Golf at the Resort

Don Rectenwald, Randy Muir and Bryan Lewis keep their distance as they prepare to tee off on Course #2 at the Pinehurst Resort and Country Club Tuesday morning. 

Leisure travelers across the state have rediscovered Pinehurst Resort, particularly for weekend trips. But a new partnership with Dallas-based JSX ‘hop on jet’ has opened up a new opportunity for non-stop, roundtrip air travel from Dallas Love Field and Westchester County (NY) Airport to Moore County Airport.

“This was another way to be creative to get people to come to the Cradle of American Golf in a safe way,” said Eric Kuester, Pinehurst Resort’s vice president of sales & business development. “It’s a really unique way to get to Pinehurst in less time than it takes to play 18 holes.”

The limited offering is part of the resort’s stay-and-play golf packages. Beginning June 25, JSX charter-style planes will carry as many as 30 passengers on selected dates through mid-July. Prices run $2,400-$2,900 double occupancy, including air travel and ground transportation, accommodations, meals and golf rounds.

“We had not worked with JSX before. This was a concept that originated with (Pinehurst president) Tom Pashley and JSX,” Kuester said. “We are seeing success in the promotion which is encouraging.”

Carolina Hotel facade

The Carolina Hotel in Pinehurst. 

One of Moore County’s largest employers with a staff of more than 1,300 employees, Pinehurst Resort shuttered its three historic hotels and many of its restaurants in mid-March due to dramatic decreases in volume as a result of the coronavirus global pandemic.

However, the resort’s golf operations have remained open throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Kuester said that has been advantageous as interest has returned for leisure travel.

This weekend, he estimated the resort’s occupancy rate was 80 percent; next weekend, both The Carolina and Manor Inn will be operating at 100 percent capacity.

Moore County, in general, is well-situated for a tourism rebound. It’s proximity to the four-to-six hour ‘drive market’ for overnight visitors from Atlanta to Washington, D.C. and rural character appeals to travelers looking to avoid crowded beaches or other more congested destinations.

“Golf being deemed a safe activity by the governor’s order has helped. Most other states were also able to keep golf open,” he said. “And that message was heard loud and clear.”

“I think the golf industry has come through this, as a whole, very positively. We have benefited from that.”

In addition, upon reopening The Carolina Hotel on May 22, the resort unveiled its ‘Pinehurst Promise’ program which offers very specific guidance on additional safety and sanitation protocols guests can expect during their stay.

“Leisure travel has bounced back quicker and sharper than we anticipated. We are seeing an incredible amount of demand with our call center, and it is all leisure,” Kuester said. “Leisure travel and hosting golf groups are our bread and butter. We are pleasantly pleased with the demand we’ve seen.”

(13) comments

Kent Misegades

Finally, some news other than the Wuhan flu. Those who choose to remain cowering in fear can do so. Otherwise let’s get on with our lives and have fun. No masks.

Dan Roman

MACA: Make America Contagious Again. The only thing we have to fear is stupidity like this.

Richard Wright

Sorry Dan but masks and social distancing will not make this go away. You can shelter for the next two years and some will still get Covid, even if a vaccine is found, three billion doses produced and delivered and nothing els happens.

Patricia Bryan

When 52% of the cases positive for Covid-19 are in the younger aged folks, not sure they are the ones who are going to travel to stay at Pinehurst or other golf facilities. The older you are, excepting the extreme numbers in rehabilitation/adult care facilities, it seems that the younger folks are ignoring the distancing and face covering suggestions to reduce the opportunity to get the virus. I am not sure they are the ones who can afford to spend $2,400-$2,900 to visit. Perhaps prior to boarding for a trip to Moore County the passengers can have their temperature taken and won't mind face coverings except when they are eating or playing golf? My one trip outside the house a week has been guessing that the majority of folks I see going about business the old way would fall in the 25-49 age range.

Barbara Misiaszek

25-49 year old's are exactly the age group that would travel and have the money.

John Misiaszek

Barbara Misiaszek

Maybe Arizona too.Hey, let's have a political rally too.

John Misiaszek

Barbara Misiaszek

Just thought of this,how about them having to quarantine for 14 days as Fl. did to NY and NY appears to be about to do to at least selected visitors.

John Misiaszek

ron smith

Oh good, will they be coming from Florida? Golfers have been coming to Pinehurst ever since the pandemic began. The Pilot ran an excellent editorial on this - no one listening.

Jim Tomashoff

Where were they staying Ron? I was under the impression that somewhere between most and all hotels/motels were closed "...ever since the pandemic began."

ron smith

Pinehurst Resort was closed if that is what you are referring to. Other hotels -

Hampton, a B&B in my neighborhood and other establishments like Holiday Inn Express were open.

Jim Tomashoff

Did not know that. Thanks.

ron smith

Pilot ran an excellent editorial "Short Term Rentals must be Shuttered" on Apirl 3 - good read.

anyes clark

VRBO home rentals have been busy during the pandemic !

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