Tobacco Road - no. 13
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Tobacco Road - no. 13
The par-5 13th is arguably one of Tobacco Road's signature holes with a green perched in between mounds. Hit a couple of good shots, though, and it's definitely a birdie or eagle chance. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Images
Tobacco Road - no. 1
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Tobacco Road - no. 1
The tee shot on the opening hole par 5 at Tobacco Road looks more difficult than it really is. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Tobacco Road - no. 2
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Tobacco Road - no. 2
Like many holes at Tobacco Road, the green on the par-4 second is the tricky part. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Tobacco Road - no. 3
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Tobacco Road - no. 3
Finding the right level of the green is critical on the par-3 third hole at Tobacco Road. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Tobacco Road - no. 4
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Tobacco Road - no. 4
A large tree looms in the waste area of the difficult par-4 fourth at Tobacco Road. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Tobacco Road - no. 4
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Tobacco Road - no. 4
The approach on the par-4 fourth hole at Tobacco Road favors a right-handed draw. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Tobacco Road - no. 5
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Tobacco Road - no. 5
The bunkers at Tobacco Road are not hazards. You can ground your club in them. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Tobacco Road - no. 8
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Tobacco Road - no. 8
The par-3 eighth has one of the most difficult greens at Tobacco Road. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Tobacco Road - no. 9
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Tobacco Road - no. 9
Here's the mostly blind approach on the par-4 ninth at Tobacco Road. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Tobacco Road - no. 9
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Tobacco Road - no. 9
Talk about elevated greens. You have to take steps to find the ninth green at Tobacco Road. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Tobacco Road - no. 10
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Tobacco Road - no. 10
There's plenty to navigate on the long par-4 10th hole at Tobacco Road. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Tobacco Road - no. 11
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Tobacco Road - no. 11
The tee shot on the par-5 11th at Tobacco Road. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Tobacco Road - no. 11
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Tobacco Road - no. 11
There's not much room to land the ball from the approach on the par-5 11th hole at Tobacco Road. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Tobacco Road - no. 12
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Tobacco Road - no. 12
Check out the angle of the green on the par-4 12th hole at Tobacco Road. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Tobacco Road - no. 13
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Tobacco Road - no. 13
Here's a closer look at the well-protected green on the par-5 13th at Tobacco Road. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Tobacco Road - no. 14
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Tobacco Road - no. 14
The 14th is another example of Tobacco Road's varying par 3s. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Tobacco Road - no. 15
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Tobacco Road - no. 15
The short par-4 15th is a birdie opportunity as long as the tee shot is well placed. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Tobacco Road - no. 15
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Tobacco Road - no. 15
There's lots of movement on the 15th green at Tobacco Road, but with a well placed shot you can use the slopes to your advantage. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Tobacco Road - no. 17
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Tobacco Road - no. 17
There's lots of sand on the par-3 17th at Tobacco Road. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Tobacco Road - no. 18
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Tobacco Road - no. 18
The tee shot is job 1 on the difficult par-4 finishing hole at Tobacco Road. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Tobacco Road - bell
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Tobacco Road - bell
There are several bells throughout Tobacco Road so golfers can notify golfers on the tee that they have cleared the fairway. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Tobacco Road - clubhouse
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Tobacco Road - clubhouse
Tobacco Road has a rustic feel throughout, including the clubhouse. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Tobacco Road - putting green
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Tobacco Road - putting green
Fortunately, golfers playing Tobacco Road can practice the extreme putts before the round. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Tobacco Road - map
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Tobacco Road - map
Players come from all over the country and world to play Tobacco Road as indicated by the pins on this map in the clubhouse. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor

In pictures: Mike Strantz' Tobacco Road Golf Club in North Carolina is one for the ages

SANFORD, N.C. -- If you're a fan of the late Mike Strantz, you can only wonder what the imaginative designer would have done had he not succumbed to cancer at age 50 in 2005. Fortunately, though, golfers can find the best example of his creativity at Tobacco Road Golf Club , an 18-hole masterpiece in the Sandhills of North Carolina less than 30 minutes from Pinehurst.

Tobacco Road, which was built on an old quarry, has blind shots, elevation change and crazy greens. It looks more intimidating than it really is, and all these features have a purpose. Strantz gave golfers all kinds of options on how to approach holes and if you have the skills, you can post a good score as long as you can piece the puzzle together.

For example, the opening tee shot has two huge mounds in front the landing area of driver for many players, but if you look at the yardage guide or have played their before, you realize you just you need to carry the mounds to find the fairway. The blind approaches can also appear difficult, but often the greens funnel the ball toward the hole.

In any event, golfers won't get bored playing this course, and it always presents different challenges. It may be a but much for high-handicappers (you can't exactly play the ball on the ground for the most part), but any avid golfer who wants to see something out of the ordinary but well designed, can appreciate Tobacco Road.


Staff reviews of Tobacco Road: Mike Bailey


Video: Ginella's Journeys visits Pinehurst, Tobacco Road


Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.
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In pictures: Mike Strantz' Tobacco Road Golf Club in North Carolina is one for the ages
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