The president of Andrew Harper, Michael Heflin, recently spent four days in Pinehurst, North Carolina, home to the historic golf resort and bucket-list destination for those who relish a good walk spoiled. He stayed at the Donald Ross Villa, named after the architect of Pinehurst’s first four courses. It is part of the offerings from Carolina Villas, which is adjacent to the Carolina Hotel, a century-old property where they say you can feel the spirit of Pinehurst as soon as you turn onto its drive.
Overall impressions: Pinehurst is one of my favorite places on earth. Both beautiful and approachable, the town maintains an incredible charm. While there have been subtle enhancements, like new breweries, improvements to on-property dining experiences, exceptional renovations to the Carolina Villas and upcoming changes to multiple Pinehurst hotels, the majesty remains. The introduction of the Cradle, a par-3 walking course, and the 18-hole putting course were extremely welcome adventures, perfect for unwinding after a challenging round on the No. 2 or No. 4. While safety precautions were obvious — masks were readily available and encouraged in all indoor spaces — the rhythm and cadence felt the same as prior experiences. Pinehurst has invested in moving more activities outdoors, so there are more al fresco drinking and dining options than ever before. All in all Pinehurst felt like Pinehurst, and that is the best thing I could possibly say about it.
Favorite moment: Winding down after 36 holes of golf at the Drum & Quill in downtown Pinehurst listening to live music on the street surrounded by great friends.
You can’t stop thinking about: The hole in one that one of us made on No. 7 — an unbelievable moment in the midst of an incredible weekend.
Why it’s so special: There are very few golf experiences in the world like walking the No.2 with a professional caddie and battling the ghosts of the professionals who have played it before you.
Favorite meal or meals: Drum & Quill — always. A quaint British-style pub on the main stretch of downtown Pinehurst, offering live music, delicious food and a wonderfully understated atmosphere that perfectly complements a day on the links.
Where or what to drink: The Pinehurst Transfusion is always a fan favorite. Personally, I’m a John Daly guy.
Day-trip suggestions: Tobacco Road Golf Club, just down the street in Sanford, is a must-visit when in Pinehurst. It is “resort” golf at its best and a great complement to the competitive-golf atmosphere of Pinehurst.
Surprising fact: Pinehurst is an amazing winter destination too. While it can be cold for golf, the holiday experience is exceptional. From ice skating and all-season pools to the wonderful spa, Pinehurst is an amazing long-weekend getaway in any season.
Souvenir: I brought back a lot! Putter covers, hats, pullovers, polos, even an umbrella. It’s Pinehurst, and you want one of everything that’s adorned with the famous Putter Boy.
What to pack: One of my favorite things about Pinehurst is how casual the atmosphere is. It carries the air of excellence, and the ambiance is one of almost reverence, but the resort is nothing if not comfortable. I’d recommend bringing a sports coat for outdoor dining, but you’ll likely never need it. A golf pullover and some slacks will cover you basically everywhere in Pinehurst.
Insider’s Tip: Most golfers skip the spa, but they shouldn’t. And the breakfast buffet, included in almost every golf package, is well worth the time and energy to get to the main hotel. In fact, it’s an easy jump from there to every course, so don’t miss the breakfast!