Pinehurst Number 4 reopened in 2018, after a major redesign undertaken by in-demand American golf course designer Gil Hanse.
The course was originally laid out at the famous resort by Donald Ross in 1919, and redesigned by Robert Trent Jones in 1973, Rees Jones in 1982 and Tom Fazio in 1999. Fazio apparently called his work a ‘restoration’ and one of his proudest projects.
Fast forward to 2017, however, and with the ‘old is new again’ success of the Pinehurst #2 restoration by Coore and Crenshaw came a decision to put more of the original Ross character into #4 as well, and try to enhance the overall flavor and spirit of the Pinehurst facility. Hanse was building the par 3 Cradle Course at the resort, and given the double assignment of also reworking all 18 holes of #4.
We look forward to reviewing the work soon, and note comments on the Pinheurst website that state:
Acclaimed golf course architect Gil Hanse began his redesign of Pinehurst No. 4 in the fall of 2017 as part of a master plan to further restore the original character and spirit to the Pinehurst golf experience. Hanse’s design and routing creates a landscape similar to Pinehurst No. 2 including exposed sand, native wire grass, wider fairways and natural topography.
“We think this approach will create a more authentic, visually interesting golf course and one that feels in tune with its unique surrounds,” says Hanse.
Previous Planet Golf review for Pinehurst #4.
Standing right alongside Pinehurst’s famed No. 2 Course, and noted for its unusual mix of small pot bunkers and large sandy waste areas, the No. 4 course is a Tom Fazio layout built directly atop an old Donald Ross course that had supposedly become old, tired and fallen beyond repair or restoration. Hard to know whether the Ross layout was better than what is there now, but the current No. 4 is a reasonably good course on a pleasant sandhills site that features a touch more undulation than No. 2 and a number of greens built to mimic those famous Ross creations next door. It does lack subtlety and in parts is anti-strategic in its hazard arrangement, but the dramatic cross waste bunker tee shots are fun to play. While most of the greens are well conceived and suit the type of shot required from back in the fairway, a number don’t and the chief frustration with the course is not how bad it is, but rather how much better it could have been with a more consistent and original set of targets.
For those unable to play Pinehurst No. 2 on every day of their stay in this golfing Mecca, Nos. 4, 7 and 8 are not bad back-ups – although no matter the length of stay a daily round on No. 2 is a much better option.