Pinehurst News

Arnold Palmer at Pinehurst [VIDEO]

When the King speaks, golf fans tend to stop and listen.

In advance of the 2007 celebration surrounding the centennial of Pinehurst No. 2, Arnold Palmer visited the area he so often enjoyed in his youth with his father, and took a few minutes to chat about his own special history at Pinehurst and on No. 2.

The King’s comments were captured on video, and have been rarely seen or heard.

Until now.

Palmer has a perspective on Pinehurst like few alive today. Not only is he one of the greatest and most important players in the game’s long history, Palmer’s fascination with Pinehurst is intertwined with the memory of his father Deacon, who visited Pinehurst often in the 1930s and 1940s. Arnold would occasionally join him and eventually enroll at Wake Forest College in the late 1940s, winning the Southern Conference Championship on Pinehurst No. 2 in dramatic fashion over Harvie Ward.

He recounts those memories here.

Stunningly, that college championship was The King’s only victory in Pinehurst. Palmer never advanced past the semifinals of the North and South Amateur, even losing 12 & 11 to Frank Stranahan in the 1949 event. He also missed the cut at the World Open in 1974 only days after being enshrined in the Golf Hall of Fame, then missed the cut again in 1975.

But those misfires never dampened Palmer’s love for Pinehurst and its most celebrated golf course.

“I have great memories of visiting Pinehurst in the old days,” he said in 1994. “For a kid from Latrobe to visit the golf capital of the world was a special treat.”

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Darron Stiles and the Coconut Tree – Fighting off snowmen in California

Pinehurst's Darron Stiles is optimistic about his start to the 2013 PGA Tour season.

Pinehurst’s Darron Stiles is optimistic about his start to the 2013 PGA Tour season.


How do you start a story like this? Pinehurst’s Darron Stiles has played five really good rounds of golf in his return to the PGA Tour.

He has a missed cut and a T56 to show for it.

So how do you begin the story of Stiles’ start, especially when it includes a coconut tree, the top of the leaderboard, a cart path and a snowman? What class in J-School do you take to handle that?

The answer is, there isn’t one. There is no perfect way. No right or wrong.

Still, what do you do?

You do what Darron Stiles did.

You put your head down and keep going – and fight back.


I took three shots at laying the foundation of Stiles’ early season story.

It’s pretty clear I failed each time. Here, see for yourself:

… Continue Reading

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Jack – and Jackie – Nicklaus at Pinehurst

Jack Nicklaus won the 1959 North and South Amateur a few weeks before claiming the U.S. Amateur. It was the start of a storied history with Pinehurst.

Jack Nicklaus won the 1959 North and South Amateur a few weeks before claiming the U.S. Amateur. It was the start of a storied history with Pinehurst.

Jack Nicklaus turned 76 today (Jan. 21, 2016), marking one year for each of his PGA Tour victories – plus three.

The standard-bearer for the game of golf worldwide – a pedestal that appears sturdier and sturdier with each passing year – it comes as no surprise Nicklaus has a distinguished history with Pinehurst.

And it is an interesting history, to say the least. His win at the 1975 World Open – a playoff victory over Billy Casper that counts as No. 59 on the Nicklaus PGA Tour ledger – is probably the least surprising of all. Nicklaus won at least one PGA Tour event in 17 consecutive years. Of course he won in Pinehurst.

Not that 1975 was a season to overlook in the Nicklaus canon. It proved to be one of his best, and Pinehurst capped it. He won five times and was named the PGA Player of the Year for the fourth time. Two of those victories were in major championships, including The Masters (his fifth) and the PGA Championship (his fourth), which came a mere 31 days before the start of the ’75 World Open.

Jack Nicklaus is forever adorned in Pinehurst after winning the 1959 North and South Amateur.

Jack Nicklaus is forever adorned in Pinehurst after winning the 1959 North and South Amateur.

But Nicklaus had won in Pinehurst long before he toured Pinehurst No. 2 in 4-under 280 in September 1975. Just a few weeks before he made his signature splash on the golf scene with a victory in the 1959 U.S. Amateur, Nicklaus captured the 1959 North and South Amateur at Pinehurst, clipping Gene Andrews 1-up, but with scores of 83 and 84 in the 36-hole final when No. 2 may have been its toughest.

Nicklaus was 19. Stocky. With a crew cut.

Years later, he reflected on the victory.

… Continue Reading

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Pinehurst Golf Academy – “It’s been…amazing.”

Liz Kline came to the Pinehurst Golf Academy unable to hit driver off the tee.

She left three days later – THREE DAYS! -saying this:

“It’s been…amazing. I didn’t know what I was getting into when I came into this. I was scared that they were going to try to completely redo my swing, which they did. But I can hit my woods. I’ve come very far.”

Let acclaimed teacher Eric Alpenfels and his staff help you improve your game this year in a setting that tailors to you at the Pinehurst Golf Academy.

It certainly helped Liz.

“I have accomplished my goal. I can’t wait to go back and practice more, play more and really love going to the golf course.”

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The ‘Cirque du Soleil’ lunge – and how the Pinehurst Golf Academy fixed it

Kris Wilson came to Pinehurst looking for help. His impassioned plea came in a simple e-mail:

You will never meet anyone who needs a weekend golf school as much as I do. If it were anywhere else other than Pinehurst, I wouldn’t waste my time writing, for surely a lesser school would need me for 3 months (not 3 days).

My fate is bad, and my future is dim! Not only do I lunge at the ball, but captured by camera, I look like a contortionist. I have never been under a 10 handicap, but am about 14 now, and that won’t last without an intervention.

Yes, I can hit the fairway, and yes I can launch the ball, but a recent picture taken by a friend (he hasn’t posted it publicly, and he works for me, so we’re still friends) would amaze you. I would bet that only one out of 10,000 PGA Professionals would guess I could “repeat” the contortions ever again.

The fix should be easy; I started dropping my shoulder and it has migrated towards a “cirque du soleil” lunge at the ball. I have very good eye hand coordination, which allows me to manage actually getting the ball off, but I am way of balance, on my toes, and my head is level with my waist. I look like a bull fighter, narrowly missing the bull, legs extended, and standing on tip toes. Too bad there is no bull!

I could send a picture, but you wouldn’t believe it, you would really need to see it for yourself.

Kris came to the Pinehurst Golf Academy, and he let us film his progress.

Think the Pinehurst Golf Academy can work for you?

It’s still working for Kris, who sent us this e-mail on Tuesday:

I may have had a long way to go, but I believe of (those at the school), I probably improved the most; certainly got the most out of it! I truly enjoyed every aspect.

The program is fantastic – Eric and his staff are incredible! The instruction and drills are phenomenal. I use one of the putting drills every time I am on the practice green.

I have tried my best, and with some success I believe, to suggest the Academy to anyone visiting Pinehurst. You may run into my wife and I this spring!

So, How is the Lunge? I played a week ago with our graphic artist, and he reports 2 lunges, both off the tee with driver! He also reports 2 mini lunges when I was trying to get more distance than I am capable, 1 with a 3 wood, one with a 22-degree hybrid.

Since Pinehurst, and since my Titleist irons that I ordered at the Academy arrived, my “comfort” and “confidence” has increased tremendously! That is a real gift, to stand over the ball and think “just like the last one” instead of “oh damn…just don’t hit another one like the last one.” Trust me, it makes the game much easier to love! All in all, I am a huge fan of the Pinehurst Golf Academy, and not only did I kick the lunge back down the road, but I am renewed, refreshed, and honestly ready for more! Out with the lunge, in with comfort and confidence!

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