Pinehurst Heritage Archive

From Ross to Haney – A Century of Golf Instruction at Pinehurst


The concepts of golf instruction and practice were slow to evolve as the game developed a head of steam in America in the early 1900s. Richard Tufts, grandson of Pinehurst founder James W. Tufts, once observed: “I always thought it very strange that Walter Travis persisted in practicing chip shots, putting and even full shots when a vacant fairway was available. Why should he, of all golfers, need to waste time practicing?”

Pinehurst had three golf courses open by 1910 but no dedicated practice facility. Early lessons were conducted in the Scottish style of the teacher accompanying the student onto the golf course. But in the spring and summer of 1913, club pro and course architect Donald Ross allocated the ground covered by the first, second and 18th holes of course No. 1 exclusively for practice and built replacement holes on course No. 1 further southward from the clubhouse. The “Maniac Hill” practice range was the first of its kind in the country and remains a haven for resort guests and members to hone their swings.

Pinehurst Golf Academy

The Pinehurst Golf Academy

Various iterations of what exists today as the Pinehurst Golf Academy have been a constant fixture on the vast practice facility.

Frank Palumbo was one of the first to take the golf instruction baton at Pinehurst while serving as a staff pro for many years in the mid-1900s up through the 1980s. Palumbo created junior golf schools at Pinehurst and was assisted in his teaching efforts at various times by former PGA Tour golfer Johnny Palmer, who lived one county to the west in Stanley County. The Palumbo Cup is an annual match-play tournament played among the staff golf pros at Pinehurst.

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Golf Channel remembers Hogan’s breakthrough win at Pinehurst

If you were out enjoying the first weekend of spring, you may have missed two great Golf Channel pieces about Ben Hogan’s breakthrough win at Pinehurst.

Saturday marked the 75th anniversary of Hogan’s first professional win on Pinehurst No. 2. The historic victory broke a seven-year winless streak and set in motion one of the most successful careers of all time.

Hogan proceeded to win the Greater Greensboro Open and the Land of the Sky Open in Asheville. He went on to become one of just four golfers to win a career grand slam.

Pinehurst No. 2’s starters will be celebrating Hogan’s win all month long by donning Hogan-style caps. They’ll share his story with the players who are about to walk the fairways Hogan dominated in 1940.

Be sure to take 5 minutes out of your day to watch both of these videos and head over to to learn more about Hogan.

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Paying tribute to Ben Hogan

On March 21, 1940, it finally happened.

Ben Hogan won.

The story has become the stuff of Pinehurst lore and legend. Hogan had toiled on the PGA Tour for seven years without a victory. He was close to calling the pro game quits and retiring back to Texas to become a club pro. His car rolled into Pinehurst for the 1940 North & South Open on four bald tires.

But Hogan opened with a first-round 66 on Pinehurst No. 2 and followed with a 67 in the next round, building a 7-shot lead. His 74 and 70 in the 36-hole finale on March 21 weren’t spectacular, but they still held off Snead by three shots. Hogan, finally – FINALLY –  was a winner.

The rest, as the cliche goes, is history.

Pinehurst No. 2's starters are donning Hogan-styled caps to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Ben Hogan's first professional victory in the 9140 North & South Open at Pinehurst.

Pinehurst No. 2’s starters are donning Hogan-styled caps to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Ben Hogan’s first professional victory in the 1940 North & South Open at Pinehurst.

History is something we cherish at Pinehurst. And beginning this week, 75 years after Hogan finally broke through on No. 2, we are paying tribute to The Hawk. This Spring, the starters at Pinehurst No. 2 will greet players while donning Hogan-styled caps. As part of their regular welcome to the first tee, they will recount the story above before players walk into Hogan’s own footsteps – the footsteps that after Pinehurst, led to nine major championships and 68 other professional victories.


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5 Favorite Donald Ross Quotes

Donald Ross tees off during one of his many golf outings.

Donald Ross, the famed architect who designed Pinehurst No. 2, often shunned the limelight, but his wisdom still made it into the history books.

Here are 5 of our favorite Ross quotes:

  • “I believe wholeheartedly in golf. I consider it a game of honor. It does more to bring out the finer points in a man’s character than any other sport.”
  • “If you want to know a man, take him out on the golf course.”
  • “Pinehurst absolutely was the pioneer in American golf. While golf had been played in a few places before Pinehurst was established, it was right here in these sandhills that the first great national movement in golf was started. Men came here, took a few golf lessons, bought a few clubs and went away determined to organize clubs.”
  • “A country which gets golf-minded need not worry about the honor, the integrity and the honesty of its people.”
  • “Every golfer is on his honor. As long as we keep golf a game of honor, we’re on the right road.”

Allow us to add one more, as a bonus:

  • “My friends laughed at me,” Ross said in 1930. “They said it was folly to try to make a winter golf colony down in the jack pines and sand of Carolina.”

Read more about Ross at (Note: You don’t want to miss the “A Life Lesson” story.)


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Pinehurst’s Presidential Visits


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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