Pinehurst News

Remembering Pinehurst caddie Charlie Spain

Charlie Spain looked fondly on this portrait of himself from a 2012 magazine spread about Pinehurst’s caddies, sharing it several times over the years on his Facebook page. We at Pinehurst are saddened to learn of Charlie’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: We will continue to add remembrances from Charlie’s friends to this post throughout the next few days. Please feel free to add comments below.)

We are terribly saddened to hear the news of the passing of veteran caddie Charlie Spain, who caddied at Pinehurst for more than two decades. He was 60.

Spain, who also caddied for several years at such notable places as Whistling Straits, garnered attention over the last couple of years as the inventor of the popular new putting grip, the Flat Cat. Released in March 2016, Olympic and U.S. Open champion Justin Rose has been using the grip, which was designed to help a player feel more square to the ball when putting.

The grip, with flat sides all around, allowed the golfer to have the feeling of being square to the ball in the palm of his or her hand. Spain noted: “When you can actually feel what square feels like, you’re gonna sink more putts. It’s that simple.”

“The caddie program at Pinehurst has lost a legend, Pinehurst Resort lost a person who has made thousands of guests enjoy their round on No. 2, and so many of us lost a friend. Old Charlie was a good soul, called off the grass too soon.” – Jeff Crabbe

While he enjoyed the growing popularity of the Flat Cat, Spain will most be remembered by his closest friends as a kind and gentle soul.

“Charlie was an original at Pinehurst, from the old school,” says former Pinehurst Golf Professional Jeff Crabbe. “He mentored so many of the current caddies, all working hard to live up to his example.

“Charlie was one of a couple caddies I would use when I got to play Pinehurst No. 2 because I enjoyed being with him, not for his knowledge of the course – which he knew like the back of his hand – but for our friendship. The caddie program at Pinehurst has lost a legend, Pinehurst Resort lost a person who has made thousands of guests enjoy their round on No. 2, and so many of us lost a friend. Old Charlie was a good soul, called off the grass too soon.”

Todd Camplin, a former Pinehurst golf professional who tabbed Spain to be his caddie when Camplin qualified for the PGA Championship, says he always leaned on Spain.

“Charlie and I first met in 2000 after I quit playing golf for a living and obtained a job as a caddie,” Camplin says. “He and I hit it off quickly as we both enjoyed playing the game in the afternoons/late evenings following work.  We played numerous rounds together then and through the years.

“Charlie caddied for me in two of the three PGA Tour events I played in, including the 2011 PGA Championship, as well as the only event I played. My brother caddied for me in the other PGA Tour event I played in, so you can see what kind of company I held Charlie in. He was also on the bag for each of my five starts in the PGA National Championship, most recently in 2016 at Turning Stone Resort in Verona, NY.

“We shared a lot of times together through the years and these events and both were always talking about our next venture together. He would always say to me, ‘Hey Pro, when we going back to the Show?’ I can hear him this very moment saying it to me in his raspy voice that is so recognizable.

“Charlie loved people and loved caddying. He will be missed by many, especially this guy, his pro.”

Fellow Pinehurst caddie Mark Tinnen remembers Spain as a mentor.

“He took me under his wing when I first started caddying at Pinehurst, and never left my side,” Tinnen says. “We became inseparable. We caddied all the time and played just as much golf together. I’ll always remember him as a fierce competitor, but also as a dear, dear friend.”

Spain passed away on Thursday in Kohler, Wisconsin. He is survived by his wife and son. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time.

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PODCAST: No Laying Up visits Pinehurst

We were happy to host some of the crew from No Laying Up recently, but were especially pleased to hear how much they enjoyed their first Pinehurst experience via their travel podcast this week. Take a listen as #TourSauce, well, returned to Pinehurst, only in amateur form.

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Seeing Donald Ross

IT’S A “STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES” KIND OF MOMENT. But instead of that turn of phrase, something that can happen when walking around Pinehurst, especially for the golfer, is a “stop and see Donald Ross” kind of moment.

