Pinehurst News

Rick-ie! Rick-ie! Rick-ie!

It’s been a tremendous year for golf already in 2015, especially in recent weeks after the Jordan Speith love affair and the Rory McIlroy reaffirmation.

And now, Rickie.

That’s a great video by the PGA TOUR, and it pretty much sums up what we all witnessed on Sunday. We had a fun day on Twitter during the final round of The Players Championship, and judging by the engagement with our followers, so did everyone else. And, we can’t lie….we liked seeing Rickie win, obviously.

Hello, Golf.

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Solomon Trophy competition underway at Pinehurst

The croquet equivalent of the Ryder Cup is taking place at Pinehurst this weekend.

The Solomon Trophy, which pits the United States against Great Britain, is being held at the main clubhouse through Monday.

Six of the best players from each country take part in the competition, which includes 12 doubles and nine singles matches. The winner of each match is awarded one point. The first to reach 11 becomes the champion.

Four of the players representing the U.S. live right here in North Carolina.

“You’d never know it, but North Carolina is a hotbed for croquet, which is kind of an oxymoron,” said Tournament Director Mike Taylor, a member of the Pinehurst Croquet Club.

This year marks the 22rd time the match has been played since its inception in 1985 and the first time it’s been hosted at Pinehurst. The United States has won just twice.

“The British team has dominated to say the least,” Taylor said.

It’s not hard to see why the Brits are so good at croquet. The sport was born on the British Isles during the mid-19th century. The United States Croquet Association wasn’t formed until 1977 even though the sport has long been a popular American pastime.

“Here in the United States pretty much every country club is built around golf,” Taylor said. “They have a few of those in Britain, but most of the country clubs there are built around croquet, so people start playing at a young age.”

David Maugham, a member of the British team, picked up the sport when he was a preteen.

“Historically, (the Solomon Trophy) was a way to developing the game in America,” he said. “There wasn’t a huge pool of players at first, so we dominated for the first 20 years because of that disparity.”

But as the game has gained popularity in America, its teams have continued to get better.

“Croquet still isn’t a huge sport in this country, but it’s a lot bigger than people realize,” said Taylor, who has been playing for seven years. “It’s a really great game.”

Maugham, a 30 year veteran of the sport, is drawn to the mental aspect of croquet.

“I quite like the fact that the game is more about playing yourself than it is about playing the opponent,” he said. “It has a healthy tactical element in that you have to think about where you want to balls to go so it’s most advantageous to you and least advantageous to your opponent.”

Pete Trimmer, another British player, enjoys the complexity of the game.

“It’s got a really good balance between physical, tactical and psychological skills,” he said. “There’s arguably no better mix of those three in any other game.”

Croquet is offered to all Pinehurst members. The club plays at 9 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They teach clinics to those interested in joining Saturdays at 10 a.m.

Meet the Solomon Trophy Players.

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“Fairways of Life” broadcasts from Pinehurst

Matt Adams brought his popular morning show “Fairways of Life” to Pinehurst this week, but if you don’t have SiriusXM radio (or you’re not an early riser) you may have missed it.

Thankfully, the good folks at the show have been kind enough to share the audio from the two-day broadcast.

Adams, the host, conducted interviews with some of Pinehurst’s best, including:

Take a listen. We think you’ll discover some interesting tidbits about Pinehurst that you didn’t know before.

Be sure to follow @PinehurstResort on Twitter throughout the weekend for a chance to win a pin flag used during the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst.

If you have SiriusXM radio and want to start listening to the show on a regular basis, “Fairways of Life” airs from 7 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio. Channels are Sirius 208 and XM 93. Those who don’t have a satellite radio subscription can listen at www.Back9Network.com.

Listen to previous interviews here and be sure to follow Adams on Twitter to find out who he’ll be talking to each day.

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Meet Pinehurst’s tiniest fan

BabyHill2

Robert Hill Jr was born March 8, 2015 in Ontario, Canada to Pinehurst members Rob and Julie Hill.

It’s clear Julie and Rob Hill love Pinehurst.

Some of the first photographs ever taken of their new son, Rob Hill Jr., included the adorable baby dressed in Pinehurst garb.

The couple lives in Ontario, Canada, but Julie said they travel to Pinehurst “every chance we get.”

They visited Pinehurst for the first time as a pair back in 2009. Rob had been to the Resort before, but it was a new experience for his future wife.

“I absolutely fell in love with the place the second I laid eyes on the beautiful pines on Midland Road,” Julie said.

During their stay, the couple played Pinehurst No. 2 with the assistance of caddie Russell Bauer, who they remain friends with to this day.

“Our son was even born on the same day as Russell’s daughter, Harper,” Julie said. “It’s so sweet that our children share a birthday just two years apart.”

BabyHill1

Rob and Julie Hill love Pinehurst so much, they decided to make it part of the first portraits of their son, Rob Jr.

The Hills became Pinehurst members in March 2012.

“On one of our many visits to Pinehurst I was sitting in the rocking chairs overlooking the 18th (of Pinehurst No. 2) and had an amazing conversation with a current member…,” Julie said. “He suggested we buy property in Pinehurst and we did just that. One day when life allows, we plan to build our Pinehurst home and make it our permanent residence.”

The couple looks forward to making more memories at Pinehurst even though they already have enough to last a lifetime.

“If you ask Rob the best time of his life he, without hesitation will say the U.S Opens in Pinehurst 2014,” Julie said. “It was an amazing experience.”

When it came time to take Rob Jr.’s first portraits, the Hills knew they wanted to include Pinehurst.

“Pinehurst is the most special place in the world to us,” Julie said. “When we aren’t on the courses we love to ride the Carolina bikes through the Village, sit on the Carolina veranda, watch the 18th green from the rocking chairs, have drinks at the Pine Crest and eat dinner at Dugan’s.

“We cannot wait until August when we will be taking Lil Rob to Pinehurst for the first time.”

BabyHill5

Pinehurst members Julie and Rob Hill pose with their new son, Rob Jr., hours after he was born. The first hat Rob Jr. wore was from Pinehurst.

 

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Willie McRae and Jackie Burke, together again

There are just two participants from the 1951 Ryder Cup at Pinehurst still living. One of them is Hall-of-Famer Jackie Burke, who at 92 years old, is still active in golf.

The other is Hall-of-Fame caddie Willie McRae, who is still looping at Pinehurst.

On Tuesday, the two spoke, likely for the first time in more than 60 years.

Burke, a two-time major champion who initially rose to fame with two lopsided victories in the United States’s triumph over Great Britain and Ireland in 1951, has been a longtime mentor for 1995 PGA Champion Steve Elkington. On Tuesday, Elk was in Pinehurst for his television show, Secret Golf, to do a feature on Willie. Moments after finishing up a chat with Willie on Pinehurst’s Maniac Hill, Elk got a phone call. It was Burke.

Elkington, telling Burke he had someone he wanted Burke to speak with, handed the phone to Willie. Elk’s crew quickly turned the camera back on, and while our audio isn’t great – and unfortunately  nobody thought at the time to put Burke on speaker – we still feel like we captured a pretty special moment in golf history. You can hear the joy in Willie’s voice, and based on his side of the conversation, you get a pretty good idea of what Burke had to say to Pinehurst’s legendary caddie.

We caught another nice moment earlier in the day when Willie decided to sing a gospel tune for Elk and the crew:

 

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