Pinehurst News

Pianist Gary Brown keeps tradition alive in the Carolina Dining Room

As a second-grader Gary Brown knew exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up – a piano player.

While most kids dream of being an astronaut or President of the United States, Gary’s idol was closer to home. He wanted to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps.

Robert Murphy delighted guests in the Carolina Dining Room with his music for three decades before being diagnosed with cancer. He passed away in 2012, but his memory lives on thanks to his family.

You see, Gary isn’t the only member of the Murphy family who plays at Pinehurst. His uncle, Paul Murphy, has been known to take on dinner shifts when he’s not busy at his church.

Gary was just a freshman at Pinecrest High School when he started playing at the Carolina, but piano wasn’t his primary instrument. Instead, he played the drums as part of a trio featuring the Murphy family.

I’ve been playing here for almost 13 years now and it seems like I just started yesterday,” Gary said. “There’s never a dull moment and I love what I do. When I come here, I don’t feel like it’s work at all.”Gary2WEB

It didn’t take long for him to graduate to the piano. After all, he’s been playing as long as he’s been walking.

“The piano just drew me near,” he said. “Every time I was around it, I would go and play.”

Gary took piano lessons, but his grandfather helped him hone his skills.

It was Robert Murphy who introduced him to musicians like Beethoven, Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. He also instilled in Gary the value of hard work.

“My grandfather always taught me about providing a service and being able to do your best, have integrity and letting your work speak for itself,” he said. “I’ve always tried to carry that on.”

When Gary isn’t playing in the Carolina Dining Room, he’s busy tuning and cleaning pianos, skills he learned from his grandfather. His lessons got underway in 2006 when he was just a junior in high school.

“He was grooming me to take over the family business,” Gary said.

Gary plans to pass his love of music on to his son, Gary Jr., and daughter, Kaelyn.

“My son cries for the keyboard,” Gary said. “I bought him a baby recliner, and when I put the keyboard in front of him, he just plays and plays.”

Kaelyn, who is 5 years old, is more interested in vocal music.

“She’s has an absolutely beautiful voice,” Gary said.

 Click here to read more about Gary and his family.

Gary is available for private events, as well as piano cleaning and tuning. Contact him through his website

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Veterans Day Flyover of Pinehurst No. 2

Our tremendous thanks to all veterans this Veterans Day, and especially to the Veterans Golfers Association, which was honored on Pinehurst No. 2 with a flyover of the 18th green at 1100 hours sharp.

Here is more information from VGA founder Josh Peyton, who appeared on The Golf Channel’s Morning Drive.

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Pinehurst’s Bob Farren talks water conservation on Morning Drive


It’s Water Week on the Golf Channel’s Morning Drive and Bob Farren, our director of grounds and golf course maintenance,  appeared Tuesday to talk about water conservation at Pinehurst.

“I think it’s certainly a situation for the entire golf industry …,” he told Matt Ginella. “The restoration that we did with (Pinehurst) No. 2 was really about restoring the strategy and the net result of that was a reduced water footprint. Every increase or improvement  we had made over the past 50 years involved adding water, that was a common denominator. When we started to restore it, we took away the water.”

Bob shares his thoughts starting at 2:07, but we recommend watching the entire clip as Jim Moore, director of the USGA’s Green Section; Craig Kessler, director of governmental affairs for the Southern California Golf Association; and Dana Lonn, managing director of Toro’s Center of Technology, also weigh in.

Pinehurst No. 2, which hosted the back-to-back U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open last year, received Golf Digest’s 2014 Green Star Award for Outstanding Environmental Practices.

No. 2 was honored with the award because it has “implemented water reduction programs in startling and instructive ways.” In 2014, in fact, Pinehurst No. 2 used about 73 percent less water than in 2009 – the last full year prior to the beginning of a major restoration project that eliminated Bermuda rough and reintroduced sand and native wiregrass.

The restoration project sought to return the course to the playing conditions created by Donald Ross in the 1930s, around the time when the course hosted its first major championship and when it began to be regarded as one of the premier layouts in the country. That included restoring a single-line sprinkler system in the fairways and reducing the total number of irrigation heads to 450 from about 1,100.

Click here to learn more.

Check out Morning Drive on Wednesday morning for an in-depth look at the water conservation on Pinehurst No. 2.

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A wrong turn, perhaps?

We can’t fault Greg Greksa for being excited. It looks like a perfect day, and he hit a perfect shot. And it’s a moment that’s definitely worth memorializing on Twitter.

That said, perhaps Greg’s thumbs got a little ahead of him.

And, well, we couldn’t help but respond:

Of course, we weren’t the only ones.


That said, we have an offer for Greg:

We hope to see him soon. And we’ll be happy to throw in a tour of Pinehurst.

Just leave the ball retriever at home. You won’t need it on Pinehurst No. 2. (Well, unless you top your drive on 16…)

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Golf at Pinehurst, through the eyes of a 3rd-grader

Mimi Cook is 8 years old and a 3rd-grader in Virginia. And one of her favorite places in the world is…


Check it out (Click the photo to enlarge it):


OK, a few things we absolutely LOVE about Mimi’s great story:

  1. Mimi has a very high opinion of her dad’s game. Wait until she starts beating him…
  2. We agree about the waffles. They are delish. The Carolina Hotel Breakfast Buffet is the best.
  3. Judging from her story, Mimi is a little kid who doesn’t mind getting up early in the morning to golf. How great is that?
  4. Look at how happy Mimi is that her dad made the putt on 18. Go ahead and grab a tissue. We’ll wait.
  5. “I had so much fun playing golf with my dad.” (Grab another tissue…)

Mimi is one of our good friends at Pinehurst, and her family visits often. In fact, once upon a time, her dad proposed to her mom on the 18th green of Pinehurst No. 2.

Mimi, even at just 8 years old, is becoming quite the little golfer. She came with her dad to the U.S. Women’s Open here and is his frequent playing partner. She’s also the kid in one of our all-time favorite photos of Payne at Pinehurst:


Thanks, Mimi, for being one of the very reasons why we all feel Pinehurst is so special.


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