Ten reasons Pinehurst is a great American golf resort

By August 17, 2010, 5:23 pm


Pinehurst No. 2
Designed by legendary Donald Ross, Pinehurst Resort's No. 2 is a formidable U.S. Open test thanks to severe, crowned greens.

PINEHURST, N.C. – With the PGA Tour Wyndham Championship stopping in Greensboro, N.C., we'll take a deeper look into an old Donald Ross gem a couple hours south. Pinehurst Resort has lured golfers, from the game's legends to everyday amateurs, for more than a century.

Not only has it hosted the U.S. Open, Ryder Cup Matches and PGA Championship, Pinehurst has also served as the setting for numerous firsts in American golf. And with the recent debut of a golf academy and renovations of No. 4 and No. 2, it continues to aim higher.

We've come up with 10 reasons to rank Pinehurst as America's great golf mecca.

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1. Pinehurst is where America's top tournaments are staged
The list of championships to visit Pinehurst is as impressive as you'll find in golf. Pinehurst No. 2, hosted the U.S. Open in 1999 and 2005. It returns in 2014, but the golf course's history as host to the United States' most storied events dates many decades.

The North and South Amateur Championship has been staged at Pinehurst every year since 1901, crowning Francis Ouimet, Frank Stranahan, Jack Nicklaus, Hal Sutton and Davis Love III among the champions. Women's winners include Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Alice Dye and Donna Andrews.

No. 2 has also hosted the PGA Championship, Ryder Cup Matches and Tour Championship, and 2014 marks the first time the USGA will host both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open at the same course in consecutive weeks.

2. To Scotland by Sandhills
'To me there's something about Pinehurst that tops even the position which it naturally occupies as the St. Andrews of American golf. And that is the people you find there, and play golf with, and exchange reminiscences with – the hosts of Pinehurst, which always make you feel happily at home.' – Bobby Jones

Consider it the convergence of Southern hospitality with Scotland's golf heritage.

Pinehurst's early 20th-century golf success can be linked to its close ties with Scotland. Donald Ross grew up at Royal Dornoch in the Scottish Highlands and trained under Old Tom Morris in St. Andrews before making his way in 1900 to Pinehurst, where he built courses No. 1 through No. 4.

In 2005, sand from the Road Hole bunker at St. Andrews was placed into the greenside bunker at No. 2's 18th hole to commemorate the link between the storied grounds. Also, a St. Andrews Room was recently added to the clubhouse.

3. Keeping it in the family
James Barber built the first American mini-golf course at Pinehurst, the 'Liliputian' course in 1916. Since opening its doors, the resort has provided kid – and family-friendly golf for any age – from the practice center to shorter golf courses like No. 3, which provides a good warm up for dad or a worthy test for juniors.

Each course except No. 2 offers a forward set of 'family tees.' Kids under 12 stay, play and eat free when visiting with a paid parent.

Competitive youngsters can enter many events through the U.S. Kids Golf program during the summer. The Parent-Child Tournament runs June 25 to 27, the weekend before the 110th North and South Amateur Championship.

4. The first driving range in America to a new golf academy
Few golf courses are built today without an onsite driving range, but it wasn't always that way. Most 19th-century-era golf clubs in the United Kingdown include little more than a small field to shag balls.

So when Pinehurst unveiled Maniac Hill in 1913, allowing golfers to work on everything from chipping to full shots without hogging the golf course, it marked the first practice facility in North America.

Today, driving ranges and teaching academies are a modern amenity, and Pinehurst's practice grounds feature a full Golf Academy. State-of-the-art facilities completed in 2006 accompany situational course-instruction on Pinehurst's eight courses.

5. Donald Ross: Architect of early American golf
The spread of golf across America in the early 20th century can be traced to one architect more than any other: Donald Ross. When Ross came to Pinehurst in 1900, the Pinehurst Outlook reported that 'golf is rolling over the country like a great tidal wave and gaining power as it advances.' Ross' expertise fueled much of its ensuing growth.

It's estimated that Ross lended his guidance to more than 400 golf courses, including Oakland Hills, Seminole and Pine Needles nearby Pinehurst. He plotted many others from his cottage off the third green of No. 2.

6. Almanac of Architecture
The resort and its surrounding area display a history of golf design, from a handful of some of the most notable architects in the game. It starts with Ross, who built the first four golf courses before 1920.

His successor, Ellis Maples, added No. 5. Rees Jones built No. 7 in 1986. Tom Fazio added dramatic stylings on a redesign of No. 4 and built No. 6 with uncle George Fazio. Tom Fazio finished with No. 8, commemorating the resort's centennial.

Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, top architects who emphasize natural and functional designs, currently oversee a restoration project at No. 2.

Head away from the resort, and you'll notice that just about every golf-course designer has coveted the Sandhills, including Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer, Mike Strantz and many others.

