By Lee Pace
It was a big event in early March 2011 when Pinehurst No. 2 reopened after 12 months of a major facelift under the direction of architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, the last four months of it with the course completely shut to golfers.
It was a major milestone as well in June 2014 when the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open were held on consecutive weeks and the course’s restored optics of unkempt, jagged and utterly natural were hailed by golfers and the attendant golf universe.
Slipping beneath the radar, though, was the 5-year anniversary of the course’s reopening on March 3. The restoration project was never about adjusting Donald Ross’s No. 2 course for the U.S. Open. The purpose simply was to restore the width and bounciness of the fairways and remove the “bermuda creep” of four decades and return the perimeters of the holes to the native hardpan sand, wire grass and pine needles that reflected the look Ross left upon his death in 1948.
By sheer coincidence, Coore happened to be in Pinehurst on March 3, 2016. He had been attending to his recent work at Old Town Club in Winston-Salem earlier in the week and took the opportunity to visit Pinehurst and inspect the continued evolution of No. 2 and consult with course superintendent John Jeffreys on the course’s on-going maintenance.
“Five years? Seriously? I wouldn’t have had any idea,” Coore says.
He takes a stroll around the course on a crisp winter day when members and resort guests have taken every tee time available on No. 2. The fairways are a faint green hue, the result of course officials having discovered a colorant and method five years earlier of giving the grass a hint of color in winter without having to overseed the course with rye grass—a definite deterrent to developing the firm and fast playing conditions they covet. Just two weeks later, after a series of Spring-like days, the natural green would emerge. … Continue Reading