North Carolina’s Sandhills are alive with golf all year long. Two of the places that make the most noise are Talamore Golf Resort and its sister property, Mid South Club. Each are prime golf destinations within one of the country’s prime golf destinations.
With comfortable two- and three-bedroom golf villas, each equipped with full kitchens, Talamore Golf Resort is an excellent headquarters to explore the best golf the Sandhills has to offer through Talamore Golf and Travel Co.’s golf packages. That includes the legendary Peggy Kirk Bell’s Pine Needles and the Dormie Club, designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore.
But you don’t even have to venture off Talamore Golf Resort property to find first class golf. The New Course at Talamore is an outstanding Rees Jones design that in 2016 underwent a complete renovation, including the removal of more than 70 bunkers and the conversion of each green complex from bentgrass to Champion Bermuda. In addition to true rolling and lightening fast greens, the new strains of Bermuda are providing significantly better playing conditions year-round.
The renovation restored each of the greens to their original designs, which had been encroached by native Bermuda grasses.
“It made the course a lot cleaner and smoother,’’ said Matt Hauser, general manager at Talamore Resort.
Don’t, however, mistake “cleaner and smoother,’’ for easy. The New Course (6,840 yards, Par 71 from the tips) has its challenges, particularly with its large, rolling fairways and 12 sod-wall bunkers that you want to stay away from at all costs. In short, the New Course won’t ever beat up even the highest of handicappers. It’s a quintessential resort course that is equally as challenging to play as it is fun to play.
The Pinehurst area is filled with legends, Bell, for example, at Pine Needles; Donald Ross, whose Pinehurst No. 2 Course is the gold standard in the Sandhills and beyond; and Arnold Palmer, who in 1993 designed the Pinehurst Plantation course that in 2002 became Mid South Club. Talamore Golf Resort’s owners acquired Mid South Club in 2004.
A private club that features towering pine trees, Mid South (7,003, par 71 from the tips) is available to Talamore Golf Resort guests and through Talamore Golf and Travel’s golf packages. Mid South is one the King’s best designs and a “must play’’ for anyone in the Village of Pinehurst/Southern Pines area. Mid South incorporates some of Palmer’s favorite design features, including large greens and rock walls around some of the greens complexes, each of which are reminders of his great Bay Hill Club course in Orlando.
The 435-yard, par-four 18th hole at Mid South, with water down the right side and a green protected by water and a rock wall, isn’t an exact clone of the famous 18th hole at Bay Hill, but it’s close enough to make it one of the best finishing holes in the Sandhills. Higher praise? Mid South generally is considered second only to Pinehurst No. 2 in the Sandhills’ golf course hierarchy.
For those who want to stay at Mid South, the Club offers The Lodges, a group of 16 condominiums with golf course views.
“The New Course at Talamore and Mid South are two different golf courses, which is good for our guests,’’ Hauser said.
And those guests never stop coming.
“We’ve been on the upswing the past few years,’’ Hauser said. “A lot if people have been traveling. For a while, people stopped joining clubs, but they’ve still been traveling. We send a lot of play to other courses in the area – not just Talamore – so it’s all been pretty good.’’
Feature Photo: Talamore Golf Resort