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Pinehurst No 2

Pinehurst No 2 uncovered: What will the US Open players face?

What is in store for the competitors at this year’s US Open venue? Our own Hannah Holden got the chance to experience the North Carolina classic for herself  

 

Pinehurst No 2 is a very deceptive golf course. It looks quite open off the tee and gives you the impression there is room to hit it. 

Miss the fairway and you won’t be in the kind of really thick rough that you’d expect to see at a US Open venue.  

But here’s where the difficulty arises – because replacing that rough are sandy waste areas which are dangerous and unpredictable.  

You might find the ball isn’t sitting very nicely, or there are funny little slopes, or little clumps of grass you need to navigate.  

Sometimes you’ll get lucky and have a good lie, but you can also end up with some very difficult recovery shots. 

Often, it will look like you can get a clean contact but, because there are a lot of subtleties at the ground level, you can end up on downslopes and in little dips. The texture of the sand changes so much. 

It’s very hard to guess how the ball is going to come out. That’s a big challenge – knowing what the ball is going to do from different places.  

The greens continue the theme. They look quite big, but only certain areas will hold the ball.  

That means you almost have to hit it inside 10 feet to stay on the putting surface because they run off in so many different directions and gather into swales and bunkers.  

You can think you’ve hit a very good shot but, suddenly, you’re not on the green. 

I played the course at 6,600 yards (similar to the length at the 2014 US Women’s Open). I hit a lot of hybrids and long irons in, which made it very difficult to hold the greens. 

Historically, those greens would have been stimping a lot slower and those slopes would have been manageable.  

Now, our green speeds are so quick it just makes the area where you can hold the green a lot smaller. 

For some of the downhill putts, you’re just praying. They’re so quick, and you don’t appreciate that on TV. 

Pinehurst No 2 is very hard to attack and when you miss the green the shot choices are so challenging. That’s another part of the difficulty – picking the right recovery shot. 

Everything is so clean. You can putt from off the green, you can run a hybrid or a wood, but you can also chip. You need to stick to the shot you’ve picked and, even if you get it close, you won’t find many straight putts on this golf course. Getting up and down is tricky.  

How would I rank it? It was difficult. It’s safe to say I felt pretty beaten up when I came off the course.  

Yes, there are holes you can play well and make par but, if you’re slightly off-line, it’s easy to rack up big scores.  

If you’re trying to get up and down and don’t, it’s very easy to make doubles out of nowhere. 

Several of the holes play host to quite severe elevation changes. If you’re in a sandy wasteland, trying to hit up to a raised green, it’s very difficult.  

I wouldn’t describe Pinehurst No 2 as fun golf – it’s more of a grind – but it was obviously interesting to play because of its history and difficulty.  

Pinehurst No 2

Pinehurst No 2: Three holes that could decide the US Open

4th: 528 yards, par 4

It’s lined with bunkers and trees down each side, and it’s dead straight – so there’s no angle to hit into. I hit a full-blooded driver then pitched a hybrid just short and it nearly ran all the way through to the back. 

The green is really long but it’s raised and pitched from back to front. If you don’t get it onto the green, you’ve got a chip shot off a level that’s really hard to stop. Even if you do get it on, you’ve got a rapid putt back down the hill. 

9th: 184 yards, par 3

It’s the shortest par 3 at Pinehurst No 2 but, when I played it, the pin was tucked back left and close to a massive bunker that covers most of the left and middle of the green. 

If you go long, everything just drops off a cliff. It’s hard to work out the depth as the tee is slightly higher than the green. 

Not only is it hard to hit that green, it’s difficult to find the right part. You can still face a massive putt over several mounds.  

13th: 381 yards, par 4

This was probably the hole I played the worst. It’s a sharp dogleg and the approach needs to be correct. It’s also uphill and well bunkered. If you end up in one, especially the trap short left, it easily plugs and you’re left with a hard shot up to a raised green that’s very quick. 

I think I left about three or four in that bunker. So pick the landing zone correctly and get the right club onto the green. 

Now have your say

What do you make of the course? Will Pinehurst No 2 pose a fierce US Open test? Why not let us know by leaving a comment on X.

Hannah Holden

hannah holden

Hannah Holden is the Equipment and Instruction Editor here at National Club Golfer. If you’re looking to improve your game, by changing your golf swing or upgrading your golf equipment she’ll have the answers.

As well as writing lots of features and reviews you can find her on our YouTube channel giving you insights on the latest rules, clubs and tips to improve your golf game.

Hannah is a member at Alwoodley golf club. You will either find her here or driving up and down the country playing in a variety of elite amateur events.

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