The final round of our Pinehurst trip was at Pinehurst #8, and it turned out to be my favorite course of the 4 we played (including Pinehurst #4, #6, #7 and #8.) Pinehurst #8 was built by Tom Fazio to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Pinehurst Resort. There also aren’t any houses on the course, and the tees and greens are close together, making it perfect for walking and enjoying the scenery.
It’s located about 2 miles from the Pinehurst Resort. The first thing I noticed upon entering the property was the impressive practice facility. Large putting green and plenty of tee stands on the range.
I played the Blues, which measured 6,698 yards which is well within my range. On the tee boxes, there is a small plaque that describes a specific highlight of each hole. I love this! The first hole noted that it was an Audobon Signature Sanctuary.
Pinehurst #8 starts out easily enough, with a 338 yard par 4. The ranger said about 180 would put you at the bend, giving you a straight shot at the green but even if you’re a bit long you should be fine here. Here’s the opening tee shot; the green is to the left.
The second hole is a 532 yard par 5. When you get near the green, it’s obvious that this course was inspired by Donald Ross; just take a look at the greenside bunkering.
The third is a 377 yard par 4. What I remember most about this hole was the fairway bunkering. Hanging out to the right here is not a bad play. There’s more room than you may think so aim for the fairway bunkers on the left and fade it into the center.
And here’s the view of the third hole looking back from the green to the tee. Thought it made for a pretty nice shot’ let me know what you think.
The fourth hole was built on top of the old Pinehurst Gun Club shooting range. This is the first hole with a blind tee shot so to allow players to see if it’s safe to hit or not, they’ve installed a viewing lens that shows the view of a camera that’s hidden in a tree further down the course. This is brilliant, and used multiple times on this course; absolutely love it.
Once you get near the green, again you’ll note that the bunkering is classic Donald Ross. If your sand game is sharp be aggressive; this is a potential birdie hole.
Hole 5 is a 138 yard par 3. The tee box notes that lots of nesting boxes have been placed on this hole, for Eastern Bluebirds, Screech Owls, Fox Squirrels and Bats. This is the perfect place as there is a large are of water to the left of the green. Here’s a pic of the tee shot:
And here’s a closer look at the birdhouses placed behind the green. I’m such a big fan of wildlife on the course, and Pinehurst #8 has gone above and beyond; so impressed!
As you go from 5 green to 6 tee, there is an on-course restroom. Big fan of those too; Pinehurst #8, so far, very impressed!
Six is a 584 yard par 5, and the number 1 handicap hole on the course (meaning it’s the hardest to score par.) The tee shot needs to carry some water, but instead of showing you the picture of the tee shot, I was more impressed with the bridge they built to convey golfers over the water. As you may know, I’m a fan of golf course bridges, and Pinehurst Eight didn’t disappoint. Check this out:
Was I right? Beautiful.
Once you cross, the next shot is probably too long to go for it (well, it was for me anyways.) The play is up the right, between the fairway bunkers. You should be left with a reasonable wedge to the green but be careful; long is trouble so be sure to stick the green if you can.
Remember how the par 3 (5th hole) was only 138 yards? Well, they’re not all that short. The eighth hole is 201 yards from the Blues (238 from the Golds!) The best play is to fade it into the green, giving you the best chance of avoiding the bunkers. Here’s the tee shot; the barely-viewable pin is behind the bunker on the right.
Oh, and you’ll be crossing back over the water, so that gave me another opportunity of taking a picture of another golf course bridge. Just beautiful.
And finally, here’s the view from the green back towards the tee. I’m hoping you’re starting to understand why this course was our favorite… And we’re only on the eighth hole!
Nine is an uphill, 418 yard par 4. It doglegs to the right, but since this was our first time playing here, I played it relatively straight, and was left with a loooong second shot. If you’re driver is on, feel free to cut the corner a bit. Here’s a picture taken from the dogleg pointing towards the green. If you look closely, you can see the 150 yard marker.
We stopped at the turn and bought some water and chips. It was tempting to just have a seat and watch the golfers pass by but we pressed on; back nine here we come!
The tenth is a relatively straight-forward par 4 that slowly moves to the left. You can’t see the green from the tee, so here’s a shot from the green looking towards the tee. You should be on top of or over the hill with your tee shot, so here’s what you have to look forward to.
The 11th is a 574 yard par 5, and I remember thinking that this hole seemed to play longer than the other par 5 (which was 10 yards longer). There aren’t really any secrets or comments on this hole; just be long. We did see one of the native squirrels, and I put my zoom lens to the test. Kate had never seen a squirrel like this up close, so I’m guessing some of you may not have either; enjoy.
The twelfth is the shortest par 4 on the course (328 from the Blues.) It’s also rated as the #18 handicap hole on the course (the easiest to par.) My suggestion is a 200-220 yard shot, leaving you with a wedge to the green. There is trouble surrounding it, so the shorter your second the better the chance for a birdie.
The thirteenth is a 184 yard par 3, but the difficulty of the hole is that there isn’t anything behind it to give you any sense of depth; it’s just blue sky which really played a trick on me. I ended up right of the green, and had a tough uphill chip. Trust the yardage and focus on landing on the green; it’s surrounded on all sides by trouble.
Behind the 14 tee there is a large area of wetlands where the cool wildlife hangs out. You know, the ones that rarely (if ever) make a public appearance? Once again, I put my zoom to the test and found this guy (wood duck?) in the wetlands. Absolutely beautiful.
The fourteenth had one of my favorite tee shots on the course, and possibly of any of the courses I played at Pinehurst. A true risk/reward tee shot, it gives you the opportunity to bite off as much as you think you can chew. It’s all carry over the marsh and if you have a draw, this hole was made for you.
I aimed for the right edge of that bunker, hit a fade and ended up in the rough on the right side of the fairway. Still, absolutely loved this hole. Here’s a view from green to tee.
The sixteenth is a 381 yard par 4 that starts out uphill, then ends up downhill (like the tenth.) There’s room to the right so if you miss, try to make sure it’s over there, as the left is trouble. The green is downhill and receptive, so with a good drive, you should be able to stick the approach.
Seventeen is the last par 5, measuring 489. The tee shot is perfect, with lots of visible room to land a bomber, yet enough trouble on the right and a small blind area on the left to cause hesitation. Well designed!
I hit it a bit right, ending up in the rough. Here’s my view, with the flag being behind the sand on the right. I laid up to the left (too tight of a landing area for me from the rough) and put a wedge on instead of going for it.
Pinehurst #8 finishes on a 426 yard, uphill par 4, making it play more like 450. It’s the #2 handicap hole for a reason!
I aimed my driver up the left edge of the fairway, expecting a fade but it stayed straight, which made the hole play that much longer. I then took a hybrid and went for it but caught it a bit heavy, leaving me a wedge. I bogied this hole, but wasn’t that upset with it. It’s definitely a tough finisher.
Still wondering why I thought this was the best of the 4 Pinehurst courses we played? When you combine the perfect weather, lack of houses, abundant wildlife and a Donald Ross-inspired golf course, it would be almost impossible for it not to bubble to the top of the list. Then again, I haven’t played Pinehurst #2… yet.