Pinehurst Golf News Archive

Kelly Mitchum wins his 4th Carolinas PGA Championship

Kelly Mitchum Carolinas PGA

Pinehurst Resort’s Kelly Mitchum holds the trophy after winning his fourth Carolinas PGA Professional Championship late Thursday evening in Charleston, S.C.

Pinehurst Golf Academy instructor has been Carolinas Section Player of the Year four times

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Low Country has been good to Pinehurst Resort’s Kelly Mitchum.

Just three weeks after competing in the PGA Championship on The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, S.C., Mitchum won the Carolinas PGA Professional Championship for the fourth time late Thursday evening at the Beresford Creek Golf Course at the Daniel Island Club.

“I played well and it has been several years since I have won a major,” said Mitchum. “It feels good to be back in the winner’s circle.

Mitchum, 41, a lead instructor at the Pinehurst Golf Academy, won the event with an 11-under-par total of 133, beating Wilmington’s Billy Anderson by two shots. Fellow Pinehurst professional Todd Camplin, the head pro at Pinehurst No. 7, finished at 6 under to finish in a tie for sixth.

Mitchum, who finished second in the 2012 PGA Professional National Championship to earn his fourth berth into the PGA earlier this month, had already secured a return trip to the 2013 PGA National Championship. He has also earned a berth in either of two PGA Tour events next year – the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head Golf Links or the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro.

Mitchum last won the Carolinas PGA in 2006, with additional victories in 2002 and 2004. He has been named the Carolinas Section Player of the Year four times (2004-07).

Inclement weather forced the Carolinas championship to be shortened to 36 holes. But there was no catching Mitchum, who made seven birdies and no bogeys on his way to a 7-under 65 in the first round, sharing the lead. He was nearly as good Thursday despite dodging torrential rains – the course was dumped with 1.7 inches of rain before the final round, delaying Mitchum’s start until mid-afternoon – recording five birdies against just one bogey.

“It was crazy with the weather the way it was with so many delays. We didn’t know if we were going to get even 36 holes in,” Mitchum said.

Mitchum, who won $8,000 for the victory, made par or better on a staggering 97.2 percent of the holes he played in the championship, easily leading the field. He averaged a score of 3.7 on par 4s, also tops in the tournament.

Camplin, who was one shot off the Carolinas lead after a 6-under 66 in the first round, won the Carolinas PGA Championship in 2010. He also earns a bid back to the PGA National Championship, which he has competed in the last few years. Camplin finished among the top 20 and played in the 2011 PGA Championship.

The 46thPGA Professional National Championship will be played June 23-26, 2013, at the Sunset Resort in Oregon and feature both the Crosswater Club and Meadows Golf Course.

The 95th PGA Championship will be played from Aug. 8-11, 2013, at Oak Hill Country Club.

The Carolinas PGA Section is the largest of the PGA’s 41 sections with nearly 2,000 professional members located in North and South Carolina.

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Thistle Dhu – History rekindled at Pinehurst with naming of new putting course

Thistle Dhu Pinehurst

Thistle Dhu — Pinehurst history lives on.

James Barber, owner of the Barber Steamship Links of New York, built his home, Thistle Dhu, in Pinehurst in 1919. On its grounds, he constructed the first miniature golf course in America. The story goes that upon first seeing the home and course, he pronounced, “This’ll Do.” It was translated into Thistle Dhu and the name stuck.

Nearly a century later, the name returns once more, and it does so at its rightful home of Pinehurst.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/GM35uDhburE]Welcome back to Thistle Dhu.*

* (WATCH THISTLE DHU – THE VIDEO.)

While the restoration of famed Pinehurst No. 2 continues to grab the headlines as the clock counts down to the historic back-to-back U.S. Opens in 2014, everyone who has played at Pinehurst knows the legendary locale’s true identity stems from Donald Ross’ iconic turtleback greens.

At times those greens can be harrowing, but Pinehurst Resort has forged a new way to make them fun while paying homage to yet another note of golf history linked to Pinehurst. Near the first tee to Pinehurst No. 4, visit and play Thustle Dhu, a new putting course like few in the world.

The original Thistle Dhu — America’s first miniature golf course, which was built in Pinehurst in 1919.

Calling to mind the legendary Himalayas Course at The Old Course in St. Andrews, Thistle Dhu features 18 holes of mind-bending journeys designed to entertain everyone in the family, from the golfing beginner to the scratch player and everyone in between.

We think the Putter Boy will approve.

