Although it is steeped in golf history, Pinehurst Resort has its eyes clearly on the future. A portion of that future – The Cradle – will celebrate its first anniversary in September. Aimed to celebrate Pinehurst as the “Cradle’’ of American golf, the 789-yard, par-three course is the perfect complement to the 18-hole, Thistle Dhu putting course and Maniac Hill practice range.
Set on what were the first tees of the No. 3 and No. 5 Courses, The Cradle – designed by Hanse – allows players of all skill levels and ages to say they “Played Pinehurst.’’ The Cradle’s green complexes, with their humpbacks and runoffs, even give players a good sense of what it’s like to challenge the legendary Donald Ross greens complexes of Pinehurst No. 2.
The Cradle, said Pinehurst President Tom Pashley, “Takes us from just being stewards and maintaining something to actively positioning it for the next several years.
“I always say, ‘We’re not a time capsule’. That’s a choice. We could choose to be a museum and have sand greens and do more hickory clubs and show people the way it was and try to own that position – if there is such a thing. But that’s clearly not the direction we’re going.’’
And it’s all set to a backdrop of classic rock and pop music, as well as “The Acorn’’ mobile bar parked on the course just in case someone gets thirsty.
“The best part about The Cradle is that it’s good for everybody,’’ said Ben Bridgers, director of golf at Pinehurst Resort. “It’s good for kids, for new golfers and for grandparents. And if you’re a good player, it gives you an opportunity to make a hole in one on every hole.’’
Holes on The Cradle vary in distance from 56 to 127 yards, so there is no need to take a full bag in clubs. In fact, The Cradle has its own starter’s building where the starter will give you a carry bag similar to the bag carried by Pinehurst’s “Golf Lad’’ in early resort advertising.
“I think anytime someone comes to Pinehurst, it’s always going to be a memory they cherish,’’ Bridges said. “Several people come here all the time; others live here. But for a lot of people, Pinehurst is a bucket list destination. So, to add a different element to that, such as The Cradle, is great.’’
Up next: Pinehurst No. 4, which already as getting some pre-opening buzz as being another Sandhills gem.
“It’s meant to complement No. 2,’’ Bridgers said. “Gil calls it ‘big and bold.’ It’s on a nice piece of land and will have a lot of bunkers and native areas.
“Pinehurst always needs something new and exciting – and that’s what The Cradle and No. 4 give us.’’