“There’s nothing like it, nothing like it in the world.”
Ben Crenshaw has seen thousands of golf courses around the globe in four-plus decades of competition and design work with partner Bill Coore. Since first seeing Pinehurst No. 2 in November 1973, he’s revered its unique qualities.
So what makes Pinehurst No. 2 special?
Let us count the ways.
Pinehurst No. 2 8th Hole
No. 1 Wide fairways
Donald Ross and superintendent Frank Maples installed the first irrigation system on No. 2 in 1933. The pipe was laid down the middle of each fairway and water was thrown roughly seventy feet on either side.
“There’s nothing like it, nothing like it in the world.” – Ben Crenshaw
That ground was maintained as fairway, everything else was the natural hardpan sand that had defined the region for generations. That breathing room off the tee allowed golfers the opportunity to aim tee shots to one side or the other in order to have the best angle to approach the green and the hole location that day.
When Pinehurst officials decided to restore Pinehurst No. 2 to the way famed designer Donald Ross originally intended, the choice to lead the giant undertaking was clear.
By LEE PACE
Fifty years later, Bill Coore can easily conjure up the sights and sounds of a summer day spent playing golf at Pinehurst. As a boy growing up in Davidson County just an hour northwest of Pinehurst, Coore would often travel with an adult golf mentor or a group of junior golf buddies to play Pinehurst No. 2, then as now one of the top courses in the nation.
“This was the foundation of my introduction to golf architecture.” – Bill Coore
“We’d tee off at daybreak,” Coore says. “It was five dollars. You got a little tag, a paper tag to put on your bag. We would start walking and playing. Far more than a few times we’d play fifty-four holes in one day, carrying our bag, on the No. 2 course. That was my earliest memory. It’s just an incredible place.”
Coore, established in 2010 as one of the top architects in the game of golf, pauses to reflect on the influence Donald Ross and No. 2 have had on his life and career.
“This was the foundation of my introduction to golf architecture,” he says.
“I’ve thought a lot about (the back-to-back Opens). I think it’s very interesting…I think it will be great.”
“Pinehurst No. 2 has a lot of great history…and if all else fails, I hear there’s a lot of other Pinehurst (courses) to play.”*
*Yes indeed, Michelle. We know of AT LEAST SEVEN other ones you might want to try. Let us know. We’ll take care of it.
When asked whether she had concerns about No. 2 being able to handle a second Open just days after the men complete their championship:
“Pinehurst No. 2 has a lot of great history…and if all else fails, I hear there’s a lot of other Pinehurst (courses) to play.” -Michelle Wie
“I have a little bit of concerns here and there, but at the same time I know the USGA will do a great job. They’re smart, they know what they’re doing, and I’m sure when we tee off on Thursday it will be in tip-top condition and we won’t even know that the men were even there.”
Wie, also, thinking about the health of women’s golf and how the back-to-back Opens experience may help:
“Hopefully all the fans will stay after watching the first U.S. Open because I think it will be great for fans. It’s like a one-stop and two tournaments. I think we’ll have a lot bigger gallery for our event, which is a definite plus for us.”
Will she take notes from the men the week before?
“I definitely will watch how they play, where to avoid and where to go. I’ll definitely be watching golf that weekend – which is a change for me.” (Laughs.)
Worried about driving zones since Wie is a bomber off the tee? Might there be divots in her landing zones from the week before?
“I’m not really too worried about it. I feel like if I’m worried about it now, I’ll never hit a fairway there. If it’s in the fairway, you won’t be in any divot.” (Laughs.)