Nearly 100 names were suggested as part of Pinehurst’s naming contest, with Andrew Stilwell and John Gessner each nominating “Thistle Dhu.” After careful consideration of all the names by Pinehurst Resort, Thistle Dhu was chosen as the winner.

The course will enjoy its first play on Friday following play in the Pinehurst Member-Guest Tournament. A regular schedule for its opening is upcoming.

The beginning:

Thistle Dhu Pinehurst early

The beginning…

Today:

Thistle Dhu Pinehurst

…Today

The course will be free to play and available for resort guest play each day. It will be closed Monday and Thursday mornings for maintenance.

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Pinehurst Podcast with David Feherty

David Feherty is well known for his sharp wit, whether it’s on the golf broadcast for CBS, or on his acclaimed show, Feherty, on the Golf Channel.

But what may not be as well known is Feherty’s charitable side, which was evident in a moving speech on behalf of the Linden Lodge Foundation in Pinehurst. Feherty also took time to speak with Pinehurst Resort in advance of his speech, discussing the restoration of Pinehurst No. 2, why it’s in good hands with Ben Crenshaw and how the Open will play differently in 2014 than we’ve seen in the past. Feherty also spoke passionately about mental illness awareness and his organization, Feherty’s Troops First Foundation. And you don’t want to miss his comments on what makes Pinehurst special.

Please be advised that there is some strong language in this podcast. We pick up with Feherty’s thoughts on Ben Crenshaw and Pinehurst No. 2.

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Coore and Crenshaw provide update on Pinehurst No. 2 restoration

Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, whose firm oversaw the restoration of Pinehurst No. 2 in preparation for the back-to-back U.S. Opens in 2014, took a moment on Aug. 15, 2012, while visiting Pinehurst Resort to discuss the maturation of the famed Donald Ross masterpiece since its restoration.

There is a lot of interesting information from the two here, including their contact with the USGA, what they were looking for in this visit, how the Pinehurst Opens will differ from any other Open in history, and thoughts on how No. 2 will play when it is firm and fast. Both Coore and Crenshaw believe the restoration is perfectly in line with not only what the USGA is looking for in 2014, but with what legendary designer Donald Ross intended when he originally put his lifelong touches on No. 2.

Please enjoy, and feel free to leave your comments below.

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Under Construction — Pinehurst’s dazzling new short game practice area

Construction on Pinehurst’s new short game area is under way.

Before August, Pinehurst Resort already had one of the best golf practice facilities in the world.

Soon, it will be even better.

Anyone who has stepped foot onto the Resort Club the last few days couldn’t have helped to notice the large project currently in progress. Three large dump trucks hauled dirt early last week around what was formerly the 18th green of Pinehurst No. 1 while that green and the small chipping green behind it were stripped.

The small chipping green, used primarily for green research before, will be enlarged.

It’s all part of a project to expand and redesign the practice area. The smaller chipping green, which was being used as part of a multiyear plan for the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP), will be enlarged to about 3,000 square feet. The whole area affected and improved will be close to an acre when it’s completed.

Formerly the 18th green for Pinehurst No. 1, the green will be the focal point of improvements to an already state-of-the-art practice facility.

The old 18th green will also be enlarged and reconfigured to resemble a green from Pinehurst No. 2, with a turtleback construction and closely mown areas around and below. Several bunkers will also be added, and the firm of Coore and Crenshaw, which restored No. 2 in advance of the historic back-to-back U.S. Opens at Pinehurst in 2014, will add the unique touches of sandy areas and wiregrass in and around the new practice area.

The new short game area will likely be open in early October. The greens will be built with Penn A1/A4 Bentgrass – the same as Pinehurst No. 2.

When the views are great even for practice, well, that’s what makes Pinehurst special.

“It will have a taste of No. 2,” said Bob Farren, Pinehurst’s director of golf course and grounds management. “Those who come out to enjoy Pinehurst may not always get to play No. 2. But with this practice area, they’ll be able to get a real appreciation for what No. 2 is like.”

The practice area will likely get plenty of attention from U.S. Open participants. With plans to have the driving range near the tees of No. 3 and No. 5 – the same area it was for the 2005 Open – participants will be able to approach the short game area and the putting green without being disturbed by spectators.

But Pinehurst members and guests will get their shot at the new area well before then.

Here are a few more photos from the first days of construction:

Hauling dirt in for upgrades and expansion.

The small chipping green.

Expanding what used to be the 18th green on Pinehurst No. 1 for a new short game practice area.

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