By Gregg Dewalt

When it comes to one-stop destination golf shopping, especially in the eastern half of the United States, Pinehurst Resort simply has no equal.

That’s no secret, or at least it shouldn’t be, given the resort’s long history and the inventory of golf courses its ownership has assembled. It starts with the iconic Pinehurst No. 2 course, site of Payne Stewart’s dramatic U.S. Open victory in 1999, and continues with other masterpieces such as No. 3 and No. 4.

Besides those three, there are six other courses, all within shouting distance of one another, that were designed by some of the game’s greatest architects. There’s also The Cradle short course and Thistle Dhu, an immense 18-hole putting course to provide another aspect to “fun” golf.

From the time you check into the resort’s grand Carolina Hotel or the quaint Holly Inn, guests are in for a treat and an experience of a lifetime that should be on every golfer’s bucket list.

Although No. 2 is the centerpiece of Pinehurst Resort and the main attraction for golfers, Nos. 3 and 4 should not be overlooked.

Here’s a quick look at a few of the other courses that make Pinehurst Resort a special destination.

Pinehurst Resort No. 3 Course

This quaint Donald Ross design has been called a mini-No. 2. At 5,155 yards and playing to par 68, don’t let it fool you into thinking shooting a good score will be as relaxing as a stroll through the downtown of the Village of Pinehurst.

One of the starters relayed this story about an unsuspecting player who drove the green on the 287-yard par 4.

“He walked off with a five,” the starter said.

It’s not hard to see why. The Ross genius in the green complexes is both frustrating and befuddling. Approach shots must be precise – anything less will result in shots running off into the surrounds, leaving plenty of short-game options with virtually no chance of getting up and down.

No. 3’s back-nine plays to a traditional par 36 with two tough par 3s, including a 196-yard uphill behemoth. The closing hole is a 386-yard uphill par 4 that plays quite a bit longer than its scorecard length and is sure to leave a lasting impression.

In short, No. 3 is a thinking player’s course, where brawn doesn’t matter nearly as much as brains, imagination and touch. Nerves and a high tolerance for frustration are musts as Ross’s greens repel shot after shot. More