The Talamore Golf Resort is a Rees Jones designed course located in the Pinehurst, North Carolina area.
As many of you may already know, Pinehurst is a laid back golf mecca that every hardcore golfer should pay homage to at least once in your golf lifetime. Luckily for me, I have been there twice this year. Talamore is the course that is most likely more widely known for its unique Llama caddy program. Although now only available to large groups, and quite costly, the Llamas are basically hanging out in their wooded encloure out on the back nine. This was my third Rees Jones golf experience. Quite honestly, I didn’t feel that the Talamore Golf Resort came remotely close to the two other Rees Jones courses I have previously played; Charleston National (SC) and Black Lake Golf Course (MI).
Playing the visually stimulating Tobacco Road the day prior surely didn’t help matters any. I am sure many people like Talamore better than Tobacco Road, but I did not. Although a solid golf course in many respects, Talamore attempts to be that classsic Carolina pines style of golf course, but it just never gives you the feeling that Pineneedles or even Mid Pines provides you during your round. I played both Pineneedles and Mid Pines back in May so they offer themselves as a nice measuring stick, if you will. For wintertime golf, the price was right, the conditions were excellent, the greens rolled quickly, and the course was overseeded with rye grass to add some contrasting green hues to the now dormant and brown bermuda grass.
Talamore is a "what you see is what you get" type of golf course, in that if you can consistently strike a straight shot, you’ll more than likely play well here. I didn’t notice any real treachery while putting, these greens were quite straightforward and offered no real surprises. Pick the correct set of tees, because you will need to get off the tee well in order to take advantage of the benign putting surfaces. Length and sand appears to be this course’s best defenses against par. Like the majority of Rees Jones’ courses, Talamore sports Jones’ standard sculpted and rounded off sand bunkers all over the place. The sand here was not overly difficult to play out of, but it was fairly inconsistent in texture and the quality varied from hole to hole on this day.
Talamore sports five different sets of tees to play from. The black tees measure slightly over 7000 yards and the red tees measure 4773 yards. There is definitely something for everyone in your group here. We played the course from the blue tees at a length of 6637, although it felt like it was playing longer. The slope from the blue tees was 131 and the course rating was 71.5. From the tips, Talamore hits a slope of 141 with a rating of 73.9. According to architect Rees Jones, "This is a position course. Length isn’t going to benefit the long hitter. What I’m trying to do is require thinking. I don’t want to take the drive out of the golfer’s hands, but what I want him to have to think about whether he wants to use it." I vehemently disagree with Jones about length not being of benefit here. While position will always be important in golf, the long hitter can bring this course to its knees with several John Daly type swings. However, from the tips you’ll need some serious length off the tee in order to score well. Furthermore, after playing Tobacco Road, one didn’t require all that much gray matter to play here. If you have played Tobacco Road, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Talamore is mostly located within an upscale housing development, so if you do not enjoy a lot of homes near the course, play elsewhere. On a day when the weather was iffy and temps were hovering around 48 degrees pace of play was not an issue here. In fact, hardly anyone was here golfing on this cloudy Sunday. Talamore is aligned with the semi-private Mid South Club. We attempted to squeeze in additonal 9 holes at Mid South but the pro shop would not accommodate our request saying that the Mid South Club was private and since we didn’t arrange it in advance through Tobacco Road Travel, we could not play there.
I was a little disappointed that the Talamore staff were unwilling to attempt to accommodate us for an additional 9 holes, especially when the course was most likely fairly empty. Considering the poor weather that day and the fact that we were ready and willing to plop down the cash, they could have at least called over and asked. I am sure I will pencil in the Mid South Club on one of my future Pinehurst visits, but I’ll pass up on Talamore the next time as I feel there are other local courses worthier of my golfing dollar. Please do play Talamore at least once, but be sure and do your research about where you would like to play while in Pinehurst.
Although the conditions were excellent for early December, I am sure the course would have presented itself even better in spring or warmer summer weather. We arranged our golf package through Tobacco Road Travel, it was easy to schedule, painless and inexpensive. Two rounds of golf with cart (Tobacco Road and Talamore), a hotel suite for 4 with breakfast was a paltry $135 each out the door. Not too shabby for an Ohio guy trying to squeeze in that one last weekend of golf before having to endure the long haul of a midwest winter.