This reclusive gem can make your subsequent Pinehurst excursion even superior

CCNC is a slice of anything entirely special.

James Colgan

I am not an skilled in quite a few things.

I do not understand geometry. I have no notion how to fly a plane. I’ve never baked so a lot as a cupcake in my life. If you requested me to build a bookshelf without the need of the Internet’s support, I’d be a threat to each and every lumberyard and Household Depot on the jap seaboard. But if I maintain experience in just about anything, it is the great golfing courses of the North Carolina sandhills, where by I’ve expended the improved section of a month of my lifetime discovering, walking, and actively playing above these last two decades.

By the time June 2022 rolled all around, I imagined I’d found every little thing the Sandhills had to present. I’d taken the psychedelic journey by means of Tobacco Street, endured the Rossian brilliance of Mid Pines and Pine Needles, and giggled my way through the comprehensive Pinehurst working experience … two times. There was far more golf in the space, of course, but was there diverse golfing? I doubted it.

Then I acquired an invitation to the Country Club of North Carolina.

CCNC and Pinehurst are separated by a minor much more than 1,000 toes and what feels like a several solar programs. The two programs may possibly share the very same soil, but that’s…about it. On a person aspect of the fence sits golf’s getaway mecca, wherever 8 courses sprawl across the sand-strewn earth like the curled tentacles of an octopus, beverage carts and fellow golfers are in limitless source, and the joy of the shared encounter fills you with whatever warmth the sunlight hasn’t. On the other facet of the fence sits the exact opposite: the Region Club of North Carolina, a neatly groomed oasis of silence, tranquility and solitude.

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By means of the gates at CCNC, you’ll find a genteel southern welcome from the team and a stately clubhouse. What you won’t uncover are golfers, even from the observe variety, which sits just a short walk from the first fairway on the Dogwood System, the far more well-known of CCNC’s two 18-gap routings (the Cardinal Training course, opened in 1989, is the other).

Silence is CCNC’s superpower. Even when the system is crowded, CCNC’s loudest distraction is the rustling of the pines in the afternoon breeze. The Dogwood Course’s routing makes sure that interactions with other golfers arrive only by selection. Even the place encompassing the clubhouse rattles at a mild hum, thanks in massive component to a two-tiered style that can help funnel golfers in through the upstairs pro shop and other site visitors by way of the adjacent ballroom and restaurant.

Shortly after your arrival, someone will place you in the way of the very first tee box, where you’ll scoop a golfing cart, a scorecard and a handful of tees from the starter shack. Then, you’re off, set to wander by means of Ellis Maples and Willard Byrd’s operate with the little by little descending sunshine as your only guidebook.

Almost everything is just as it should be at the Country Club of North Carolina, suitable down to the smallest detail. When Pinehurst revels in its authenticity, CCNC transports you into a entire world the place grass grows in uniform mower styles and bunker sand seemingly by no means moves out of spot.

The entrance 9 surprises, mainly thanks to its continual variety. There are large, towering holes that depend on the form of the valley below and minimal, flat kinds spotlighted by their bunkering an island-eco-friendly par-3 enveloped by h2o and a par-5 splitting a chute of trees so slim one particular will have to stave off the urge to play a 4-iron off the tee. By the time you change to the 5th gap, you’ve shed all conception of the Sandhills as you at the time knew them, by the time you return to the clubhouse at the 11th, you’ve missing any clue of what’s to arrive.

Nevertheless, it is the again 9 that burns into your memory — a glorious stretch of holes that feels like it lays out for miles ahead of you. Strategically and architecturally, the extend from 12-17 is the very best on the program, but emotionally, it gives even extra than that.

On the working day we played CCNC, we caught the again nine in time for a glorious, cloud-free sunset. It was around 100 levels at the time we teed off, but significantly cooler by the time we created it to the closing extend. The sunlight solid rays of gold by the pines, illuminating the golfing study course in angular beams. My taking part in partners and I giggled as we plunged method pictures on to the putting area, marveling at the silence and the contentment that comes with staying truly by yourself in a wonderful place.

At some point, one particular of us dared to wonder if CCNC’s legitimate sibling training course wasn’t Pinehurst No. 2, but Augusta National. Of class, he was improper. Even the club’s most hardened member would concur there’s a considerable gap in between the two classes. But in terms of serenity and tranquil Southern appeal, that comparison isn’t as outlandish as it appears to be.

The spherical ended and we returned without a word to the car. Last but not least, a person of us snapped back to reality.

“Well, that was absolutely nothing like I expected.”

He was proper, of training course. Soon after a month of sandhills golfing, CCNC had still managed to blow my thoughts. But now that we’d tasted Pinehurst’s most notable personal test, I uncovered myself wrestling with a more substantial dilemma.

I experienced to discover a way back again.

James Colgan Editor

James Colgan is an assistant editor at Golf, contributing tales for the web-site and journal. He writes the Scorching Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and makes use of his broadcast expertise across the brand’s social media and online video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse College, James — and evidently, his golf sport — is even now defrosting from four decades in the snow. Prior to signing up for Golf, James was a caddie scholarship receiver (and astute looper) on Lengthy Island, where he is from. He can be achieved at [email protected].