Pinehurst News

The Life as a Touring Pro – Pinehurst’s Darron Stiles

It’s not all glamour and big money and first class and luxury courtesy cars. The life as a touring golf pro can be demanding. It can rob you of valuable time with your family.

It can also bring you great rewards — depending on how well you play and how long you dedicate your life to it. For Pinehurst Country Club member Darron Stiles, he’s done both.

Stiles, who a few weeks ago won for the fifth time on the Tour (formerly the Nationwide Tour, which was formerly the Nike Tour, which was formerly the Hogan Tour — Stiles knows all these things), is that tour’s all-time leading money-winner. But even with more than 1.8 million in earnings, Stiles yearns to get back to the PGA Tour, where he has spent five seasons of the his 17-year professional career. Currently 10th on the Tour money list with seven events remaining in the 2012 season, Stiles has virtually assured himself of returning to the PGA Tour in 2013.

Recently, with Pinehurst No. 2’s famed 18th green behind him, Stiles took a few minutes to discuss his success on the Tour, the number of differences between the two tours, the toll the touring golf pro life can take and look ahead to what’s next for the rest of the golf season.

For more on Stiles’ season, go here and here.



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“Iron Chef” at Pinehurst

Pinehurst Resort Chefs Jay Hunter and Daniel DeFusco compete in an “Iron Chef” cook-off on the final day of the 24th Labor Day Food and Wine Festival at The Carolina Hotel. The two chefs were judged by festival guest chefs Damien Cavicchi (Biltmore Executive Chef) John Hui (Executive Pastry Chef, Pebble Beach Resorts) and Ruth Van Waerebeek (Executive Chef, Concha y Toro).

“One thing Pinehurst makes sure of is that when you are here, you are comfortable in a family setting,” says DeFusco. “Pinehurst is a giant family, and we just keep inviting more guests in to be a part of it.”

“It’s a team at Pinehurst,” says Hunter. “Even though it was a competition today, it’s a team.This winefest is not possible without (the patrons) and without the team. Hats off to the chefs this weekend. They did a phenomenal job.”

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Ken Dwyer faces life — and golf — head on

Ken Dwyer Pinehurst

Ken Dwyer


After losing a hand and an eye in Afghanistan, Dwyer had to re-learn golf


VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. – Aug. 19, 2006: The day everything changed for U.S. Army Capt. Ken Dwyer.

The Yakden Village in the Cahar Cinch region of the Uruzgan Province in Afghanistan. That’s where Dwyer was leading his team in a combined effort with the Afghan National Army (ANA) during combat operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Eight years later, it is a place Google Maps still can’t find.

In a flash, Dwyer’s team was ambushed by what the U.S. military calls an “Anti-Coalition Militia” force, and with far superior numbers, the militia pinned the ANA and U.S. Forces in a U-shaped ambush.

What happened next, in the terse script of a military citation:

Dwyer moved his vehicle through small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire to draw enemy fire and establish a support-by-fire position to provide relief for the pinned-down Soldiers. He then charged from his position to draw the attention of enemy fire to free the pinned-down forces. He continued to engage the enemy forces until friendly forces were again able to maneuver. Captain Dwyer returned to the position of the Operational Detachment 785 commander and assisted him in coordinating indirect fires. He then used various individual and vehicle-mounted weapons systems to fire into the enemy’s positions until he was critically injured by an air burst RPG.

On July 2, 2007, Dwyer was awarded the Silver Star for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action.”

He accepted the honor without his left hand and without his left eye.

*** … Continue Reading

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Thistle Dhu – The Video


Resort’s new putting course brings golf, history and fun together on 18 mind-bending holes

VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. – Charlie Godleski tried to size up the putt, but a wry smile and condescending chuckle were all he could muster.

He stood over the putt anyway, taking one last look at the line before settling in to his stance. One last shallow breath, and Godleski swing the putter head back.

He struck the ball cleanly, sending in on a sojourn unlike he had ever seen before on a putting green. The ball ambled down the slope, quickly picking up speed. How it was ever going to stop was anyone’s guess.

Godleski turned his body straight to watch the ball’s descent. Down and down and it went, still motoring pretty good. It fell into a large bowl-like area – the antithesis of Donald Ross’s famous turtleback greens – and glided past the cup, angling up the far side of the bowl’s slope beyond the hole.

The ball finally stopped, but only for the briefest of moments.

Then it began to roll back toward the hole.

Bernie Schultz, Godleski’s playing partner at the Pinehurst Country Club Member-Guest Tournament, had strolled following the ball’s path when Godleski had struck it. But now he stopped. The ball started a second descent, this time from behind the cup, angling toward the hole. Schultz raised his right arm into the air.

Could it go?

“Back door! Back door!” yelled a fellow putter from across the green.

“Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” yelled Schultz as the ball stopped once more, this time only inches from the cup.

“Gosh, where were you this morning?” Schultz quipped at Godleski, who could only laugh and shake his head. Then Schultz let him off the hook. “Well, we weren’t putting on greens like this.”

Welcome to Thistle Dhu.


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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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