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Welcome back to Pinehurst.
This is best viewed with the sound on…
Welcome back to Pinehurst.
The croquet equivalent of the Ryder Cup is taking place at Pinehurst this weekend.
The Solomon Trophy, which pits the United States against Great Britain, is being held at the main clubhouse through Monday.
Six of the best players from each country take part in the competition, which includes 12 doubles and nine singles matches. The winner of each match is awarded one point. The first to reach 11 becomes the champion.
Four of the players representing the U.S. live right here in North Carolina.
“You’d never know it, but North Carolina is a hotbed for croquet, which is kind of an oxymoron,” said Tournament Director Mike Taylor, a member of the Pinehurst Croquet Club.
This year marks the 22rd time the match has been played since its inception in 1985 and the first time it’s been hosted at Pinehurst. The United States has won just twice.
“The British team has dominated to say the least,” Taylor said.
It’s not hard to see why the Brits are so good at croquet. The sport was born on the British Isles during the mid-19th century. The United States Croquet Association wasn’t formed until 1977 even though the sport has long been a popular American pastime.
“Here in the United States pretty much every country club is built around golf,” Taylor said. “They have a few of those in Britain, but most of the country clubs there are built around croquet, so people start playing at a young age.”
David Maugham, a member of the British team, picked up the sport when he was a preteen.
“Historically, (the Solomon Trophy) was a way to developing the game in America,” he said. “There wasn’t a huge pool of players at first, so we dominated for the first 20 years because of that disparity.”
But as the game has gained popularity in America, its teams have continued to get better.
“Croquet still isn’t a huge sport in this country, but it’s a lot bigger than people realize,” said Taylor, who has been playing for seven years. “It’s a really great game.”
Maugham, a 30 year veteran of the sport, is drawn to the mental aspect of croquet.
“I quite like the fact that the game is more about playing yourself than it is about playing the opponent,” he said. “It has a healthy tactical element in that you have to think about where you want to balls to go so it’s most advantageous to you and least advantageous to your opponent.”
Pete Trimmer, another British player, enjoys the complexity of the game.
“It’s got a really good balance between physical, tactical and psychological skills,” he said. “There’s arguably no better mix of those three in any other game.”
Croquet is offered to all Pinehurst members. The club plays at 9 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They teach clinics to those interested in joining Saturdays at 10 a.m.
Robert Jepson Jr. of Savannah, Georgia took home the top prize at the 3rd annual Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance with his 1919 Pierce-Arrow Model 66 A-4 Tourer.
The vehicle was customized by Don Lee Coach & Bodyworks in Los Angeles for the famous silent movie actor Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle.
It has the largest engine made for automobiles at that time, sporting 6 cylinders and 825 cubic inch displacement. Its tires, including side mounts, are all white and measure 6 x 36. The car stands 7 feet tall at its highest point.
The car receives a total “nuts and bolts” restoration in 2007 by Lon Kruger of Scottsdale, Arizona.
1. More than 250 cars and motorcycles from 18 different states will be on display, so there’s no doubt something for everyone.
Classes include Pre-War American (until 1942); Post-War American (until 1974); Pre-War European (until 1942); Post-War European (until 1974); Post-War European (until 1974); Post-War Mercedes-Benz (until 1974); Ferrari (until 1975); Porsche Air Cooled (until 1988); Corvette (until 1972); Orphan Cars (Gone But Not Forgotten); Micro Cars; American Performance (until 1974) and Motorcycles (Preservation until 1975).
“The selection committee has scoured the East Coast and secured some of the most amazing vehicles for show attendees to view and enjoy,” said Pinehurst Concours chief judge Nigel Matthews. “They will have the opportunity to see vehicles that they have never seen before — and probably will never see again.”
2. Actor Dennis Haysbert will serve as the event’s grand marshal.
Haysbert starred as politician David Palmer in the hit television series “24” and appeared as baseball player Pedro Cerrano in the popular “Major League” film trilogy.
The actor will drive with a solider in the Iron Mike Rally to Fort Bragg on Friday. While on base, he will meet and greet troops attending the event, then visit with members of the Fort Bragg Special Forces unit.
3. Have you ever seen a rock band performing on the fairways of a golf course? Neither have we, but Three Dog Night will do it Saturday starting at 5 p.m.
Click here for more details.
4. The Pinehurst Concours Foundation supports local charities.
With its strong military ties, the organization will assist the USO of North Carolina with donations from the 2015 Pinehurst Concours.
The USO of North Carolina was founded in 1941, it is the lead organization charged with supporting military servicemen and women in the state of North Carolina. With five centers statewide, USO of North Carolina served almost 575,000 troops in 2014.
The Pinehurst Concours also has a local scholarship program for high school students who participate in the event’s unique digital judging system.
“One of our goals of the Pinehurst Concours from the start was to involve the local community in as many programs as possible,” said Executive Director Jay Howard. “Our Iron Mike Rally salutes the military at Fort Bragg, and the establishment of a scholarship program ties in an educational component we believe is very important.”
When: Saturday, May 2
Where: Pinehurst Resort, click here to view maps.
Tickets: Advance tickets can be purchased online for $40 each by clicking here. The day’s ticket, which also can be purchased at the gate, includes entry into the Pinehurst Concours and the Three Dog Night concert. Active troops can still purchase a $25 ticket to the event at the gate with a valid military ID.
FYI: View a list of frequently asked questions here.
There’s a heated competition underway at Pinehurst, but it’s not taking place on a golf course.
The Southeast Division of the U.S. Lawn Bowls Association is hosting their playdowns at the main clubhouse through the weekend.
Playdowns is lawn bowl lingo for playoffs. The winners of the competition will go on to compete in the U.S. Championships later this year.
“That’s as good as it gets in this sport,” said George Tucker, a member of the Pinehurst Lawn Bowls Club. “It’s like the World Series in baseball.”
About a dozen teams are facing off in the pairs competitions, which is expected to wrap up Friday. Singles play will get underway Saturday with 22 individuals facing off.
George has been participating in lawn bowls since he first picked up the sport in 1998.
“It’s just a fun game,” he said.
George’s wife, Jackie, started playing in 2003, but it didn’t take long to catch up with her husband. Last year, she took home first place in the pairs competition at the U.S. Championships.
Now, Jackie stays busy coaching the Team USA.
“This is a game you can play for the rest of your life,” she said. “It’s good exercise, you’re outside and it is always challenging.”
The strategy needed to win a game keeps the mind sharp, Jackie said.
“You’re got to be one thought or two thoughts ahead of your opponent, which is why I tell people it’s like playing chess on grass,” she said.
Jackie compares the physical aspect of the sport to curling, but George likens it to shuffleboard.
Pinehurst members interested in lawn bowling can contact Jackie at 910-215-5538 or Dan Delgarn at 910-215-0811 to set up a free lesson and learn more.
Groups interested in lawn bowling during their visit at Pinehurst can call Recreation Manager Mallory Caddell at 910-235-8783to make arrangements for a lesson.