By Alex Podlogar

With everyone else concerned about the present, Bob Dedman Jr. was thinking about the future.

Early Wednesday morning, just under 100 Pinehurst Resort employees and guests from the community traced their footprints over sand and pinestraw packed and puddled by a morning thunderstorm, arriving at the first tee of Pinehurst No. 10 with umbrellas in hand and loaded clouds lofted above.

Dedman, though, was holding a driver. If Pinehurst’s CEO was showing any nerves, he didn’t betray them. He was about to be announced as the first of three to strike a ceremonial tee shot to officially open Pinehurst’s newest course, No. 10, designed by famed architect Tom Doak.

President Tom Pashley, CEO Bob Dedman Jr., and Golf Course Maintenance Manager Kevin RobinsonPresident Tom Pashley, CEO Bob Dedman Jr., and Golf Course Maintenance Manager Kevin Robinson

The skies had started to clear only a few minutes before, and the rain had suddenly stopped. How was anyone’s guess. Those in attendance had not only awoken to thunder and lightning against a night-black sky, they were still driving through it just to get to 1065 Sandmines Crossing, Aberdeen. The short ceremony planned was meant for Pinehurst to quietly celebrate opening its first original course in nearly 30 years. And the hope was for opening tee shots by Dedman, Pinehurst President Tom Pashley and Pinehurst Golf Course Maintenance Manager Kevin Robinson to happen just before the first golfers to play the course arrived to meet the starter for their 8 a.m. tee time.

Tom Doak’s Pinehurst No. 10 is now open in 2024, in what I think is one of Pinehurst’s most significant years. That makes today a very special day.
Tom Pashley

Yet, as the sun struggled to be seen or felt, pockets of Carolina blue began to break through the charcoal-colored wisps of clouds that streaked along the brisk morning breeze. Rain was still in the air and nostrils, for sure. Storms still threatened from the south and west. Trepidation still nagged at the surface of the PR guy’s psyche. Umbrellas for purchase were prominently featured by the register in the temporary clubhouse.

Dedman, though, calmly strode with a ball and tee in his right hand, comfortably crouched between the tee markers and set his stance. Fluidly, he struck a tee shot high and true – “I got it airborne,” he quipped, smiling. “That was enough for me.” The intimate crowd around him cheered and clapped.

Pinehurst No. 10, just 16 months after Doak broke ground, is open.

Present tense.

“Tom Doak’s Pinehurst No. 10 is now open in 2024, in what I think is one of Pinehurst’s most significant years,” said Pashley, moments before he blasted his tee shot and three months before the U.S. Open returns to Pinehurst. “That makes today a very special day.”

Hole 17 on Course No. 10 by Billy Richards - Carolina Pines GolfHole 17 on Course No. 10 by Billy Richards - Carolina Pines Golf

It also makes what’s to come a thrill to ponder. That’s where Dedman’s mind was as thunder lightly rumbled far off in the distance. He envisions the unlimited potential for the untamed and newly named Pinehurst Sandmines property, all 900 acres of it. No. 10 is a big (and bold) part of all of that, but not the only part.

“It’s hard not to get emotional about No. 10 opening,” Dedman said. “This is a special day. But, to me, it’s about the future of Pinehurst. I see good things to come here, and I feel like No. 10 is turning out to be even better than our wildest expectations.”

Over a decade ago, when Pinehurst No. 2 was restored to the native sandscapes and rugged wire grass roughs that Donald Ross originally intended, Dedman viewed the restoration decision as positioning Pinehurst for its next 100 years. The past would fuel its future. In the time since, it has set in motion a monumental era of evolution and restoration for the Resort. The Cradle. No. 4’s redesign. Pinehurst Brewing Co. Major and complete renovations of historic hotels. Anchor Site. More U.S. Opens. New restaurants. New rooms. New course. New vibes.

Some people think of Pinehurst in the past tense, as opposed to the transformation that’s taken place in the last 10 years. It’s really phenomenal.
Bob Dedman Jr.

Same soul at the heart of all of it.

“We want people to come here to connect with the soul of American golf and the spirit of Pinehurst, and I think that’s what this golf course really accomplishes,” Dedman said. “Some people think of Pinehurst in the past tense, as opposed to the transformation that’s taken place in the last 10 years. It’s really phenomenal.”

The transformation has been a thoughtful one.

“This is the culmination of a lot of years of patience,” Pashley said. “Pinehurst acquired a part of this land as far back as 2000, and I like to think we had a lot of restraint over the years to not do the wrong thing at the wrong time with this property. It’s the culmination of decades with a lot of vision, particularly of Bob Dedman.”

“I hope people come to love No. 10 as much as I do,” Dedman added. “I’ve been walking this land for almost 25 years, trying to figure out where and what kind of golf course could be here. And now to see it is just a really special moment for me and for Pinehurst.

“I’m just amazed at what’s happened here. It is bigger and bolder and more dramatic because of the natural land that is here. But the vision of Tom Doak and Angela Moser is really a special artistic ability, and we can see it here. Their talent is incredible.”

On this day, though, No. 10 rests in the players’ hands. Just as it will tomorrow, and the next day, and the next year, and so on. As the small crowd dispersed, their umbrellas still furled, the first groups of players began making their way toward the first tee. Dedman and Pashley waited to greet them, and to thank them for coming.

Hole 8 on Course No. 10 by Matt JuniorHole 8 on Course No. 10 by Matt Junior

“What’s really fun right now is that people are coming to play the golf course,” Pashley said. “It’s rewarding to hear about Pinehurst No. 10 in their words. We’ve been using our words for a long time, and now we’re getting to hear what other people have to say. We’re excited to open this course up to the world.”

And so as the first day began to wind down, players came off the 18th green. It was their time to reflect on Pinehurst’s most recent history.

“If I had to give one word, I’d say ‘Immaculate.’ If I had to give one sentence, I’d say, ‘There’s nothing like this place, No. 10,’” said Joseph Larkin. “Coming to Pinehurst a few times now, every course has a different, unique vibe. And I think No. 10 brought something that you don’t really see here. It presents challenges unlike any other course in Pinehurst.”

We’ve played every course at Pinehurst, but this one is definitely a special addition. People have to come check it out.
Chad Johnson

“What sets it apart, the easy answer is: just look at the 8th hole,” Larkin added. “And you don’t see elevation change like this at any other Pinehurst course.”

Smiles were plentiful among players coming off the 18th hole. They convened at the patio and “Maniac Grill” food truck for lunch following their rounds. The course is new and the current buildings are temporary. Here and there, one sees an occasional construction vehicle. So much more is to come in the months – and eventually, years – ahead.

But, all of that is for another day. At present, No. 10 is open.

“This alone was worth the trip,” said Brenden Mikulak, of Los Angeles, who paused before he went on, “and we’ve still got No. 2 tomorrow.”

The First Players on Course No. 10The First Players on Course No. 10