Pinehurst-area golf resorts: Foxfire Golf and Travel seems to be back on track

By Tim McDonald, Contributor

JACKSON SPRINGS, N.C. - Foxfire Golf and Travel is one of those golf resorts that's been through so many changes you're not sure what to expect.

Foxfire Golf and Travel
Low-handicappers are starting to rediscover Foxfire Golf and Travel, which in the past was known more for low prices than quality play.
Foxfire Golf and TravelFoxfire Golf and Travel near PinehurstFoxfire Golf and Travel - East course
If you go

The original 18-hole layout by Gene Hamm was a highly regarded golf course when it opened in the late 1960s. The resort went through a number of ownership changes and added another 18 (in two nine-hole increments) in the '70s, but it didn't maintain the kind of reputation that seduced you to play there. It was known mainly for being - what's the word we're looking for? - "cheap."

Now, after yet another management shift, Foxfire is seemingly starting to regain its stature.

"The money's starting to get into the golf courses and it's starting to show," Head Professional Bill Baker said.

Rounds are up at Foxfire Golf and Travel's East course and West course, from 35,000 in 2002 to about 45,000 now, a sign that word of the changes is starting to get around. Baker is particularly pleased that curious low-handicappers are checking the club out - and coming back.

The East course at Foxfire Golf and Travel seems to be a slight favorite.

"I think the East is more of a shot-maker's course, where the West has greens and fairways a little more generous," Baker said. "I like the greens on the West, but I think the layout if more attractive on the East."

The East course measures 6,834 yards from the blue tees, but that's a little deceptive because of the rolling terrain.

"You'll find this course plays longer than what the numbers say because it's uphill," member Mark Young said. "Plus you won't find too many flat lies."

That's because in addition to the elevation, most of the fairways are tilted, right from No. 1, a downhill par 5 with water on the right that comes into play on the second shot. If you aren't going for it in two, you'll be laying up to a fairway that tilts sharply down to water. Heck of a way to start.

Compounding the elevation and tilted fairways are the pin placements, some of which can mean a three-club difference depending on their location.

Then there's the rough. It's thick and nasty, even in late August when it had been cut relatively low.

"That's the No. 1 rule around here," member Kurt Pahner asserted. "Stay out of the rough."

East course at Foxfire Golf and Travel: The verdict

Foxfire East is a mid-tier Pinehurst-area course that's scenic and playable. In most other places this might be considered one of the best clubs around; because it's here, it's a ways from the top, but it's definitely worth the price.

"We're still working on the amenities and outside the cart paths," Baker said.

Foxfire Golf and Travel officials took down about 5,000 trees, and the greens and fairways are in much better shape for it.

Dining out

Pinehurst has a good variety of restaurants, especially for such a small place. Top choices include Anthony's, which serves Italian; seafood eatery Aqua; Biscuitville, which specializes, obviously, in biscuits; and, for serious carnivores, Beefeaters. Hennings has a daily buffet, which locals most like to hit Friday nights and Saturday mornings.

Basil's is well-known for its seafood, especially the Maryland-style crab cakes, with black angus steaks and veal and chicken dishes also on offer. The Magnolia Inn dates to 1895 and is a landmark of Pinehurst Village. Pinehurst Resort has 11 dining spots, including 1895, the Carolina Dining Room and the Hackers Bar and Grill.

Tim McDonaldTim McDonald, Contributor

Veteran golf writer Tim McDonald keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.

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