The mecca for golf in the United States, Pinehurst holds a revered status in the sport, offering a variety of courses and price ranges.
Perhaps no resort in the area receives more recognition than Pinehurst Resort. However, recently finished and ongoing renovations at Talamore Golf Resort have made it a greater part of the conversation.
Closed from April until August of 2016, The New Course at Talamore has received rave reviews since reopening. Meanwhile, the resort’s second course, the Arnold Palmer-designed Mid South Club, will undergo significant changes this summer.
“It was a shot in the arm that the property needed,” said Matt Hausser, Talamore Resort’s general manager. “Everything was fantastic from the reviews we got last year, bookings for 2017 are looking really good and it’s really been a plus for us.”
Here’s a breakdown of the renovations at both courses:
Hausser said the idea for Talamore’s 25th anniversary remastering plan came about when customer feedback and greater research revealed the course’s bent grass greens had deteriorated.
So following in the steps of some of the other top courses in the area that had switched to Bermuda greens — such as Pinehurst No. 2, Pinehurst No. 8 and Pine Needles — Talamore converted its to Champion Bermuda.
To restore its green complexes to their original Rees Jones 1991 design, Talamore also increased its putting surfaces by 20 percent and added 60-inch TifEagle Bermuda green collars.
In the wake of Talamore’s successful changes, the greens at Mid South are also being converted to Champion Bermuda this summer.
Fewer bunkers, more benefits
Hausser said below-average golfers who played Talamore often found themselves hitting out of several bunkers. Some guests even refrained from playing the course because of how difficult the bunkers made it, he added.
Removing some of those bunkers became a priority during renovations. According to Hausser, about 61 sand traps were eliminated, opening the fairways up a lot more.
However, this change has yielded other significant benefits.
With less sand on the course, the playing conditions have been enhanced because the maintenance staff can pay more attention to the grass. There’s also better cart access, which Hausser said has reduced the pace of play.
“It’s helped out immensely as far as having the members come over here and play more versus just playing at Mid South,” Hausser said, “because now they can drive everywhere and that’s what they want to do.”
Similar efforts are being made to improve the playability at Mid South, where a new set of forward tees will be added to many holes and the cart path system will be refined.
‘Another defining characteristic’
When Talamore opened in 1991, the course garnered worldwide attention for its llama caddies. Now the course has another defining characteristic.
During the renovations, a dozen sod wall bunkers were built, making Talamore the only course in the Sandhills with multiple sod wall bunkers.
“People will come up and say, ‘Yeah, I didn’t hit it in the sod wall all day,’” Hausser said. “They’re excited about that, so it’s kind of a neat thing that they see them there and they’re excited they don’t hit ‘em.”
For any unfortunate soul who finds their golf ball in one of the sod wall bunkers on hole No. 2, they might soon have their escape attempts aired live in the clubhouse. Hausser said Talamore is looking into installing bunker cams on the hole.
With Talamore’s new sod wall bunkers and Mid South boasting more water than a majority of courses in the area, the pair of courses form a unique combination.
“They have a different feel with each one,” Hausser said. “And if you go on a golf vacation, you don’t want to feel like you’re playing the same golf course every day. We definitely don’t have that feel.”
Want to plan a trip to Talamore Golf Resort?
Six different seasonal golf packages, including an Easter and a Mother’s Day special, are currently available. More information can be found here or by calling 1-800-552-6292.