Southern Pines Golf Club

Southern Pines Golf Club – March 11, 2014.

southern pines golf clubThe Donald Ross designed Southern Pines Golf Club was the site of the third day of our outing in the Pinehurst area of North Carolina. Although the entrance to the facility is unimpressive, the course itself  was in relatively good shape for early in the season, but recent aeration made the greens a bit tricky. The generous fairways would normally be receptive to my tee shots; however, that is assuming I could swing a club the same way twice in a row. After a double, triple, double start, my mental state apparently was a bit fragile, and I stumbled in with a pathetic 96, hopefully one that won’t count in my handicap calculations. With nothing remotely close to a birdie on my card, I felt it was time for a burger, and Mulligans on the 18th, the full-facility restaurant at Southern Pines did not disappoint.

I must add that prior to our tee time, we had the humbling experience of watching a group of young golfers (pre-teen to teenage boys and girls) from a Canadian Country Club, contort their bodies and crush shot after shot down the 1st fairway, from the tips. My only thought was, “Thank goodness they’re not behind us”, watching our beer bellied, fat asses hook, pull, slice, and drop-kick, our shots down several different fairways off the 1st tee. Oh to be young again!!

One neat feature of Southern Pines is that there is a concession stand at the intersection of several holes on the back 9. Poor play makes me hungry, so I stopped after Number 11 for a Chicken Salad sandwich. Knowing I was going to have lunch after the round, I opted for a ½ sandwich, which was excellent. Served on fresh multi-grain bread with large chucks of chicken and a perfect amount of mayonnaise- it was just the right portion to take the edge off the hunger, and adjust my mind to absorb three more consecutive pitiful holes, before finally making a few shots.

Mulligan’s on the 18th was the relief I needed to forget about the round; a delightfully friendly staff, appropriate seating in the restaurant, deck area overlooking the 18th green, and a full-service bar. Oddly the place is decorated with lots of Ohio State pennants, flags and signs. I learned that the largest contingent of Ohio State fans in the state enjoy Mulligan’s hosting of all the Ohio State games during football season. Mulligans is open every day, even when the course is closed as it is that popular with the area residents.

I enjoyed the “Mooney Burger”, a ¼ lb burger cooked perfectly served with Swiss cheese, coleslaw and chili, served with homemade, thick cut potato chips. I’ll be surprised if I have a better burger the rest of the golf season. Mt GDP’s (golf dining partners) had a triple-decker sandwich, a fried chicken sandwich, and a barbeque. All three were impressed with the quality and quantity of their choices and all were priced around $8.00. It was obvious why so many non-golfers were in the restaurant on a Tuesday afternoon, as the food was great, the atmosphere delightful and the staff incredibly hospitable, friendly and efficient. I’ll definitely keep Mulligan’s on the 18th on my short list of best golf-course cuisine, and give my highest recommendation to make it a must on your next trip to Pinehurst.

Food:5 Stars (5 / 5)
Course:3 Stars (3 / 5)
Staff:4 Stars (4 / 5)

Welcome to Birdies and Burgers

Golf ClubA number of years ago, I set a goal of playing 100 golf courses in Virginia. Two summers ago I accomplished that goal, playing one of the nicer semi-private courses “Spring Creek”, just outside of Charlottesville, as my 100th Virginia golf course. Having worked for forty years in education, serving as a teacher, coach, athletic director and principal primarily in Fairfax County, I had many opportunities to be in Charlottesville for the various Virginia High School League activities and meetings. Additionally, I spent some time in Charlottesville working on my doctorate in education, so playing the 100th course in Charlottesville was especially appropriate, since my new life goal is replacing the energies focused on my work in education with two of my favorite things; golf and food.

Admittedly, I eat food much better than I play the game of golf, as like most duffers I can really spoil that “good walk”. Nonetheless, the camaraderie, the trash-talk, jokes, competition and self-deprecation help soothe my soul. I also must admit that at some point in the round, the timing generally contingent on my level of play, my thoughts turn to what I am going to eat at the end of the round. After finishing my round at Spring Creek, played in a significant downpour, we headed to the pro-shop, which was still a temporary clubhouse at the time. Somewhat surprisingly, the menu offered some interesting choices, with clever naming conventions and the quality of food belied the rather humble nature of the pro shop.

I determined that I am not unique in my love of the game or golf and food, and it might be fun to provide my critique of both, for those like me who love the 19th hole as much as the first 18. So despite the chill of February and the one foot of snow outside, my thoughts turn to the spring thaw so I can “grip it and rip it”, and chow down on the eats offered at the various pro shop I’ll visit this coming golf season.

I’ll be heading to the Pinehurst area of North Carolina in three weeks for four rounds of golf, and at least that many meals.  The following month I’ll be in sunny Florida in the St. Augustine area, playing at least five courses, some with a five course meal to follow.  After those two trips, my focus will return to Virginia Golf Courses and once off the fairways, I’ll turn my attention to the fare served up in the clubhouse. So stay tuned as you “Strap on the feedbag with Chuck” where I’ll give my thoughts on the golf course and more importantly the main course.

Until then, Hit ‘Em Straight! And if not straight; at least long!

- Charlie Ostlund