The Cradle at Pinehurst is, to me, what golf is all about and what golf should always be about -- having fun, inclusivity, playability, beauty and relaxation. Seeing it for the first time you'd be surprised to learn it was just built in 2017 by Gil Hanse. Feels like it's sat there for a century. Feels like Donald Ross meandered from the Punch Bowl 3rd green to the Pinecone every evening while pondering what next to tweak on the No. 2 Course.
The Cradle occupies as iconic of a piece of golf landscape as there is -- the front lawn at Pinehurst -- and it occupies it flawlessly: 9 holes, the longest just 127 yards tipped out, with multiple holes under 60 yards. You can in under an hour, barefoot, with as few as 1 club, and a cocktail in your hand as music plays literally from the bunkers. It's perfect.
The Punch Bowl 3rd is probably my favorite hole. As you can see, it can be played long in any direction; then you watch giddily as the ball winds around and back closer to the hole before disappearing out of your view. Then you're all tippy-toed out walking up as you try to see who finished where.
The Cradle is perfect.
Learn more about it here. And, if you're smart, book a future trip to Pinehurst for when things are more back to normal. Place only gets better and better.