Golfers who are planning a golf vacation to the Pinehurst area have a myriad of golf courses and accommodations to choose from. There are countless golf packaging companies ready to voice their opinion. And, depending on your budget, you can play some pretty historic golf courses if you’re willing to fork out some dough.
As for me, I head to the Southern Pines area and two of the area’s finest golf courses with accommodations that are second to none: Mid South Club and Talamore. Both are part of the Talamore Golf Resort.
In 1991, the owners of Talamore Golf Club handpicked Rees Jones to design the golf course. They were looking for a one-of-a-kind golf course in the Sandhills, and Jones solidly delivered!
Talamore features over 150 ft. of elevation change, lakes, wetlands, massive bunkers including waste bunkers, and towering longleaf pine trees. Jones created Talamore to be more of a thinking man’s golf course, one which requires position and control over brute strength. You’ll have to manufacture shots if you want to score well.
In 2017, Talamore made some monumental changes to the green complexes. They were restored to their original 1991 dimensions and the putting surface was changed from Bentgrass to Champion Bermuda. They now have a truer roll and a lot more speed. In addition, 5-foot TifEagle Bermuda green collars were also added around each green. Many bunkers were removed, and several areas were re-contoured to blend in with the surrounding terrain, providing more forgiveness in the landing zones and around the greens.
Talamore is also home to the only sod wall bunkers in the Sandhills area. Talamore worked with Ecobunkers USA to create these wonderful sand traps because they are a lot easier to maintain. On average, 3-5% of any well-designed golf course is occupied by bunkers, yet they typically eat up 25-35% of the maintenance budget. Ecobunkers used layer upon layer of recycled AstroTurf to create the sod-wall effect – as many as 5,200 pieces – per bunker. This eliminates soil erosion, edging, plugged lies, and burrowing animals and makes maintenance of each bunker a lot less time-consuming.
Talamore starts with a classic golf hole. It’s a long par 5 that plays 564 yards from the White Tees. Longball hitters need to be aware of the marshy area on the right side that can come into play off the tee if you don’t keep it far enough left. You’ll get some extra distance off the tee as the fairway plays downhill, Play your layup out to the left to get around the bend. Your approach shot plays uphill onto a large green with a bunker that sits about 5 feet below it. Be sure to take enough club on your approach to compensate for the uphill.
The 2nd hole is a 164-yard par three that for many golfers, will be their first introduction to sod-walled bunkers. There are two of them that sit directly between the tee and green; they also sit about 6 feet below the putting surface. Get up against them and you might have to chip out sideways or backward to hit your next shot. Fly your tee shot onto the green for best results; bump-and-run is not advised!
Mid South Club is one of the most attractive private residential golf communities in the Carolinas. With 545 acres of longleaf pine forests, lakes and gently rolling hillsides, it is scenery that you can appreciate. The golf course is not without its fair share of accolades. They’ve hosted just about any qualifier you can think of: U.S. Open qualifiers, Senior Open qualifiers, U.S. Amateur qualifiers, U.S. Amateur qualifiers, and a PGA Club Professional qualifier. Golf Digest considers them one of North Carolina’s 20 Best Courses. Golf Magazine listed them as one of the Top 100 Courses to Play in 1996, and the list goes on.
Mid South is an Arnold Palmer Signature design with some of the best greens in the Pinehurst area. They roll true and are fast! The course is highlighted by its challenging par 5s yet is best known for its finishing hole, a 368-yard par 4. On the front nine, you’ll find a lot of movement and undulation in the fairways. The holes are shaped so you cannot see the green from any of the par 4 and 5 tee boxes unless you are “Playing it Forward.”
Number 18 at Mid South is regarded by many visitors to the Sandhills as the best finishing hole in the area. From the White Tees, the hole plays 368 yards and is handicapped #3. It’s a dogleg right around the other side of the lake that you crossed on the 9th hole. Most players will want to hit their driver off the tee, but a quick survey reveals a very narrow landing area, and the water on the right side isn’t going anywhere. The fairway slopes left to right towards the water so aiming out high on the left side will usually bring your ball back down to the middle of the fairway. Success of the tee will leave a manageable approach shot over water, onto a large green protected by sand on the left. Like many courses across the pond, the 9th and 18th holes use the same green! It’s a fitting finish to a great round of golf!
Depending on your needs and desires, Talamore has several lodging options. Talamore’s Golf Villas offer wonderful amenities and panoramic views of Talamore’s signature holes. Inside, you’ll find plush and well-appointed accommodations including spacious living and dining rooms, bedrooms with two full-size beds, and full kitchens. Each living room and bedroom has cable TV and wireless Internet access. There’s also a washer and dryer in each unit if necessary. Other on-property amenities include a gracious southern style Clubhouse, a pool with cabanas, and a guest hospitality suite complete with an outdoor BBQ.
The accommodations and lodging at Mid South are second to none — three-bedroom units with 1,800 sq. ft of total comfort. Everything in the condos is top-shelf and they need to be seen to be appreciated!
Recently, new accommodations were unveiled. The Brooks and Palmer Cottages are spacious and amenity-laden, conveniently located just minutes from Talamore and Mid South. Both feature 4 bedrooms with 4 queen-sized beds, 4 full-size beds, and 4 baths, and comfortably sleeps 8! Each has a full kitchen, TVs in every bedroom, and big-screen TVs in the game room and living room. There’s outdoor dining for 8 on the old-school brick patios, a Weber grill, cornhole, and a separate firepit. Area with additional seating. What more could you want?
Talamore offers some incredible golf packages that include golf, accommodations, breakfast delivered to your door, and a pig roast on Mondays and Thursdays. You’ll be hard-pressed to find another golf resort in the area that offers so much
When packaged together, the Mid South Club and Talamore are a formidable pair that will rival any two-course combination in the area. Throw in a few other local courses and you’ve got a golf vacation that will produce lifelong memories. For more information or to book your next golf vacation at the Talamore Golf Resort, visit them at www.talamoregolfresort.com.