On the back cover of Kenneth Boyd’s marvelous book, ‘The Pinehurst Country Club: A Historical Journey through the House at American’s Golf Capital,” he writes:
“Since 1898, Pinehurst, North Carolina, has been the foundation of golf in America. The Pinehurst Country Club, which serves its members and resort guests in the finest traditions of golf, has been the catalyst for the growth of five world-class courses that begin and end at its doors. The physical presence of the clubhouse has evolved from a modest two-story structure built for enjoying the new sport of golf to the expansive gathering of seamless architecture, which has become a recognizable emblem known world-wide.”
The clubhouse – in particular, the Pinehurst Country Club Members Club – continues to enjoy architectural enhancements. In late November, construction began on a $3.7 million renovation project that will transform the Members Club and provide dramatic new views off the East Veranda, a stunning backdrop for the walk up the 18th hole of famed Pinehurst No. 2, and several other amenities. By Spring 2013, the exterior will feature the stately columns and arches the South Veranda famously added with the clubhouse renovation by Lyman Syse in 1922.
The video above takes you on the 115-year journey of the many faces of Pinehurst’s golfing home. What follows are a few notes about each image you see in the video.
1898 Original Clubhouse
While there is evidence the clubhouse was built in 1898, the first description of it can be found in the Nov. 3, 1899, edition of The Pinehurst Outlook. That description tells of a “well-furnished reception room” upon entering that took up half of the first floor. Large windows on three sides “admit an abundance of light” and an open fireplace offered warmth on cool days. A men’s locker room was in one small room, as was another room for a golf professional “who has charge of the links.” There was also a small women’s dressing room.
And Pinehurst’s trademark verandas were in place from the very beginning, with a wrap-around porch covered by a second-story observation used for viewing.
1900 was an important year to Pinehurst’s history – founder James Walker Tufts hired Donald Ross to manage golf at Pinehurst Country Club. That same year, the clubhouse was enlarged during the summer and a large room, running north and south, was added to the east side of the building, creating space for additional locker rooms.
The club was growing, thanks in no small part to reigning British Open champion Harry Vardon’s sparkling review of the club that appeared in several newspapers in March 1900.
Again, due to demand, the clubhouse was expanded in 1903, the same year Donald Ross applied to the USGA so sanctioned tournaments could be played at Pinehurst. Tennis courts were added near the front of the clubhouse. “The Golf Club House has been increased to nearly twice its capacity,” The Pinehurst Outlook noted. “A fifteen-foot piazza extends around three sides and a twenty-two-foot balcony opens up from the observatory room on the second floor and extends around three sides with a seven-foot width at the north.”
Also added – larger and more stylized square columns and a decorative railing on both floors. A small one-story golf and caddie shop was also built.
1910, 2-Story Locker Room Addition
From The Early Season Edition of The Pinehurst Outlook:
“The locker room has been carried up two stories, forming an enclosed porch overlooking the courses, and the interior finished and metallic lockers installed, and a cement terrace built at the south side of the Club house.”
Without color film available, hand-colored postcards were developed to suggest the exterior colors of the clubhouse.
1916, View from the 1st Tee of No. 2
The clubhouse had to grow with the growing demand of golf, and now with three full golf courses and nine holes of Pinehurst No. 4, another expansion was clearly needed. “The long demanded and anticipated new golf house is now a reality,” The Pinehurst Outlook reported. “All finished and painted and awaiting the cohorts. And it is a beauty.”
The new clubhouse offered three times the lounging space of the old club, with a large dining room and a modern kitchen. The upstairs of the old club was refitted as quarters for women, and a new wing was constructed – forming an L-shaped clubhouse.
“The new wing, which now constitutes the principal part of the club house, is of substantial stucco construction and red tile roof…designed to be part of an imposing and beautiful building,” observed The Pinehurst Outlook.
1922 South Veranda and Golf Shop
This was the expansion and renovation that gives Pinehurst its trademark South Veranda today. Leonard Tufts noted in November 1921: “There is so much complaint about the wooden clubhouse now, however, that I have absolutely got to put up something next summer.”
He did, and it was breathtaking.
The Spanish revival-inspired southern façade instantly became the most distinctive aspect of the clubhouse, from the graceful columns to the terraced porches to the red brick steps that are still featured 90 years later.
“The broad mezzanine gallery that runs around three sides of the Lounge ss surely destined to become one of the most popular sports of the whole clubhouse,” wrote Edwin A. Denham for The Pinehurst Outlook in November 1922.
In all, for the second time since its inception, the Pinehurst clubhouse was enlarged by three times the size of its previous incarnation.
1922, 18th Hole of No. 2
A new golf and caddy shop were designed for the famed Lyman Syse 1922 renovation, also tripling its size from the previous work done in 1913.
Golf enjoyed another boom in popularity following the end of World War II, and more attention was given to the clubhouse. In the summer of 1947, the men’s and women’s locker rooms were enlarged. In 1952, four years following the death of Donald Ross, a new golf shop was built.
1958 Locker Room Addition
In 1958, Pinehurst, Inc., built a new wing to house updated men’s and women’s locker rooms and showers, also building a basement to store clubs and mechanical equipment. The terrace was also extended to the east.
The addition was so large that the 18th green of Pinehurst No. 2 was moved. A year later, the first golf carts were introduced at the country club, almost a decade after other resorts. But being gas-powered models, they could not be stored inside buildings.
Pinehurst Resort, home to back-to-back U.S. Opens in 2014, has hosted more single golf championships than anywhere else in America. In 1996, Pinehurst was designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior. This designation included the entire historic district of the Village of Pinehurst to include the country club and the five golf courses.
East Veranda, Members Club Spring 2013
Pinehurst Resort & Country Club announced in November the beginning of a $3.7 million renovation of the Member Clubhouse, the first phase of a multi-year plan to improve and expand the member experience. The renovation will include an interior redesign and dramatic architectural improvements to the rear veranda overlooking Pinehurst No. 2.
The comprehensive improvements to the building will result in:
- More dramatic views. The current green awnings will be removed and the roofline extended to reveal stunning views of Pinehurst No. 2. The removal of the awnings will increase natural lighting and reveal tree line and Carolina blue skies that were previously obscured. The effect will be dramatic and impactful immediately on entering the main lobby.
- An expanded dining experience. Á la Carte dining, previously provided on special occasions only, will now be offered for lunch and dinner. The member dining room and bar will be relocated to overlook the 18th green of No. 2 and will feature outdoor seating on the 16,000 square foot veranda. A floor-to-ceiling fireplace will provide a natural separation between the public and member areas of the veranda while continuing to allow walking flow.
- Architectural symmetry. White columns, stately arches and a bronze roof will replace the awnings around the East Veranda. Upon completion, golfers on the 18th fairway of No. 2 will see a clubhouse aesthetic inspired by the architecture of the picturesque South Veranda, which was completed in 1922.
- Aesthetic improvements. The club will be completely redecorated with new furniture, fixtures and carpeting. A new elevator will now provide access to all three floors of the building and the redesigned grand staircase will provide a stunning backdrop for weddings and other events.