And on a rainy day, dig deep at the Tufts Archives. They chronicle the history of Pinehurst, with more than 100,000 images and 300 sketches of the Ross' golf-course layouts, among other memorabilia.

7. Take a good walk
Somehow, in the 1980s, it became acceptable – practically encouraged – to build golf courses that were impossible to walk, with long distances and steep hills between holes. Golf carts were king.

As it became more difficult to find exercise in our daily lives, the walkability factor at Pinehurst remains a testament to the eight courses. Even those built and rebuilt in the modern era are classically designed for walkers of any age.

The resort's caddie program also makes it easy to play the game the way it was intended. Some of the caddies have spent most of their lives telling stories and reading greens here.

8. Before and after golf
Pinehurst opened in 1895 as a health resort, catering to patients recovering from tuberculosis who had no plans to play golf. But when owner James W. Tufts spotted hotel guests whacking white balls around the lawn in 1897, he got the hint and ordered plans to construct a nine-hole course.

Off-course activities have always been abundant at Pinehurst, from tennis to swimming, croquet and the spa added in 2002. Professional sharpshooter Annie Oakley joined the Pinehurst staff in 1916 to offer lessons, and you can still shoot sporting clays, a 35-minute drive from the resort amid 65 acres of woodlands.

9. Savoring the Sandhills
The resort covers on 2,000 acres of Carolina Sandhills, a strip of ancient sand dunes that once sat on Atlantic Ocean coastline. So preserving this beautiful environment is paramount.

Pinehurst was the first privately owned property to enter the Safe Harbor Program, which protects the habitats of endangered species. No. 8 is a Certified Audubon Sanctuary golf course. In 2006, the resort received the Presidents Award for Environmental Stewardship, the highest environmental award given by the Golf Course Superintendent's Association of America.

10. No membership needed
Pinehurst ranks as one of America's most accessible major-championship venues, where you can attempt the same shots as recent U.S. Open winners Payne Stewart and Michael Campbell, where Ben Hogan won his first professional event in 1940, and where Johnny Miller's birdie on the second playoff hole (No. 16) beat Nicklaus in the 1974 World Open.

Putt from the spot where Stewart won the 1999 Open at No. 18. Try to avoid taking an 11, as John Daly scored in the final round on the eighth hole. Or attempt to drive the 368-yard 13th hole, like 2008 U.S. Amateur champion Danny Lee.

But you don't have to play No. 2 to experience Pinehurst. Stay-and-play packages are available for every budget. The Pinehurst Perfecta offers guests the best the resort has to offer. Find affordable, unlimited golf packages and off-season specials, allowing anyone eager to experience America's golfing roots the ability to discover his or her own Pinehurst.

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After Further Review: Woods wisely keeping things in perspective

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 3:17 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On Tiger Woods' career comeback ...

Tiger Woods seems to be the only one keeping his comeback in the proper perspective. Asked after his tie for fifth at Bay Hill whether he could ever have envisioned his game being in this shape heading into Augusta, he replied: “If you would have given me this opportunity in December and January, I would have taken it in a heartbeat.” He’s healthy. He’s been in contention. He’s had two realistic chances to win. There’s no box unchecked as he heads to the Masters, and no one, especially not Woods, could have seen that coming a few months ago. – Ryan Lavner

On Tiger carrying momentum into API, Masters ...

Expect Jordan Spieth to leave Austin with the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play trophy next week.

After all, Spieth is seemingly the only top-ranked player who has yet to lift some hardware in the early part of 2018. Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas have all gotten it done, as have Jason Day, Phil Mickelson and most recently Rory McIlroy.

Throw in the sudden resurgence of Tiger Woods, and with two more weeks until the Masters there seem to be more azalea-laden storylines than ever before.

A Spieth victory in Austin would certainly add fuel to that fire, but even if he comes up short the 2015 champ will certainly be a focus of attention in a few short weeks when the golf world descends upon Magnolia Lane with no shortage of players able to point to a recent victory as proof that they’re in prime position to don a green jacket. – Will Gray

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Davies not giving up on win, HOF after close call

By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 3:06 am

PHOENIX – Laura Davies knows the odds are long now, but she won’t let go of that dream of making the LPGA Hall of Fame.

At 54, she was emboldened by her weekend run at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. She tied for second, five shots behind Inbee Park.

“The more I get up there, I might have a chance of winning again,” Davies said. “I'm not saying I will ever win, but today was close. Maybe one day I can go closer.”

Davies is a World Golf Hall of Famer, but she has been sitting just outside the qualification standard needed to get into the LPGA Hall of Fame for a long time. She needs 27 points, but she has been stuck on 25 since her last victory in 2001. A regular tour title is worth one point, a major championship is worth two points.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Over her career, she has won 20 LPGA titles, four of them major championships. She was the tour’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996. She probably would have locked up Hall of Fame status if she hadn’t been so loyal to the Ladies European Tour, where she won 45 titles.

