Pinehurst News

Video: A Pinehurst Short Course Update

The Pinehurst Short Course, a 9-hole par-3 course designed by golf architect Gil Hanse, continues to evolve and will open in just a couple of months in time for the Fall golf season. Here is an updated look at the course just days after the greens were sprigged with bermudagrass. Soon, we’ll see the addition of wire grass in many of the sandscape areas.

Below, Hanse gives us a tour of one of the holes of the Short Course, and the unique design elements it features:

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Seeing Donald Ross

IT’S A “STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES” KIND OF MOMENT. But instead of that turn of phrase, something that can happen when walking around Pinehurst, especially for the golfer, is a “stop and see Donald Ross” kind of moment.

It happened to us on Thursday when walking around Pinehurst No. 1, which Ross redesigned after his arrival at Pinehurst at the turn of the 20th century. Standing on the tee of the 218-yard par-3 12th hole (the number of the hole has changed over the years), it hits you – THIS is Donald Ross.

While it’s about a different hole on a different Pinehurst course, author Chris Buie explains here what you see before you so often on Pinehurst No. 1, and especially the 12th:

An example of how Ross brought so much personality to his courses can be found on a par-3 on Pinehurst No. 3.
The uphill 14th is not your standard par-3. In the days of hickory clubs, it played 208 yards to a green placed at the top of a fairly sharp hill. No one but the ace player was expected to reach the green with their drive. But Ross never forgot the shorter player. There is ample room for a tee shot left of the green leaving a short pitch. Like many of golf’s finest holes (such as the 13th of Augusta), it is essentially a “half-par hole”.

As you can see, the 12th on No. 1 has many of the same characteristics, just with plenty of room to the right in this example. It’s pure Donald Ross.

And it’s good to be reminded that we get to see Mr. Ross every day.

(Editor’s Note: We know what Lee means here: “Looks good in sepia as well.” But it’s also great to see how little the hole has changed since this vintage photo was taken.

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Hendley edges Simson in playoff to win 66th Senior North & South Amateur

Todd Hendley wins the 66th Senior Men’s North & South Amateur Championship at Pinehurst.

VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, North Carolina – Even Todd Hendley wanted to see history made again.

Perhaps even at the expense of making it himself.

Hendley, a multiple South Carolina Senior Amateur champion who qualified for the U.S. Senior Open this year, defeated the most decorated champion in Pinehurst history, Paul Simson, on the first hole of sudden death to win the 66th Senior Men’s North & South Amateur on Wednesday on Pinehurst No. 2.

“Paul is such a great player, and I kind of hated to see him not win because you really want to see him keep going here,” Hendley said.

“But since he already has the record, I guess I don’t feel so bad,” he quipped.

Hendley, of Greenville, South Carolina, earned it, though. Despite opening the third and final round with back-to-back bogeys, Hendley recovered quickly, making birdies on the next three holes. After a par on the par-3 6th, Hendley added two more birdies on 7 and 8.

That put Hendley, who started the day two shots back of 36-hole leaders Simson and Walter Todd, right into contention. He added another birdie at 12 to finish with a 68 and a 7-under total of 209.

“Seven under in Pinehurst,” Hendley said, looking at the scoreboard. “I can’t play any better than that.”

The score tied the steady Simson, who, with eight wins lifetime in the North & South Men’s Amateur and the Senior North & South, is the all-time winningest player in Pinehurst history. Simson, though, needed a deft up-and-down from long and left of the 18th green to save par and force the playoff.

Back on 18 for the playoff, Hendley drove it long down the left side of the fairway. Simson, though, pushed his drive into the native area on the right, his ball settling in a wire grass bush. He punched out from there, but his ball came to rest against another wire grass bush in the bunker left of the green.

Simson made a beautiful shot to 8 feet from that spot, but his putt slid past the right edge of the cup. A delicate two-putt from about 50 feet gave Hendley the championship.

“This is pretty cool,” said Hendley. “To think my name is going up there with all of the great players who have won this championship, that’s pretty awesome.”

The 60th Senior Women’s North & South Amateur Championship also featured a playoff.

Mary Ann Hayward

Mary Ann Hayward, of St. Thomas, Ontario, birdied the first hole of sudden death to defeat two-time defending North & South champion – and fellow Canadian – Judith Kyrinis.

Hayward, who started the final round three shots back of Kyrinis, took the lead with a birdie on the 16th hole of Pinehurst No. 5 after Kyrinis failed to get up and down for par.

Playing the 18th hole a second time that day, Hayward made a beautiful approach shot to about 6 feet and made the putt to win the championship.

“The hole just fits my eye, and I was so happy to play it again for the playoff,” Hayward said. “I was able to curl in a little right-to-left putt. Yeah, that was pretty yummy.”

Winning at Pinehurst is special to the Canadian Golf Hall of Famer.

“This has been on the bucket list for a long time,” she said. “It’s one thing to see the history on TV, like when you watch the Opens. But to be here and experience it, it’s amazing.”

