Talamore Resort Tees Up New Attractions

Talamore Golf Resort view of 18th hole

The Talamore Course’s signature 18th hole is a dogleg par four demanding a monster 270-yard carry over a lake from the back tees. (Image: Talamore Golf Resort)

Long one of the most popular stops in the Pinehurst region of North Carolina, Talamore Golf Resort is back in the news with the unveiling of a Toptracer range and other upgrades.

From golf-bag toting llamas to synthetic grass EcoBunkers, Talamore Golf Resort has built its prosperity on outstanding golf and headline-grabbing innovations.

This spring the North Carolina Sandhills resort, located minutes from the Village of Pinehurst, added a leading edge Toptracer installation to its upgraded practice range, expanded its clubhouse deck, and spotted 11 synthetic grass EcoBunkers throughout its eponymous signature course. And coming this August: a 17,000-square-foot putting course.

“We have so much repeat business that it’s important for our guests to come back and find something new,” says Matt Hausser, Talamore’s general manager.

Image of golf course designer Rees Jones. (Image: Rees Jones, Inc. Golf Course Design)

Rees Jones sculpted the Talamore Course through wetlands and a forest of towering Carolina pines. (Image: Rees Jones, Inc.)

The resort and its two 18-hole golf courses have thrived in a hyper-competitive market where the all-star roster includes Pinehurst Resort, Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club and its sister property Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club (host of the 2022 Women’s U.S. Open), and Mike Strantz-designed masterwork Tobacco Road. Almost 40 courses compete for attention in a region unabashedly marketed as the Home of American Golf.

Opened in 1991, the Rees Jones-designed Talamore Course features dramatic shifts in elevation as it twists through towering Carolina pines and wetlands. And found nearby, on the opposite side of Midland Road, is Mid South Club, an Arnold Palmer-Ed Seay collaboration opened in 1994 that winds artfully around several lakes. Originally built as the centrepiece of a private club, Mid South was purchased in 2004 by Talamore owner Bob Levy Jr., a Philadelphia-based entrepreneur. It’s still a private club, but guests who stay in the lodges at both properties have access to the course.

Talamore recently took the No. 1 spot in GolfAdvisor’s ranking of the “Best Courses in North Carolina,” while Mid South Club was close behind at No. 7.

But no golf property in the Sandhills can afford to rest on its laurels. Talamore’s management has never hesitated to spend on upgrades or to try something completely different.

The resort first attracted headlines by offering the services of llamas as caddies, a gimmick inspired by a Mexican course that employed golf-bag toting donkeys in the same role.

Though no longer working the fairways, a family of llamas (including a recent arrival named “Jones,” after golf architect Rees Jones, the designer of the Talamore Course) is still housed in a spacious pen next to the fourteenth tee for petting and photo opportunities. Their legacy is also reflected in the club’s quirkily distinctive logo, which includes the outline of a llama and a flagstick.

Exterior view of Talamore Golf Resort condos for rent. (Image: Talamore Golf Resort)

Condos at Talamore Golf Resort are equipped with Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, laundry facilities and other amenities. (Image: Talamore Golf Resort)

Guests return to Talamore year after year mostly for the golf—but also to enjoy the “extras“ that have become a hallmark of the resort.

During high season (April through October), the 400 or more guests occupying the 100 on site condominiums at Talamore and Mid South (each featuring full kitchens, spacious living and dining areas, Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, washer and dryer, and numerous other amenities) enjoy complimentary breakfast delivered to their door.

Possibly even more eagerly anticipated are the free Carolina Pig Pickin’ feasts served up at the Talamore Pavilion Monday and Thursday nights. A whole roast pig is slathered with a rub, hickory smoked for nine hours and topped with spicy Carolina barbeque sauce.

The clubby, extended golf family atmosphere is certain to spill onto the new putting course scheduled to open in August. The 17,000-square-foot layout is set between the range and the 10th tee box, not more than a strong 8-iron shot from the clubhouse.

“We’ll have some nice furniture and fire pits out there and lights and a couple of TVs and just make it a cool spot for people to hang out post round or when they’re waiting to go over to Toptracer,” Hausser says.

Golfer Arnold Palmer in his prime. (Image: Talamore Golf Resort)

Arnold Palmer collaborated with Ed Seay on the Mid South Club course, which winds around several lakes. (Image: Talamore Golf Resort)

Talamore’s new 10-stall Toptracer facility is unique in the Pinehurst area. It’s the same shot-tracking technology seen during televised PGA Tour events. Guests can play virtual rounds at celebrated courses and enjoy long-drive and closest-to-the-pin competitions, all while receiving instant swing feedback on interactive game screens.

A simulated Toptracer round on famous Pinehurst No. 2 is an ideal warm-up for the real thing, located just down the road in the bucolic village the USGA pronounced the first anchor site of the U.S. Open. Talamore offers golf packages that include rounds on Mid Pines, Pine Needles, Tobacco Road and other top local courses.

But most of the recent changes at Talamore are aimed at offering golfers more reasons than ever to stay on the property.  A major attraction of the expanded clubhouse deck is that it enables guests to better enjoy the action on the 18th hole, a dogleg par four demanding a monster 270-yard carry over a lake from the back tees.

Talamore’s closing hole was included in a 2020 ranking of the best 18 holes in the Pinehurst region. Mid South’s challenging 18th hole also made the list. The par four closer at Mid South is cut into a hillside, with water running down the right. Even a good tee shot leaves a difficult approach to the green.

Both the Talamore and Mid South courses have been extensively upgraded in recent years. This spring saw the introduction of 11 EcoBunkers on the Talamore Course.  As much as seven feet deep and designed to look exactly like the sod-walled bunkers at the Old Course and other famous links, EcoBunkers are made of synthetic grass tiles and are reputed to last decades. Typically, Talamore is the first property in the Sandhills to embrace the technology.

Hausser says at least one of the fearsome new EcoBunkers is planned for Talamore’s signature 18th, further upping the drama at a Sandhills golf resort where, even with all the welcome extras, the game has always been king.

Mid South Golf Club view of the clubhouse. (Image: Talamore Golf Resort)

Though a private facility, Mid South Club is accessible to guests who stay in the lodges at both properties. (Image: Mid South Club)