Mid Pines has 20th-century look back
SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. - Nearly a century ago, Donald Ross applied the final touches to his new course at Mid Pines Inn & Golf Club.
Having spent much time in North Carolina’s Sandhills – notably for his work at nearby Pinehurst – Ross was familiar with the sandy ground, wiregrass and tall, slender pines that define golf courses in the region.
In the ensuing years, some of those features had lost their distinctiveness at Mid Pines. Thanks to a significant restoration started late last year, the course’s early 20th-century look is back.
Kyle Franz, a course architect and shaper, was brought in to rebuild bunkers, restore original green contours and replace fairway rough with the hardpan sand and wiregrass that was part of Ross’ original 1921 design.
“What struck me looking at a lot of Sandhills golf courses was the beautiful sweep of the landscape, the sandy soils and the potpourri of colors you get,” said Franz, who has worked with such A-list designers as Tom Doak, Bill Coore, Ben Crenshaw and Gil Hanse. “The burnt orange of the sand and the pine needles and the sun-light at certain times of day is a dynamic you don’t get anywhere in the world.”
With Mid Pines having reopened for play, the Ross design reveals itself to a new generation of golfers.
Now the next step is to finish the changes by regrassing all 18 greens with MiniVerde and resprigging the fairways with Bermudagrass. The course, No. 183 in the Golfweek’s Best Classic Courses ranking, will close sometime this summer and reopen in the fall.
“The concept of those greens is every bit as innovative and thoughtful as the greens on Pinehurst No. 2,” Franz said. “It’s a great putting golf course. All the thought required on No. 2 of where to run the ball on, where to miss it, where to not miss, it’s all there at Mid Pines. You’ve got a complete, unvarnished set of Ross greens, hardly tinkered with.”