Robert Hess, of Casselberry, Florida, won the Super Senior Men’s North & South Amateur Championship with a three-day total of even-par 216, winning by four shots over Evan Long, of Charlotte.

Mimi Hoffman, of Springfield, Virginia, won the Super Senior Women’s North & South Amateur Championship by two shots over Beatriz Arenas, of Guatemala.



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Chef Katie Button is a rising star, and this is your chance to be a part of it

Katie Button, the owner and executive chef of two of Asheville’s hottest spots, Curate and Nightbell, certainly has an interesting and inspiring backstory. Before becoming a James Beard Award-nominated chef, Button earned a chemical engineering degree from Cornell before beginning to study in a PhD program for neuroscience.

It was then she realized that wasn’t the path for her.

But the process still helped.

“(Cooking in the kitchen) connected a lot with my science background,” Button says. “It is run like a lab. Every recipe that I was making used a scale. Everything is detailed to the finite measurement. You’re writing down exactly what’s going in it at exact quantities so you get a consistent product and it turns out the same every time.”

And that’s the payoff that matters to Button.

“I get such great satisfaction from the guests that come in. That’s daily motivation. You make something, you serve it to somebody, and you see a smile.”

Button will be serving your smiles as the headlining chef at Pinehurst’s season finale of the its Chef & Maker series on Sept. 15-17. You don’t want to miss it.

Chef & Maker Weekend



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The Best “Bites” at Pinehurst

When Pinehurst opened the Deuce just about a year ago, Executive Chef Thierry Debailleul commented about the menu, “It’s not just typical bar food. It’s fresh, inventive and original food, and it all comes with a spectacular view. It’s made-from-scratch cuisine in a relaxed, comfortable setting that we feel will become the best lunch spot you can imagine anywhere.”

We can’t really argue with Chef T’s assessment of the atmosphere of the Deuce, which has proven to be an enormous hit at Pinehurst. But Chef T’s comment about the Deuce’s food can certainly be applied everywhere around the resort. And since the Deuce prides itself in offering one of the best “small bites” menus you’ll find anywhere, here’s a look at five appetizers from all over Pinehurst that we think are some of the best of the best:

The Deuce

LOBSTER MAC’ N CHEESE CROQUETTES – One of the most popular items on the Deuce’s “Bites” menu, these lobster croquettes feature jalapeños, aged cheddar and basil pesto.

“It’s not just typical bar food. It’s fresh, inventive and original food.” – Chef Thierry Debailluel

Carolina Dining Room

CHEF ’S BOARD  Flavor in every bite: When dining at the Carolina Dining Room, start things off with the Chef’s Selection of cured meats, local cheeses, rustic charred crostini and house-made pepper jelly with spicy brown mustard and sherry infused figs.

Ryder Cup Lounge

JERK CHICKEN NACHOS – Nachos have long been a go-to staple at the Ryder Cup Lounge. This season, try the Jerk-seasoned pulled chicken, melted Ashe County hoop cheese, black beans, pico de gallo, pineapple avocado salsa, cilantro sour cream and scallions on corn tortilla chips with chipotle salsa.

The Tavern

PERUVIAN CHICKEN TACOS – Share these at the table or order for a meal; either way, they’re light, refreshing, and make for several perfect bites at The Tavern. Served with spiced grilled chicken, red onion and shaved red cabbage, served on spinach tortillas and topped with honey garlic aioli.

Carolina Pool

FRUIT DIP – A day at the pool doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a nice bite. Served with a citrus yogurt dip, you can enjoy an assortment of summer melons, pineapples and berries while sitting poolside at The Carolina Hotel.

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Moving the PGA Championship date isn’t new, and when it came to Pinehurst in 1936, it was because of Donald Ross

The cover to the program for the 1936 PGA Championhsip at Pinehurst.

The cover to the program for the 1936 PGA Championhsip at Pinehurst.


The PGA Championship has been anchored in its early August time slot in the golf calendar since the mid-1960s, but in the old days it was a match play competition held in May or June. And for five years in the 1950s, it was played the week after the British Open, making it impractical for golfers to play in both of what are now considered major championships. Sometimes the tournament dates were set to coincide with the operational calendar of the host course.

A case in point was 1936, the venue was Pinehurst and the date was the week before Thanksgiving.

A vintage photo of The Carolina Hotel. Photo Courtesy of the Tufts Archives

A vintage photo of The Carolina Hotel. Photo Courtesy of the Tufts Archives

Pinehurst was conceived as a wintertime resort for residents of the Northeast who had neither the time nor the resources for a two-day train journey to Florida during the cold-weather months. Thus The Carolina Hotel and Pinehurst Country Club were open from mid-autumn to mid-spring; they closed down in the summer and the cooks, waiters, bellhops, housekeepers, golf pros and caddies moved to the mountains or New England for summertime work.

The U.S. Open was contested in the fall at times during the very early part of the 20th century, but it has been essentially locked into its June dates since World War I. So Pinehurst was never an option for the Open until the advent and proliferation of air conditioning in the 1960s allowed the Resort to expand to a year-around operation.

