Pinehurst Golf News Archive

Getting Pinehurst No. 2 ready for the day

By Sarah Campbell
Pinehurst Resort

The world is quiet when the Pinehurst No. 2’s grounds crew begins their day.

The birds aren’t even chirping as the equipment is flipped to the on position, producing a familiar hum that jolts the team into motion.

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The Pinehurst No. 2 grounds crew gets to work well before the first group tees off for the day.

The day starts around 5:30 a.m. inside the maintenance facility off Morganton Road. One by one, the crew trickles in carrying coffee mugs, Red Bull and various other highly-caffeinated beverages.

“They do whatever it takes,” Assistant Superintendent Logan Murphy said with a laugh.

“We had to ban energy drinks before the (U.S.) Opens last year because some of the guys were coming in way too hopped up,” said Superintendent John Jeffreys.

By 6 a.m., the caffeine has kicked in and the team is ready to go.

Each morning begins with an assistant superintendent passing out the day’s assignments. Today, it’s Murphy’s turn. He reads from a piece of paper filled with scribbles as duties are changing up to a minute before the meeting.

“We don’t want to burn anybody out, everybody enjoys doing different things,” said Jeffreys, who makes the final tweaks to the day’s lineup.

When creating the list of assignments, Murphy does his best to remember who did what the day before.

“We try to rotate people in and out of jobs that are so much fun, like fly mowing,” he said. “We try to be fair while playing to each person’s strengths.”

Jeffreys, Murphy and assistant superintendent Kirk Adkins don’t just dole out work, they are typically out alongside their crew.

“We try to do something productive to help out,” Murphy said. “It’s a whole team mentality, we all do what’s best for the team. We know everything’s got to be perfect when that first group arrives at the first tee.”

A morning on Pinehurst No. 2

The sun is tucked behind the trees, casting a soft glow on the stately course as about two dozen crew members descend on Pinehurst No. 2.

“There’s a quick rise in action,” Jeffreys said. “We have a long list of things that need to get accomplished each day.”

By the time the crew makes their way out to No. 2 on this particular June day, Adkins has already put in nearly 2 hours of work verticutting the greens. Arriving just after 4 a.m., he used the headlines on his mower to navigate the golf course.

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Kirk Adkins arrived early to get the verticutting done.

“Verticutting helps remove thatch from the playing surface, which helps to create firm and fast playing conditions,” Adkins said. “(It) also trains the grass to grow more upright. This reduces the impact of grain and provides a truer putting surface.”

Buck Entwhistle follows behind Adkins on a mower to clean up any residual debris left over from the verticutting.

Next, Lash Hairston rolls the greens to ensure they are in top playing condition.

Arlindo Lagunas Nambo maneuvers the fly mower from bunker to bunker with Trevor Wood not far behind him using a weed eater to clean up the edges. The fly mower looks like a conventional push mower without the wheels, allowing it to hover over tough undulations and steep slopes. Jorge Lagunas Nambo uses a leaf blower to blast any debris from the sandy area.

Dalton Bullard, Victor Little and Kevin Lee, an intern from North Carolina State University, handle the raking, putting the finishing touches on the bunkers. The men have to move fast as there are 117 bunkers on Pinehurst No. 2.

Nearby, Eli Alvarez, an intern from Brunswick Community College, edges the greens. The process keeps the greens’ Champion Ultradwarf and the fairways’ Tifway Bermuda grasses from competing with each other.

Since the restoration of No. 2, which eliminated Bermuda rough and reintroduced sand and native wiregrass, the maintenance team has used about 73 percent less water. Reducing the total number of irrigation heads to 450 from about 1,100 means the team does more hand watering.

“We use a moisture meter to make sure we use the right amount of water,” Jeffreys said. “We don’t want to overwater the greens.”

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Jeffrey Davis uses a meter to measure moisture.

The meter, which looks like a pogo stick, measures volumetric water content.

“We’ve established that the greens need to be at 25 percent not to have any stress during the day,” Jeffreys said.

That makes Jeffrey Davis’ job very important. Davis takes about 20 readings throughout the green to pinpoint which areas need water before unwinding a hose attached to a portable system to give the grass the hydration it needs.

The decision to convert the greens to Champion Ultradwarf has been a good one.

“Bent grass, which is what we had before, is a cool season grass. It doesn’t like the heat,” Jeffreys said. “The Ultradwarf gives us a better surface for more days of the year.”

Brandi Merrick and Sam Tucker are responsible for setting up the tees on this June day. The first impression is made here.

“They are packing the divots and making sure the golfers have a good clean tee when they’re hitting,” Jeffreys said.

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Daniel Whisenant cuts a cup.

The final step in the morning activity is cutting the cups. Murphy and Daniel Whisenant handle this, resurrecting the familiar Pinehurst No. 2 flag to signal to official start of the day.

It’s 7:10 a.m and the first group tees off at 7:30 a.m, but the work is hardly done. Later, the team will double cut the greens, a process that takes about one hour per green. The golf maintenance crews from all courses also work together to keep the practice areas and grass around the hotels in tip-top shape.

 Sarah Campbell is the resort’s content and social media specialist.

