Pine Needles one of many options in Pinehurst area

    It is no coincidence that Pine Needles is the site this weekend for the women's professional golf championship, the third time the famed Donald Ross course has hosted the event.  The course shows up consistently at or near the top of the rankings for most women friendly courses.  Peggy Kirk Bell would have it no other way.
    Ms. Kirk is an icon of women's golf.  She and the legendary Babe Zaharias formed the first women's professional tour.  Kirk and her late husband Warren Bell purchased the Pine Needles property in the early 1950s.  At the time, the original course, built in 1927, was not in the best of shape, but the couple and a few other investors, including the former PGA pro Julius Boros, had a vision for the entire property.  They built a chalet-style clubhouse, then lodges that mimicked the clubhouse style, a pool, conference rooms and the modern accoutrements of a top resort (but always with restraint so as not to detract from the golf).  Kirk created one of the best teaching facilities in the nation, and concentrated much of her time instructing women.  
    The resort, with just 75 or so rooms, is small by golf resort standards; its guests like it that way and the return-stay rate is high.  With coverage on national television this weekend, those unfamiliar with the course will get a taste of classic Ross.  With Pine Needles and Pinehurst #2, the ultimate Ross course, just a few miles apart, the dedicated golfer can fashion quite a nice weekend of early-20th Century golf in the Sand Hills of North Carolina.
    As for real estate, the Pinehurst area offers a wide range of options on or near the golf courses.  Prices, which have held up nicely, range anywhere from around the $300s into the millions.  Pinehurst membership costs $40,000 and confers access to six of the resort's eight courses, including #2.  Dozens of other excellent courses are within a half hour.  


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