In the mid-1930s, famed architect Donald Ross, perhaps miffed because of losing out on a chance to design Bobby Jones' new course in Augusta, Ga., refocused his efforts into his prived Pinehurst No. 2. A photo from the 1936 North & South shows the care Ross took in updating his gem. This is No. 2's second green.

In the mid-1930s, famed architect Donald Ross, perhaps miffed because of losing out on a chance to design Bobby Jones’ new course in Augusta, Ga., refocused his efforts into his prized Pinehurst No. 2. A photo from the 1936 North & South shows the care Ross took in updating his gem from sand to clay to grass greens. This is No. 2’s second green. Photo Courtesy of the Tufts Archives.

But the PGA was more flexible with its dates, and an important connection between the PGA and Pinehurst head golf professional and architect-in-residence Donald Ross made the 1936 event a logical arrangement for both the PGA and Pinehurst. Though Ross is known as the foremost golf architect in America in the first half of the 1900s—with nearly 400 courses to his credit —he came to America in 1899 from Scotland with the skills of a golf pro and green superintendent.

Charlotte Observer columnist Jake Wade shed some interesting light on Ross’s priorities in May 1945 upon Ross’s visit to Charlotte to work on his design of Myers Park Country Club.  Despite Ross’s fame and popularity in designing golf courses, Wade noted that Ross had always maintained his membership in the PGA.

“Mr. Ross looks like a banker and indeed must be quite a wealthy man,” Wade wrote. “Yet with his dignity and reserve and gentleness of manner and easy, aristocratic touch, he still likes to be known as a golf professional.”

No doubt Ross’s connections with the PGA and his desire to showcase a major overhaul of his prized No. 2 course worked to bring the PGA Championship to Pinehurst. There was little if any new design work available in the throes of the Great Depression throughout the first half of the 1930s, so naturally Ross turned his attention to the course he could access by walking out his back door and onto the third green.

Alister MacKenzie and Donald Ross

Alister MacKenzie and Donald Ross

And the proud Scotsman was motivated by the emergence of a new course in Augusta, Ga., one conceived by golf champion Bob Jones. Ross believed he had a handshake agreement with Jones to build what would become Augusta National Golf Club, but Jones later decided to work with Alister MacKenzie after seeing MacKenzie’s work at Cypress Point on the California coast.

“Ross was a proud, reserved, standoffish man, almost egotistically so,” author and historian Charles Price noted. “He was miffed. He considered himself to be America’s foremost architect.”

Ross and green superintendent Frank Maples had made significant agronomic improvements to No. 2 in recent years. They converted all the tees to grass in 1929. They laid five miles of irrigation pipe down the fairways in 1933 so the new winter rye grass could be properly watered (architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw would use those very pipe lines in 2010-11 in restoring the fairways to their original dimensions and contours). And by 1934, Ross believed he had developed a strain of Bermuda grass that could survive cold weather and heavy foot traffic well enough that he built three experimental grass greens on No. 2. They did well over the 1934-35 season, and he converted all the greens on No. 2 from sand and clay to Bermuda the following year.

The fourth green of Pinehurst No. 2, as it appeared during the 1936 North & South - the same year Pinehurst hosted its first major event, the 1936 PGA Championship. Photo courtesy of the Tufts Archives.

The fourth green of Pinehurst No. 2, as it appeared during the 1936 North & South – the same year Pinehurst hosted its first major event, the 1936 PGA Championship. Photo courtesy of the Tufts Archives.

Finally, Ross arrived his current hole configuration in 1935, adding the fourth and fifth holes and abandoning two that ran between the current 10th and 11th on ground now occupied by course No. 4. The fifth hole, incidentally, was originally played as a par 5 at 467 yards until it was changed to a par 4 prior to the 1951 Ryder Cup Matches; that historical precedent is among the reasons the USGA played it as a par 5 again for the 2014 U.S. Open.

“No. 2 has always been a pet of mine,” Ross said. “In building these fine new greens, I have been able to carry out many of the changes which I have long visualized but only now have been able to put into practice.”

Another key change was sculpting the sandy soil around the new putting surfaces into the swales, humps and hollows Ross knew so well from his hometown course in Dornoch, on the northeast coast of Scotland.

The 6th hole of Pinehurst No. 2.

The 6th hole of Pinehurst No. 2 in the mid-1940s.

“This mounding makes possible an infinite variety of nasty short shots that no other form of hazard can call for,” Ross said prior to the 1936 PGA. “Competitors whose second shots have wandered a bit will be disturbed by these innocent appearing slopes and by the shot they will have to invent to recover.”

It was the perfect confluence of events and the times for Pinehurst to host its first national championship.

“I have actually played No. 2 in my mind, in marvelous figures, a hundred times the last few months while I have waited for sleep to take me,” Tommy Armour said prior to the tournament. “It’s the kind of course that gets into the blood of an old trooper.”

Lee Pace is a regular contributor to the Pinehurst Blog. He latest book, “The Golden Age of Pinehurst—The Rebirth of No. 2,” is available in all retail shops at Pinehurst.

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