Pinehurst News

A round of golf with Michael Jordan

Friday, Feb. 17, marks Michael Jordan’s 54th birthday, and with it, we’re reminded of how much His Airness enjoys not only golf, but golf on Pinehurst No. 2.

But what’s a round of golf with MJ really like? Below, Tar Heels coach Roy Williams explains, and as he says, you better be ready to “stand up to the lip.”

(And don’t miss the sweet, sweet dig Coach gets on MJ’s game.)

If you want more with Coach Williams talking about golf and basketball – and timeouts – go here.

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A friendship is born, thanks to golf

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Olivia Messana (left) and Emily McKee (right) stand together during the U.S. Kids World Golf Championship in Pinehurst last summer. The two quickly became good friends in their time here.

When Emily McKee and Olivia Messana came to Pinehurst to play in the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship, they didn’t know each other.

By the end of their first round, they were close to best friends.

And since those summer rounds in Pinehurst, they may have returned to their homes 1,181 miles apart, but they’ve never been closer.

That was clearly evident in the letter Emily recently wrote – yes, wrote – to her friend Olivia, a letter that Emily’s mom Amanda posted on Twitter.

The girls first met when they were paired together in the first round of their Girls’ 9 Championship. The friendship blossomed quickly, and following the round, Emily gave Olivia a Canada pin.

After an early tee time in the second round the next day, the two reconnected again at The Carolina Hotel pool, and with extended time to hang out, the two continued to be inseparable, meeting up again and again through the week. When Olivia won a Pinehurst mug at a trivia contest, she returned Emily’s previous generosity by giving it to Emily. The two finally had to depart, but left Pinehurst confident their games will allow them to see each other again at the 2017 U.S. Kids Golf World Championship in August.

Until then, they continue to stay in touch. Olivia recently wrote Emily, passing along a ball marker, to which Emily replied by sending a Canadian moose plush animal that Olivia now takes to bed with her every night.

In the span of a few hours, and with a few tee shots and putts mixed in, Emily and Olivia went from not knowing each other to meeting in Pinehurst to the dawn of what might be a lifelong friendship.

All thanks to golf.

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Chef & Maker headliner nominated for James Beard Outstanding Chef Award

Great news! Ashley Christensen, one of the North Carolina chefs headlining our upcoming Chef & Maker Series weekends, has been named a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation Awards.

She is one of 20 semifinalists for Outstanding Chef, which recognizes a working chef whose career has set national industry standards and who has served as an inspiration to other food professionals. In 2014, she was named Best Chef Southeast. Read the complete story.

Christensen is the chef and owner of Poole’s Diner, Beasley’s Chicken + Honey, Chuck’s, Fox Liquor Bar, Death & Taxes and Bridge Club, all located in downtown Raleigh.

Enjoy Christensen’s reimagined Southern comfort food in Pinehurst July 7-9. The weekend will include a Poole’s Diner-inspired bash, question and answer session with Christensen, book signing, glass blowing demonstration, whiskey tasting and Chef’s Dinner with Christensen.

Learn more at

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Pinehurst legend Willie McRae enshrined in Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame

Legendary Pinehurst caddie Willie McRae was enshrined in the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame over the weekend, celebrating McRae’s rich life and over seven decades of caddying in Pinehurst.

With more than 40 friends and family looking on, McRae spoke at the CGA’s Annual Meeting, regaling the audience and those around him that evening with several of the stories that have made McRae one of Pinehurst’s lasting figures. The CGA also produced the video above, featuring some of Willie’s best stories while noting his historic legacy at Pinehurst.

McRae’s legendary time at Pinehurst traces much of the area’s rise in the annals of American golf. He has caddied for five presidents, for celebrities from Mickey Mantle to Michael Jordan and many of golf’s greatest figures, including Donald Ross, Bobby Jones, Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead.

“I’ve always been thankful to be able to work at a place like Pinehurst,” McRae said. “Everybody’s always been so nice to me. They’ve always made me think I was the important person.”


Willie McRae is pictured with his CGA Hall of Fame plaque. McRae’s image will be placed with all of the members on the CGA Hall of Fame Wall in The Carolina Hotel. (photo courtesy of the CGA.)

McRae is one of just two living participants of the 1951 Ryder Cup, which was contested at Pinehurst. He has caddied in several of golf’s greatest championships, ranging from the Ryder Cup to multiple U.S. Opens and U.S Women’s Opens. A great player in his own time, in the 1950s the U.S. Army stationed McRae at Fort Dix instead of shipping him overseas, installing him as the captain of the golf team.

“Willie always says that everybody is somebody, that everyone has a right to be treated well,” said Pinehurst President Tom Pashley. “But what we all know is that Willie has always been one of the most important people at Pinehurst.”

“It’s a very proud moment for the Carolinas Golf Association,” said G. Jackson Hughes Jr., the chairman of the CGA Hall of Fame selection committee. “Willie McRae has meant so much to so many people for so many years here at Pinehurst. It’s a well-deserved award.”


Pinehurst caddie Willie McRae speaks at the induction ceremony of the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame. (Photo courtesy of the CGA).

“It’s nice to know that with his enshrinement into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame, Willie’s picture will be on the Hall of Fame wall in The Carolina Hotel forever,” Pashley said. “To know that his family will always be able to walk by that photo and see how much Willie has meant to the game of golf is really special.”

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Buy Willie McRae’s memoir “On the Bag”

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This weekend, legendary Pinehurst caddie Willie McRae will receive another well-earned honor when he is enshrined in the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame. In addition to the honor, McRae’s portrait will hang in The Carolina Hotel on the wall honoring all of the CGA Hall-of-Famers.

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Why is McRae a Hall-of-Famer? It’s all in his fantastic book, On The Bag, which you can purchase directly from Pinehurst, where McRae has caddied for more than seven decades. On The Bag is an engaging and entertaining journey of McRae’s life and times on and off the links. His career at Pinehurst parallels the great history of the game of golf. McRae has caddied for five presidents, celebrities from Michael Jordan to Mickey Mantle and many of golf’s greatest players, including Bobby Jones, Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead.

Just two living participants of the 1951 Ryder Cup, which was contested at Pinehurst, McRae remembers looping for the legendary Donald Ross on Ross’s crown jewel, Pinehurst No. 2. In On The Bag, McRae recounts in rich detail many of those moments and the profound effects they’ve had on one of Pinehurst’s most enduring figures in its history.

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