It’s common knowledge Pinehurst is the home of golf in America, but did you know the nation’s first miniature golf course was built here?
James Barber constructed the course in 1918.
According to the Feb. 2, 1918 edition of the Pinehurst Outlook, the first people to play the course were the ladies of the Advertising Golf League on Jan. 26, 1918.
The article states: “For some time now Mr. Barber has been laying out and perfecting a miniature golf links winding in and out among the shrubbery and paths of his place — a kind of glorified and elongated putting green, with obstacles to be negotiated with a well pitched mashie shot, and bends and curves calling for nice and discriminating slices and pulls.”
The story goes that upon first seeing it, Barber proclaimed, “This’ll Do.” It was translated into Thistle Dhu and the name stuck.
Technology is forever evolving in industry—steam engines replace horses pulling cargo, dynamite replaces picks and shovels for mining coal. And in sports as well—golf clubs morph from hickory shafts to steel to titanium.
Today improvements in grass seed science allow golf architects and green superintendents to use grasses in the Mid-Atlantic “transition zone” not long ago deemed too bumpy and slow for quality putting surfaces. The greens on Pinehurst No. 2 are now five months into their next iteration, this time with a strain from the same family of grasses, Bermuda, deemed outdated three decades ago.
“Technology keeps evolving. The Bermudas available today are nothing like the common Bermuda we knew 30 years ago,” says Bob Farren, Pinehurst’s director of golf course and grounds management.
The greens on No. 2 were torn up one week following the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open and resurfaced with Champion ultradwarf Bermuda, a strain that maintains high density during extreme temperatures and at low mowing heights, delivering smooth, consistent putting surfaces 12 months a year. Champion has been installed on more than 530 courses throughout the South in the last decade.