If St. Andrews is the birthplace of golf, clearly Pinehurst, NC, is the home of the game this side of the pond. Like the words “Google” and “Kleenex” which have taken on a vast life of their own and need no explanation, simply say, “Pinehurst” and everyone knows it’s all about golf. 

Venue for the 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open, since Donald Ross came here in 1900 as head professional and went on to launch his golf design career (Pinehurst #1-#4),  it’s been the “Go To” place for serious golfers.  Sam Snead, Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan and “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias played here while Amelia Earhart arrived in her own plane.

Set on 2,000 acres in North Carolina’s Sandhills, players can tee up on Pinehurst’s eight championship tracks by Ross, Fazio, Maples and Jones while there are more than 40 courses in the area.

Pinehurst is  simultaneously steeped in tradition and rated as among the nation’s most women-friendly golf destinations. although I’ve learned when it comes to #2, Ross’s greens have about as much safe landing area as floor space in a teenager’s room.

I doubt any of that will change with the current renovation of #2 to bring the course back to where is was in the 30s. Following the “bones” of Ross’s original course, the fairways will be widened and reshaped.  Crowned greens will remain as they are and the course will remain open throughout the renovation process.

I cannot think of a more user-friendly resort setup for golfers of all levels. From the time you drive up to The Carolina and hand over your clubs to the attendant, golf services from delivery your sticks to  course to the shuttle to the courses, all run seamlessly.

Since it opened in 1901, the Carolina Hotel has reigned as the prima donna of the Pinehurst resort scene. In the early 1900s America’s first families including the Rockefellers, du Ponts, Morgans and Sousas, came to this newly created resort in South Carolina’s pine barrens to escape winter chills. Even Annie Oakley came here, but she was here to give shooting lessons.

Entering into the lively social scene, they played golf, enjoyed croquet and lawn bowling on immaculately manicured courts, played tennis, ate in the elegant Carolina Dining Room and  rocked in the chairs on the colonnaded veranda.

The names may have changed but the scene and traditions carry on and things just continue to get better. A  three-lane lap pool runs through the center of the  stunning new 31,000 square foot spa where you have a choice of more than 40 treatments like the stimulating Hot Stone Massage, Magnolia Facial and Champion’s Massage designed for golfers.

Renovated rooms are decorated with earthy colors of tans, cream and khakis; bathrooms feature marble vanities and shower rain-heads the size of dinner plates plus you get things they didn’t have in the early 1900s like flat screen tvs and minibars.

 And as for those sprawling breakfast feasts laid out  in the elegant Carolina Dining Room, it’s got to be the 11th Wonder of the World how you can pack away so much biscuits and sausage gravy, sticky buns, bacon, eggs, grits, and waffles, and still swing a club, much less stand up straight.

While there take time to walk into the Village of Pinehurst. It’s just a five minute walk from The Carolina. You’ll enjoy browsing through local restaurants, pubs, boutiques and shops.

To brush up on your game there is the Pinehurst Golf Academy where the student teacher ratio is a favorable four to one under the direction of Eric Alpenfels. Get help in fundaments and on-course instruction in a state-of-the-art facility.

In addition to The Carolina you can book into one of the hotel’s sister properties, The Manor and  Holly Inn.

Booking a golf package is usually the best way to go.

The Pinehurst Summer Tee from $870 gives you an extra night and round free when you book two nights and three rounds of golf. You also get dinner on evening of arrival and breakfast.

The Donald Ross Package starting at $517 includes one round per day with a cart, room, breakfast and dinner as well as use of fitness center and beach club. Book your stay on any Sunday to Wednesday during the Spring or Fall season and receive a $300 gift card.

A basic golf package gives you a room, round, and breakfast along with a sleeve of Titleist golf balls is priced from $299.

The Pinehurst Spa Package, “back to basics” from $299 includes accommodations, one spa therapy per night stay and a spa tranquility pass.