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News-Herald Staff Writer David S. Glasier has been playing golf for over 50 years and writing about it for over 30. Always operating on a tight budget, Glasier is on a lifelong quest to find good courses to play at affordable prices.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Day One of DSG's 2014 North Carolina golf vacation: Mid Pines Golf Club

Once upon a time, my main job at the paper was to write about television as a columnist and critic.

     While I've not done that for going on 10 years, I still catch myself using TV references in everyday situations.

     Thus I'm tempted to write that the renovation of Mid Pines Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C., begun in November 2012 and finished last summer, was an "extreme makeover.''

     But having just played this classic Donald Ross track after being away for several years, I'm going to dial back on the "extreme.''

     The makeover of Mid-Pines, supervised by architect Kyle Franz from the design firm owned by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, was not extreme. It was masterful.

     Franz and his crews de-modernized Mid Pines and restored the natural blend of playing elements that were there when the course opened in 1921.

     Gone are standard-sized fairways, thick rough and conventional bunkers.

     In their place are wide, tightly cut Bermuda fairways bordered by sandy waste areas dotted with native grasses and rough-hewn bunkers similar to those installed by Ross during the original build of Mid Pines.

     With the sand framing, every hole on the course looks different and far more interesting.

     There is no rough because there doesn't need to be.

     Miss the fairway, and you're hitting off of hardpan sand or sand covered with pine needles. You may well find your ball stymied by a patch of wire grass, too.

     This is golf as Ross envisioned it in the Sandhills area of Southern Pines, Pinehurst and Aberdeen.

     The greens were part of the renovation, too.

     While he didn't alter the essential contours of the putting surfaces, Franz covered them with a new Bermuda hybrid that better tolerates the heat and humidity of a North Carolina summer.

      Franz also restored the perimeters of the putting surfaces, enhancing the "push-up'' rises that are a trademark of Ross' design for greens.

     We played Mid-Pines from the white tees at par-72 and 6.171 yards. There isn't a bad hole in the bunch. This was a great course before the renovation. Now, it's a gem.

     You can directly book lodging and golf at Mid Pines and its equally distinguished sister course, Pine Needles.

     I'd recommend using, which has a Spring Premiere II package (three rounds/two nights) that includes rounds at Mid Pines, Southern Pines Country Club and Legacy Golf Links in nearby Aberdeen.

     Cost is $479 per person in a two-bedroom condo near the Pinehurst Resort.


     Legacy Golf Package

     12515 U.S. Highway 15-501 South, Aberdeen, N.C. 28315

     (910) 944-8838; toll free, (888) 287-2199


     Mid Pines Golf Club

     1010 Midland Road

     Southern Pines, NC 28387

     (910) 692-2114


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