December 15, 2021

Dormie Club

Elevated Lifestyle,

SOAR Magazine

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Dormie Club offers 310 acres of rustic, secluded rolling sandhills near Pinehurst, North Carolina

The only original Coore & Crenshaw design in North Carolina, Dormie Club was named the #3 best new course by Golfweek upon opening in 2010. The club, acquired in 2017 by Dormie Network, has undergone a grand transformation with the recent addition of high-end lodging, a 16,600-square-foot clubhouse, standalone pro shop and more.

“With the grand opening, the club has come full circle,” said Tony Chapman, General Manager at Dormie Club. “This is the fulfillment of the club’s potential as one of the greatest private courses in the Pinehurst area and a true stay-and-play destination. The struggles that occurred in the 2010s have been remedied by the Dormie Network’s ongoing investments, beginning in 2017 and wrapping up now. These strategic improvements will propel this club into a promising new future.”

Dormie Club’s all-new facilities and refurbished course were showcased in a series of exclusive members-only Grand Re-Opening events the week of September 20, 2021. Entertainment included 18-hole tournaments, 11-hole scrambles, music from Nashville-based country rock band McKenzies Mill, and culinary experiences led by network Executive Chef Tony Pope. The festivities provided a jolt of excitement around a long but necessary improvement project.

The club’s origins can be traced to the 2003 Masters tournament at Augusta National Golf Club, when renowned golf course designer and two-time Master’s champion Ben Crenshaw learned of a project near a special address in golf – Pinehurst, North Carolina – home to courses such as Tobacco Road, Pine Needles, Mid Pines, and the Pinehurst Resort.

Crenshaw and his design partner, Bill Coore, were eager to leave their mark on the North Carolina sandhills, an area where Coore had grown up. An integral part of the club’s creation depended on the hiring of Coore and Crenshaw to employ their classic minimalist design. After visiting the site, a former quail-hunting retreat, the team recognized 14 potential holes on the property by following deer trails, which offered the path of least resistance and led away from wetland areas.

The club opened as a public course in 2010, but beginning May 1, 2021, Dormie Club transitioned into a private, stay-and-play course. With this shift, fewer rounds of golf are played each day, facilitating a route for course conditions to return to their original form upon opening back in 2010.

“Since going completely private, there are now less than 70 rounds per day. Beginning in January 2022, all rounds of golf will include reservations at our cottages, offering a truly private golf getaway experience. The low number of rounds allowed per day plays into the hospitality side, where we can offer a customized experience to our guests.

Every detail of a trip will be packaged in order to please our members,” Chapman said. Everything about the club pays homage to golf – including the name, which the network adopted after its acquisition. The club’s founder chose the ‘dormie’ name because it refers to the point in a game where you cannot lose. At Dormie Club, guests enjoy a peaceful sanctuary where nothing can go wrong – there’s just golf, camaraderie, world-class facilities and hospitality.

Revamped Facilities for a True Stay-and-Play Experience

When Dormie Network acquired the club in 2017, capital improvement plans emerged quickly to outfit the club with the necessary high-end facilities to better serve guests. Dormie Network’s commitment to investing in course and club facilities resulted in a large-scale transformation on and off the course that required 18 months of patience and careful planning.

The fall of 2021 marked the completion of several transformative projects, beginning with the addition of 60 beds across three lodging options, and an all-new clubhouse. Onsite cottages and structures were designed to capture the aesthetic of tobacco barns found throughout rural North Carolina, offering stunning views, warm interiors and exteriors of brick, stone and cedar to reflect the pastoral nature of the area.

Ten standard cottages feature four bedrooms with private bathrooms, vaulted ceilings, a seating/snack area with a 55-inch TV and an exterior patio with course views. The four new executive cottages offer four bedrooms and private bathrooms with steam showers, a kitchenette and seating area with a separate lounge space, gas fireplace and exterior patio with course views.

The luxe two-story owner’s cottage offers four bedrooms with private bathrooms and steam showers, a kitchenette with dining and great room space connecting to an outdoor deck overlooking the lake on hole #5. These facilities also feature a lounge area – but with upgraded entertainment including a bar, TV lounge and golf simulator.

The all-new clubhouse is able to host 138 guests across the main dining room, private dining room, private covered patio, circular wine room, lounge and covered outdoor patio. Featuring brand new equipment and furniture, the clubhouse’s vaulted ceilings and large two-sided fireplace create the perfect venue for any size group. Private tastings and chef’s table experiences in the wine room can be easily arranged, with the lounge bar offering a more casual experience.

Dormie Network Executive Chef Tony Pope, who leads all culinary programming across the network, crafted a brand-new, made-from-scratch menu with a focus on local fare like North Carolina pork barbeque and regional favorites such as pimento cheese. Like all Dormie Network clubs, Piedmontese steak will be available, as well as fresh seafood and local, seasonal vegetables – all prepared and served with the utmost attention to detail.

“Our food and beverage program caters to the exact needs of our guests. Any possible experience can be arranged, from an intimate chef’s table event to an evening craft cocktail party on the practice green. These kinds of opportunities would not be possible at nearby clubs in the area because there’s simply too many guests at any given time,” Chapman said.

Renowned Course in Storied Golf Country

Coore and Crenshaw did what they do best at Dormie Club: create a fun and challenging golf course that fits the natural land. Dormie Club stands toe-to-toe with other courses in the celebrated Pinehurst area. The 18-hole course features Bermuda fairways and tees with bent grass greens, three natural lakes, and an aesthetic that draws inspiration from the Scottish Highlands. Its Old-World design includes a number of reachable par fours, wind tunnels, bunkers positioned to stimulate creative strategy, and a 241-yard reverse Redan par 3.

Across the 310-acre property there are only 68 acres of managed grass. The rest of the course comes from a balance of native grasses, pine trees, Sandhills native vegetation and natural sands. There are no manicured edges or defined rough and players also encounter something fairly unique in the area – 110 feet of elevation change.

“If you blindfolded someone and brought them out on the course, they would likely never guess that they were in the Pinehurst area,” said Kalan Fread, Head Golf Professional at Dormie Club. “The elevation change is something you just don’t see around here, and the lack of technical bunkers and wide-open fairways make it feel very natural, like a golf course appeared right out of the hills.”

Dormie Club follows the Donald Ross design principle of wide fairways, which rewards tee shots hit to a specific area of the fairway while giving errant shots a chance at recovery (with a bit of added difficulty). Many holes also have large chipping areas that require golfers to think through and execute their chip shots. Although the fairways are generous, they are also flanked by sandy soil, pine straw, native grasses, and fescues – so keeping the ball in the fairway is essential.

“The wide fairways allow golfers of all skill levels to stay in play, but more advanced players will find the green complexes to be challenging. There’s also a lot of variation and you’ll need every club in your bag to get through a round. We have some short, reachable par fours, but also a 660-yard par 5,” Fread said.

The original design of the course didn’t account for carts to be used, so the cart paths (old service vehicle entry points) are constructed with natural-looking materials that blend into the surrounding environment. This, paired with the undulations that play tricks on the eyes, makes for potentially difficult reads.

“Nature dominates much of the course. There’s an emphasis on minimalism; very few signs, water coolers hidden in wooden boxes, and unmanicured rough. Everything blends in a very natural way,” explained Chapman.

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