How tough are classic Donald Ross greens at Pinehurst? About 1200 yards tougher
PINEHURST, NORTH CAROLINA – Day one at Pinehurst I played No. 7, the longest of the Pinehurst golf courses from the blue tees (a box up) at 6,819 yards, which I played from.
I followed that up with a round today on classic Pinehurst No. 3, a Donald Ross design from 1910 that maxes out at 5,682 yards. Nine par 4s are 351 yards or less.
And I shot the same dang score.
On the Rees Jones-designed No. 7 course, you’re left with a lot of mid-iron approach shots, especially when drives aren’t getting much roll in the off-season, but played to generously-sized, modern greens. I never felt like a good shot didn’t go rewarded. No. 3 on the other hand has a lot of holes that leave you hitting wedge approach shots from 80-110 yards. But the greens are smaller, often crowned, and some tucked pin positions just beg for you to see just how precise you can be - which is foolish.
I went for a few pins today with wedges in my hands and wound up with double bogeys as a result. I hit more greens on No. 7 despite plenty of 5-iron approach shots. At No. 3 I missed greens for two reasons: being too aggressive at tucked pins, and making horrible swings on the back nine simply because they had gotten in my head and I was taking a few extra waggles in my setup and gripping the club a little too tight.
No. 3, like No. 1 is a favorite course for members, not necessarily the first option for guests who want to play the tournament courses of Pinehurst No. 2, 4 and 8. But No. 3 will remind you to hit a few more wedge shots at the range over banging drivers all day.
I have three more days at Pinehurst so I still have a chance for my wedges to save some face. I’m going to be at the Pinehurst Academy tomorrow morning before playing No. 6, and I won’t even be taking the driver out of my bag. I’ll be surprised if I hit anything more than a pitching wedge.
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