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Where to play golf in Pinehurst, N.C.: Pinehurst Resort, Pine Needles, Mid Pines, Tobacco Road and more (golfweek.usatoday.com)

Advising well-traveled players they should try out Pinehurst is akin to telling gearheads that Ferraris are nice or suggesting a foodie sample something beyond the SpaghettiOs. But until you immerse yourself in Pinehurst, it’s difficult to imagine how much the game defines this little village and its surrounds – and vice versa. It’s one of the few places in the world where just about any conversation can safely begin with the question, “How you been hitting it?”

So many options among great courses. So many chances to bunk up in historic lodging. So many shots to be hit by so many golfers. Pinehurst doesn’t simply scratch an itch to play somewhere new, or even old – it fulfills a deeper need to immerse oneself in the game. Even the USGA is tapping into that need, building a second HQ in Pinehurst and bringing more national championships, feeding on the game’s energy that flourishes among the tall trees and sandy soil.

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