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I’m back in the anchor’s saddle after a 5-day visit to Southern Pines, North Carolina, and I’d like to say it is great to be back, but that would be an even bigger lie than claiming that I’m really putting well.

Despite my woes with the flat stick, it was another terrific visit to the sandhills. Once again this year we stayed in a villa at Mid South, one of the Talamore family of courses. Members at Talamore, Applecross and Old York up here have privileges down there at Talamore (NC) and Mid South, and more than a few of them take advantage of that perk.

In fact, I ran into an Applecross member at our hotel on the trip down (we left in the afternoon so we stayed in South Hill, VA that night) who was on his way to a wedding in Charlotte. But he had just returned from a Talamore, North Carolina, trip and was raving about how inexpensive it was for a member of that family of clubs.

My only regret on the visit is that we didn’t play Mid South, one of my favorites, because they had just aerified the greens. But I had fun at Talamore until I crashed and burned on the back 9, and as usual, really enjoyed the accomodations at Mid South — two large bedrooms, nice large TV and leather couches in the living room, and a balcony overlooking the 18th green and lake. Sweet. You can learn more about that North Carolina destination, including a video tour, here at TeeItUpPhilly.com.

Another highlight of the trip was a Sunday round at Southern Pines Golf Club (see photo). It is a Donald Ross design that had been in disrepair for years, but a recent restoration has made it a real joy to play. It is no longer bargain basement-priced, but with green fees topping out at $100 in peak season, it is still a nice value, especially compared to the Donald Ross designs up the road — Mid Pines, Pine Needles, and Pinehurst #2. I’m not saying Southern Pines GC is in the same league as #2, but it certainly can hold its own with the other two at less than half the cost. Starting this week, the rates also go down to $62 weekdays and $76 on weekends.

Here’s another “sleeper” course with interesting architecture that tends to fly under the radar — the East course at the Country Club of Whispering Pines.  That one is a little more rough around the edges than Southern Pines GC  is now, but if you’re looking to fill out the schedule on your next trip with some nice values, take a close look at those two.

Click here for more golf blog posts.

Ed Abrams anchors mornings on KYW Newsradio, and you can hear his Golf Reports there on Fridays and Saturdays. He has also created a pair of websites:  www.DealTrackerGolf.com, featuring leads on the best golf equipment deals… and www.TeeItUpPhilly.com, with video course tours, audio swing tips and local golf deals

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