee which is a 400 yard par 4. The brown grass in the foreground can be found in various places around the course. It adds to the aesthetic, but it rarely comes into play.
Mid Pines
I found Mid Pines to be a very pleasant golf experience. The course is very playable, friendly and fun. Balls that stray off course are rarely lost and require good recovery shots played from the pine tags. There are a number of enjoyable holes and the course features some quintessential Donald Ross greens. Overall, Mid Pines is a fun course and a good addition to anyone’s Pinehurst trip.

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  • Great write up. I played Mid-Pines several years ago when staying at the Inn. I was very pleasantly surprised with the course. I think it’s very playable by players of all abilities – sort of a Pinehurst “Light” if you will. I found #15 and #16 to be the best 2 holes. I’m glad you took a shot of the elevated tee shot on #16 which I has remained one of my favorite tee shots in golf.

  • Kevin Vedder

    I played Mid Pines last week, and found it very enjoyable. After playing Tobacco Road that morning, Mid Pines was a return to a very traditional, what-you-see-is-what-you-get course. Almost every hole was laid out right in front of you. You could see the Donald Ross element right away as the greens all had the tabletop look to them. That said, they weren’t in the best of condition, which is about the only negative I had about the course. Never having played it before, I was unaware of the changes made during a recent renovation, which many said were well done. I do wish I would have walked the course, as it would be a pretty easy walk with tees very close to prior greens. I wouldn’t call it spectacular, as its sister course Pine Needles is clearly a step above, but a solid track and a very enjoyable round.

  • Brandon Webb

    Played Mid Pines today for the first time. I’m hoping you still have access to that condo and still do the golf trip in March because I implore you to revisit Mid Pines since the Kyle Franz renovation. What he did with this course is amazing. It truly is a “Poor Man’s Pinehurst No. 2.” The first two holes were strong before a bit of a lull, but the back 9 was stout and was extremely similar to No. 2. I really liked the par 3s. Downgrain putts were extremely quick and greens are still hard, so play for some release, even with wedges. There is no doubt in my mind that Mid Pines is clearly a better track than Pine Needles, despite what the current Top 100 rankings say. I look for MP to continue to rise up the rankings in the next few years as people rediscover it.