Pinehurst Heritage Archive

Two years after history, Pinehurst No. 2 remains a standard in championship golf

After back-to-back U.S. Opens, Pinehurst No. 2 continues as not just a marker of the past, but with an eye toward the future in golf


This week the eyes and ears of the golf world have moved from the Sandhills of North Carolina in June 2014 to Pennsylvania. Instead of the whiff of pine in the nostrils of golfers competing in the U.S. Open, they’ll face the harrowing green speeds of Oakmont Country Club.

Two years later, though, the vestiges of the historic back-to-back U.S. Open and Women’s Open at Pinehurst No. 2 are still alive.

Even with Oakmont’s classic Open setup on display the idea of firm-and-fast playing conditions with a tinge of brown has now been established in the minds of golfers, course owners and superintendents nationwide.

The concept of easing back on course setup for the Women’s Open has been seeded after the USGA parsed a wealth of statistics from the performances of the men and women at Pinehurst in 2014.

JUNE: U.S. Open (USGA)

Sunday at the 18th hole of Pinehurst No. 2 during the 2014 U.S. Open. (Photo by the USGA)

And now members and guests at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club enjoy playing No. 2 on a pristine set of new Champion Ultra-Dwarf Bermuda greens that were installed immediately following the Women’s Open last summer and have grown in two years to top-shelf conditions. The greens roll smoothly at 9.5-to-11 on the Stimpmeter and their tendency to play bouncier and prompt pitch-and-run shots to release further than similar shots on the old bent greens adds challenge to the experience—as if it needed any more. … Continue Reading

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The Payne Stewart Putt – In Legos

Payne Stewart @pinehurstresort in 1999. #USOpenChampion #OhMy

A video posted by Jared Jacobs (@goldyeller) on

Remember when @goldyeller – AKA Jared Jacobs – put together the insanely good Tiger Woods video in Legos?

Now, during U.S. Open week, Jacobs has created Payne Stewart’s memorable putt to win the 1999 U.S. Open.

Incredible work.

A few notes of what we at Pinehurst liked best about the Lego video:

:00 seconds Dick Enberg’s call. Just brilliant. That call is so pitch-perfect.

:03 LOOK AT THE FIST PUMP! Jacobs absolutely nails Payne’s famous fist-pump.

:06 The next couple of details are incredibly good. Watch how Lego Mike Hicks – Payne’s Caddie – comes off the ground a little bit when they come together. Hicks had jumped into Payne’s arms, as does Lego Hicks. So good. Even better, though, is how Lego Hicks’ cap moves up slightly after their high-five (also spot-on). That happens for real in 1999 as well.

:09 While Lego Hicks and Lego Payne come together, look at the legs of the figures. You’ll notice Lego Payne is wearing knickers and long white socks.

:13 Check out the expression on Lego Phil Mickelson’s face at first. It’s an even expression, and then Lego Lefty breaks into the sheepish smile. Same as ’99.

Also, note Lego Lefty’s visor. So perfect.

:15 The embrace. Lego Payne and Lego Phil embrace, and you can see them talking. Some don’t know that Phil first said, “I’m so happy for you,” to Payne, and here, you can see Lego Lefty talking. Then Lego Payne cradles Lego Lefty’s face and says, “You’re going to be a father.”

:18 Finally, Lego Payne picks the ball up out of the cup and kisses it. But he also raises the ball and roars, and it’s right on with the audio from the day.

Details matter in these, and Jacobs nails it, right down to the vest Payne made on his way to the first tee that fateful day. Look closely and you’ll see Jacobs has made the edges of the sleeves ragged. Remember, those vests weren’t around in 1999. Payne cut the sleeves off with scissors. And we still have the sleeves and scissors on display here at Pinehurst.

Well done, Jared. Well done.

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When the shot didn’t fall for North Carolina – in golf

North Carolina came agonizingly close to winning a national championship in basketball this season, only to see its hopes ripped away by Villanova’s Kris Jenkins at the buzzer.

As gut-wrenching a moment as it was for the Tar Heels’ faithful, the finish calls to mind another heartbreaking Heels finish, but one that comes from the world of golf.

And it includes none other than Arnold Palmer.

Perhaps no player has had a greater impact on golf than Arnold Palmer. But his lone win at Pinehurst is a difficult one to find. It’s not the North & South Amateur, which he laments, and where he lost twice in the semifinals. Palmer turned professional in 1954, so he missed the North & South Open, and he was past his prime for the PGA Tour events at Pinehurst in the 1970s and the U.S. Senior Open in 1994.

“It was a great shot that scared me to death, let’s just say that.” -Arnold Palmer

But there is a win at Pinehurst in the Palmer ledger, and he recalls it fondly. But it was a crushing near-miss for the Tar Heels and their star, Harvie Ward.

In 1948, Palmer was a freshman sensation at Wake Forest, competing in the Southern Conference, a precursor to the Atlantic Coast Conference. Near the close of the second round on Pinehurst No. 2, Palmer found himself ahead of his friend and rival Ward. But Ward still had the famed 18th to play, and was comfortably in the fairway.


Arnold Palmer and Harvie Ward at Pinehurst in the late 1940s.

Palmer should’ve been confident. Ward would need to hole his approach shot just to tie.

But with the ball in the air, Palmer’s heart sank.

“Harvie needed to hole his second shot to tie me,” Palmer said in 2014 before the U.S. Open. “He left it about 3 inches from the hole. I didn’t think it had a chance, but he damn near made it.”

Palmer won the conference championship by a stroke. It’s his only documented Pinehurst win.

“It would’ve dismayed me quite a bit,” Palmer says now of Ward’s shot. “It was a great shot that scared me to death, let’s just say that.”

Neither Wake Forest nor North Carolina won the Southern Conference team championship, though.

Who did?


Of course.

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Pinehurst No. 2 – Five Years Later

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

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The Pinehurst No. 2 Restoration – The First Cut

On March 4, 2011, Pinehurst No. 2 reopened following the year-long restoration by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.

To commemorate the 5-year anniversary this week, we’ll take a look back on some of the iconic moments of the project. Today, we’ll give you a glimpse of the very first photos taken on the day No. 2’s manicured rough was removed in 2010, beginning the project.

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