It was a question that sparked much discussion throughout the week. As the Postmen ventured through the beautiful sand hills of Pinehurst, N.C. – spot of the USGA’s experiment with back-to-back Opens next summer – we all are struck by the quantity of quality golf in the region.
As we were marveling at the shot values, sightlines and rugged ambiance of Dormie Club, a Crenshaw-Coore course that looks like it could have predated any of Donald Ross’ works, I asked the rest of the group, “Do you think average, casual golfers can appreciate this? Do you think they see what we see?”
The consensus was: No way. Casual golfers see the condition of a course: trimmed edges, raked bunkers, a flowerbed here or there, maybe a waterfall, attributes that have very little to do with timelessness of the design. That is why so many of the “Best of” courses often receive mixed reviews from the general public.
Our group didn’t consist of the best golfers in the world, but between us we’ve played all the courses on the top-this or -that list.
We’ve played courses on every continent except Antarctica and can debate the relative merits of Seth Raynor’s bunkering philosophy or C.B. Macdonald’s routings through the Long Island dunes – subjects that don’t exactly make us the life of the party.
Dormie Club, for example, won’t be for everyone. The clubhouse is a dogtrot cabin with a snack bar and a bathroom, and the acreage around the course is perfect for some post-round quail hunting, but it’s not the sort of place a couple of newlywed novice golfers would find compelling.
The consensus in our group was that it was fantastic, maybe the second-best course in the Pinehurst area behind the one that will host the men’s and women’s U.S. Opens next year. It is so good in fact that I texted Bill Coore halfway through the round. My message was simple: “Holy smokes! This is unbelievable.”
If you plan a trip to Pinehurst, be it for the Open or anything else, put Dormie Club on your list and let us know if you see it as we do.