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Pinehurst, and the next decade of championships

BY LEE PACE

With the official announcement that the USGA will conduct its fourth U.S. Open on Pinehurst No. 2 in June 2024, Pinehurst is set for a run of USGA events over the coming decade that further solidifies its place in championship golf.

In 2017 there is the U.S. Men’s Four-Ball Championship.

In 2019 there is the U.S. Amateur.

And then the Open five years later—yet another chapter that spans a story stretching more than a century, from Walter Hagen winning at Pinehurst in the 1920s to Ben Hogan crashing the victory barrier in 1940 to Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson collecting titles in the 1970s.

“There’s just so much history to this golf course,” Michelle Wie said in June 2014 after winning the U.S. Women’s Open. “And just the fact that I can be part of that history, it’s just so cool. I feel so honored to be part of that history. I think No. 2 is spectacular, and I think winning on the same golf course that Payne Stewart won means so much to me.” … Continue Reading

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Pinehurst’s best deal of the year is back!

Temperatures are cooling. The humidity is lifting.

And great golf remains.

Pinehurst’s best deal of the year is back with the Evergreen Golf or Spa Escape. And as you can see in the video above, The Golf Channel believes it is one of the best deals in golf this season.

Available from Nov. 15, 2015 to March 2, 2016, for just $179, the package includes:

  • Choice of one round of golf (a surcharge applies to Pinehurst No. 2) or one 50-minute spa treatment (save 40 percent when booking additional treatments)
  • Resort accommodations
  • Pinehurst’s famed breakfast buffet.
  • Cart fee, club storage, unlimited access to practice areas

For more offers and packages at Pinehurst, please visit here.

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When Jack and Arnie roamed Pinehurst No. 2

Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus share a laugh in the Donald Ross Grill at Pinehurst Resort before their 1994 match on Pinehurst No. 2.

Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus share a laugh in the Donald Ross Grill at Pinehurst Resort before their 1994 match on Pinehurst No. 2.

In April of 1994, Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf brought together a match for the ages on Pinehurst No. 2

By Lee Pace

IT WAS SHOW BUSINESS, for sure. Jack Nicklaus vs. Arnold Palmer in a made-for-TV match at Pinehurst, part of the modern reincarnation of the Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf series. Nicklaus owned the TV production company. Flags on each green had the yellow Shell logo in place of a green Pinehurst logo. No one hit a shot until cameras were properly positioned.

But watching Nicklaus and Palmer stride to the 18th green on a brilliant April afternoon in 1994, Palmer tipping his visor and Nicklaus patting his old rival on the back, was as real as the historical moments come on Pinehurst No. 2.

Arnie … Jack … Pinehurst … what scriptwriter came up with this? Some 4,000 in the gallery appreciated the significance of the moment. They clustered around the final green five and six deep, offering a hearty and rousing ovation to these heroes in the twilight of their careers.

Nicklaus won the match with a 67, rolling in a 70-foot putt from off the 18th green for a final birdie. Palmer shot 74.

“Jack and I haven’t always agreed on everything, but I think we’ve found one common ground here,” Palmer said after a practice round the day before the match. “I agree with him that No. 2 has been one of the greatest golf courses I’ve ever had the opportunity to play. And I go back to when he was wearing three-quarters pants when I first came here. That would have been 1947.” … Continue Reading

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The Story Behind Kelly Mitchum’s Amazing 3-Putt

By Lee Pace

Enter the phrase “Kelly Mitchum Pinehurst 3 putt” in a Google search box and in 0.93 seconds you’ll get 3,140 results. PGA.com anointed Mitchum a “magician.” He’s been fêted on CBSSports.com and on The Golf Channel’s Morning Drive program and given a cyber pat-on-the-back by noted golf blogger Geoff Shackelford.

“It’s been pretty amazing,” says Mitchum, a longtime instructor in the Pinehurst Golf Academy.

They say everyone has his 15 minutes of fame. Mitchum’s had a dose of golf fame in qualifying four times for the PGA Championship, one of golf’s four “majors,” while holding down a full-time job at Pinehurst.

Now his fame is taking a wholly different presence with a 20-second, self-produced video posted July 10 on Pinehurst.com that shows Mitchum executing a “trick shot” on a practice putting green — three putts struck within one second of each other, traveling on different paths and reaching the bottom of the same hole in rapid-fire succession.

What makes the feat so awe-inspiring is that the third putt hits the hole first, followed by the second, followed by the first.

“A lot of conversations are getting started these days, ‘Hey, I saw your three-putt,’” says Mitchum. “It’s been interesting. I got an email from a guy in India who’d been to our golf school a while back and had seen it. It’s pretty amazing.”

The Numbers

It’s the product of some imagination and skill on the part of Mitchum, 44, a former N.C. State golfer and winner of the 1993 North and South Amateur. And it’s a product as well of today’s social-media conscious world that gobbles up short and sweet bits of content like M&Ms.

By December, the Mitchum clip on YouTube had nearly 700,000 views. A Vine posting had registered more than 1.2 million “loops,” as they’re known on the site comprised of 6-second video clips. The “news” page of the Pinehurst website where the Mitchum video is housed has generated some 800,000 views. … Continue Reading

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