Though Davies didn’t win Sunday in Phoenix, there was more than consolation in her run into contention.

“Now people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

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Davies impresses, but there's no catching Park

By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 2:40 am

PHOENIX – Inbee Park won the tournament.

Laura Davies won the day.

It was a fitting script for the Bank of Hope Founders Cup on Sunday, where nostalgia stirs the desert air in such a special way.

Two of the game’s all-time best, LPGA Hall of Famer Inbee Park and World Golf Hall of Famer Laura Davies, put on a show with the tour’s three living founders applauding them in the end.

Park and Davies made an event all about honoring the tour’s past while investing in its future something to savor in the moment. Founders Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork and Marlene Hagge Vossler cheered them both.

For Park, there was meaningful affirmation in her 18th LPGA title.

In seven months away from the LPGA, healing up a bad back, Park confessed she wondered if she should retire. This was just her second start back. She won feeling no lingering effects from her injury.

“I was trying to figure out if I was still good enough to win,” Park said of her long break back home in South Korea. “This proved to me I can win and play some pain-free golf.”

At 54, Davies kept peeling away the years Sunday, one sweet swing after another. She did so after shaking some serious nerves hitting her first tee shot.

“It’s about as nervous as I’ve ever felt,” Davies said. “I swear I nearly shanked it.”

Davies has won 45 Ladies European Tour events and 20 LPGA titles, but she was almost 17 years removed from her last LPGA title. Still, she reached back to those times when she used to rule the game and chipped in for eagle at the second hole to steady herself.

“It calmed me down, and I really enjoyed the day,” Davies said.

With birdies at the ninth and 10th holes, Davies pulled from three shots down at day’s start to within one of Park, sending a buzz through all the fans who came out to root for the popular Englishwoman.

“People were loving it,” said Tanya Paterson, Davies’ caddie. “We kept hearing, `Laura, we love you.’ It was special for Laura, showing she can still compete.”

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Davies relished giving all the young players today, who never saw how dominant she once was, some flashes from her great past.

“Yesterday, after I had that 63, a lot of the younger girls came up and said, `Oh, great playing today,”’ Davies said. “It was nice, I suppose, to have that. I still am a decent player, and I actually used to be really good at it. Maybe that did give them a glimpse into what it used to be like.”

She also relished showing certain fans something.

“Now, people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

Davies was the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996, when she won two of her four major championships. She was emboldened by the way she stood up to Sunday pressure again.

In the end, though, there was no catching Park, who continues to amaze with her ability to win coming back from long breaks after injuries.

Park, 29, comes back yet again looking like the player who reigned at world No. 1 for 92 weeks, won three consecutive major championships in 2013 and won the Olympic gold medal two years ago.

“The reason that I am competing and playing is because I want to win and because I want to contend in golf tournaments,” Park said.

After Davies and Marina Alex mounted runs to move within one shot, Park pulled away, closing ferociously. She made four birdies in a row starting at the 12th and won by five shots. Her famed putting stroke heated up, reminding today’s players how nobody can demoralize a field more with a flat stick.

“I just felt like nothing has dropped on the front nine,” Park said. “I was just thinking to myself, `They have to drop at some point.’ And they just started dropping, dropping, dropping.”

Yet again, Park showed her ability to win after long breaks.

In Rio de Janeiro two years ago, Park the Olympic gold medal in her first start back after missing two months because of a ligament injury in her left thumb. She took eight months off after Rio and came back to win the HSBC Women’s World Championship last year, in just her second start upon returning.

“I'm really happy to have a win early in the season,” Park said. “That just takes so much pressure off me.”

And puts it on the rest of the tour if she takes her best form to the year’s first major at the ANA Inspiration in two weeks.



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Rose: 'Never' has Rory putted as well as Bay Hill

By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:20 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Justin Rose didn’t need to ponder the question for very long.

The last time Rory McIlroy putted that well was, well …?

“Never,” Rose said with a chuckle. “Ryder Cup? He always makes it look easy when he’s playing well.”

And the Englishman did well just to try and keep pace.

After playing his first six holes in 4 over par, Rose battled not just to make the cut but to contend. He closed with consecutive rounds of 67, finishing in solo third, four shots back of McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Rose said this weekend was the best he’s struck the ball all year. He just didn’t do enough to overtake McIlroy, who finished the week ranked first in strokes gained-putting and closed with a bogey-free 64.

“Rory just played incredible golf, and it’s great to see world-class players do that,” Rose said. “It’s not great to see him make putts because he was making them against me, but when he is, he’s incredibly hard to beat. So it was fun to watch him play.”