SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. -- Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club's profound connection to women's golf traces back to owner Peggy Kirk Bell, a charter member of the LPGA and one of the game's greatest instructors.
Pine Needles, a Donald Ross classic dating to 1928, has hosted three U.S. Women's Opens. The quality of the winners -- Annika Sorenstam (1996), Karrie Webb (2001) and Cristie Kerr (2007) -- certainly matches the merits of the 7,015-yard course.
The Sandhills terrain at Pine Needles gently rises and falls. Big hitters can challenge doglegs but only at their peril. Its classic look complements the newly renovated Mid Pines Golf Club across the street.
That was by design, said Kelly Miller, president of Mid Pines/Pine Needles.
"We didn't want them both to look the same," Miller said. "It's why there are a lot of different flavors of ice cream. We've got some longtime guests who say, 'We like Pine Needles, but it's no Mid-Pines.' Others say, 'Mid Pines is nice, but it's no Pine Needles.' That's pretty neat. Having two different looks to us is really a plus."
After golf, Pine Needles guests can simply walk to the lodges, home to spacious suites. The main lodge, home to a game room and golf shop downstairs, serves as a gathering spot with a cozy bar and fine dining restaurant that serve excellent food and an intimate feel that bigger resorts can't replicate.