The course can be described as a hybrid between the Coore & Crenshaw restored course and the more traditionally roughed course featured in the 99 and 05 US Opens. There are several waste bunkers designed to look like the "natural areas" of the restored course, but there is plenty of rough, as well. The fairways are extremely wide and replicate the restored fairways, as opposed to the more narrow fairways of the roughed course. This version, Pinehurst #2 (2014 US Open), is a replication of this year's U.S. Open. The pins are all authentic, and 15 of the 18 tees are the full length US Opens tees. For our relatively short-hitting TGC golfer, this course is a beast. The greens are just above medium firmness, and the #2 greens are notorious for their turtleback design and are difficult to hold. The scoring conditions are quite similar to how this year's Open was, outside of Martin Kaymer.
I want every designer who has ever thought about doing a real course rendition (RCR) to stop. Right now. Stop. Stopped? Ok, good.
Now, go play Pinehurst #2 (2014 U.S. Open) by Craig LeVasseur. Think about the amount of effort that you have put (or will put) into your RCR. Now double . . . triple . . . maybe quadruple it. If you can’t get it within the ball park of what LeVasseur has created, scrap it and do something else. Sound harsh? Good. There is only one way to do an RCR, and that is with the commitment, style, and realism that LeVasseur devoted to this design.
As part of his U.S. Open project, LeVasseur is putting his design efforts into creating the last few U.S. Open venues, starting with the Donald Ross classic, Pinehurst #2. I have special place for this course in my heart. First, Donald Ross is my second favorite designer (hard to argue with the variety and completeness of the Pete Dye portfolio). Second, I am from North Carolina originally, and this course reminds me of the Old North State unlike any other. Finally, the Coore-Crenshaw redesign did everything possible to revive this course back to its roots as a sand-dune laden heap of brush, scrap, coarse grass, and then marvelous fairways and turtleback greens so signature to the original Ross design.
So to say that I was going to be critical on this course is an understatement. I wanted this course to be as perfect as it could be within the confines of the designer. Thanks, HB, for putting out the Boreal theme in time for LeVasseur to finish this design. It was the icing on the cake for an otherwise already amazing recreation.
I’m not going to go into specific holes. Each one is a near-perfect rendition of its real life counterpart. This course is long, firm, and tough to score on, just like the original. Multiple 500+ yard par 4s will test your mettle, especially into the wind. Bring the wedges and the putter, as you will need them.
Most importantly, however, is that LeVasseur put together the perfect combination of speed, slope, and firmness. It would have been easy to get carried away with the any of those three components, but showing true restraint, LeVasseur stayed true to the design and made this course infinitely playable.
Some of the non-waste bunkers could have used just a touch more depth. Additionally, the lighting, had it been a bit softer, would have taken advantage of some of the shadows cast by the waste grasses (which were very well done). These minor quips are not enough to knock this course off of the 5-Star pedestal upon which it deservedly sits.
I’m going to finish where I started this review. I hope to reiterate how important EFFORT is when doing any RCR, whether it be your local muni or one of the most famous courses in the world. LeVasseur watched hours and hours of U.S. Open coverage from this year to get the green slopes, integrated Google Earth, and spent over 100 hours on making this course what it is. This is now the benchmark for what RCR’s should be. All other RCRs will be judged based on this course.
5.0, an instant classic, a guaranteed tour course, and a course that everyone should play.
|2016||Rex Hospital Open||Web.com||Joben McFly|
|2017||Sanderson Farms Championship||PGA||Scott Doyley|