Pinehurst Heritage Archive

Pinehurst’s Presidential Visits

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Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer and President Gerald Ford played golf during the World Golf Hall of Fame Tournament on Sept. 11, 1974. (Photo from National Archives)

Golf has long been the pastime of presidents.

LINKS Magazine reports 15 of the last 18 U.S. Presidents have played golf.

President Barack Obama has played more than 200 rounds of golf since he took office in 2009.

While that may sound like a lot, Obama will never catch up to Woodrow Wilson, who reportedly played 1,200 rounds during his presidency.

Obama visited Pinehurst while on the campaign trail in 2008, but he didn’t get a chance to play.

Mr. President, don’t you think it’s time to come back and play Pinehurst No. 2? We’ll set you up with caddie Willie McRae.

He’s carried bags for four presidents: Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower.

HEM14906.15 &.16 Richard Nixon, 12-13-1964

Richard Nixon played golf in Pinehurst in 1964 before taking office. (Photo from Tufts Archives)

McRae told the Associated Press that Nixon is the best player of the group, but he enjoyed them all.

“I mean, you’re caddying for somebody who is the head of the United States,” McRae told the AP. “There ain’t but one man ahead of him, and that’s God.”

Here’s a look back at some of Pinehurst’s presidential visits.

President Theodore Roosevelt visited Pinehurst twice: after leaving office in 1909 and before running again in 1912, according to Audrey Moriarty’s book “Pinehurst: Golf, History and the Good Life.”

Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt has visited Pinehurst twice. (Photo from Tufts Archives)

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Payne Stewart’s iconic swing

Not long ago, we tweeted a 3-second Vine of Payne Stewart’s tee shot on the 17th hole of Pinehurst No. 2 during the fateful final round of the 1999 U.S. Open. The response was immediate. The swing looks effortless. It’s classic. It’s so far removed from pretty much every swing you see on any PGA Tour broadcast today.

See?

 

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Willie McRae Remembers Charlie Sifford at Pinehurst

Today, the golf world – more than that, actually – is mourning the passing of Charlie Sifford, who courageously broke golf’s color barrier. The World Golf Hall-of-Famer was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in November.

Willie McRae appears in the January 2015 issue of Our State magazine. Legendary Pinehurst caddie Willie McRae (at left), who has caddied at Pinehurst for more than seven decades, remembers a moment from one of the Colgate Hall of Fame Classic PGA Tour events, which Pinehurst hosted through the 1970s and early 1980s – a story that includes Arnold Palmer and Sifford.

As McRae tells it:

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Remembering Payne

It is January 30, 2015. Payne Stewart would’ve been 58 years old today.

We miss Payne here in Pinehurst every day. We also honor and remember him every day.

Clearly, we are not the only ones.

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Below, you will find much of everything we have done on this site about Payne Stewart, from feature stories to videos.

We miss you, Payne.

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Miniature golf born in Pinehurst nearly 100 years ago

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.”

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The story goes that upon first seeing it, Barber proclaimed, “This’ll Do.” It was translated into Thistle Dhu and the name stuck.

Nearly a century later, Thistle Dhu returned to Pinehurst. 

The 18-hole putting course is designed to entertain everyone from the golfing beginner to the scratch player.

Click here to find out more about the putting course.

Thisle Dhu Vintage 1920

This photo of Thistle Dhu appeared in the 1920 edition of Country Life.

 

 

 

 

 

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