It happened to us on Thursday when walking around Pinehurst No. 1, which Ross redesigned after his arrival at Pinehurst at the turn of the 20th century. Standing on the tee of the 218-yard par-3 12th hole (the number of the hole has changed over the years), it hits you – THIS is Donald Ross.

While it’s about a different hole on a different Pinehurst course, author Chris Buie explains here what you see before you so often on Pinehurst No. 1, and especially the 12th:

An example of how Ross brought so much personality to his courses can be found on a par-3 on Pinehurst No. 3.
The uphill 14th is not your standard par-3. In the days of hickory clubs, it played 208 yards to a green placed at the top of a fairly sharp hill. No one but the ace player was expected to reach the green with their drive. But Ross never forgot the shorter player. There is ample room for a tee shot left of the green leaving a short pitch. Like many of golf’s finest holes (such as the 13th of Augusta), it is essentially a “half-par hole”.

As you can see, the 12th on No. 1 has many of the same characteristics, just with plenty of room to the right in this example. It’s pure Donald Ross.

And it’s good to be reminded that we get to see Mr. Ross every day.

(Editor’s Note: We know what Lee means here: “Looks good in sepia as well.” But it’s also great to see how little the hole has changed since this vintage photo was taken.

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Hendley edges Simson in playoff to win 66th Senior North & South Amateur

Todd Hendley wins the 66th Senior Men’s North & South Amateur Championship at Pinehurst.

VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, North Carolina – Even Todd Hendley wanted to see history made again.

Perhaps even at the expense of making it himself.

Hendley, a multiple South Carolina Senior Amateur champion who qualified for the U.S. Senior Open this year, defeated the most decorated champion in Pinehurst history, Paul Simson, on the first hole of sudden death to win the 66th Senior Men’s North & South Amateur on Wednesday on Pinehurst No. 2.

“Paul is such a great player, and I kind of hated to see him not win because you really want to see him keep going here,” Hendley said.

“But since he already has the record, I guess I don’t feel so bad,” he quipped.

Hendley, of Greenville, South Carolina, earned it, though. Despite opening the third and final round with back-to-back bogeys, Hendley recovered quickly, making birdies on the next three holes. After a par on the par-3 6th, Hendley added two more birdies on 7 and 8.

That put Hendley, who started the day two shots back of 36-hole leaders Simson and Walter Todd, right into contention. He added another birdie at 12 to finish with a 68 and a 7-under total of 209.

“Seven under in Pinehurst,” Hendley said, looking at the scoreboard. “I can’t play any better than that.”

The score tied the steady Simson, who, with eight wins lifetime in the North & South Men’s Amateur and the Senior North & South, is the all-time winningest player in Pinehurst history. Simson, though, needed a deft up-and-down from long and left of the 18th green to save par and force the playoff.

Back on 18 for the playoff, Hendley drove it long down the left side of the fairway. Simson, though, pushed his drive into the native area on the right, his ball settling in a wire grass bush. He punched out from there, but his ball came to rest against another wire grass bush in the bunker left of the green.

Simson made a beautiful shot to 8 feet from that spot, but his putt slid past the right edge of the cup. A delicate two-putt from about 50 feet gave Hendley the championship.

“This is pretty cool,” said Hendley. “To think my name is going up there with all of the great players who have won this championship, that’s pretty awesome.”

The 60th Senior Women’s North & South Amateur Championship also featured a playoff.

Mary Ann Hayward

Mary Ann Hayward, of St. Thomas, Ontario, birdied the first hole of sudden death to defeat two-time defending North & South champion – and fellow Canadian – Judith Kyrinis.

Hayward, who started the final round three shots back of Kyrinis, took the lead with a birdie on the 16th hole of Pinehurst No. 5 after Kyrinis failed to get up and down for par.

Playing the 18th hole a second time that day, Hayward made a beautiful approach shot to about 6 feet and made the putt to win the championship.

“The hole just fits my eye, and I was so happy to play it again for the playoff,” Hayward said. “I was able to curl in a little right-to-left putt. Yeah, that was pretty yummy.”

Winning at Pinehurst is special to the Canadian Golf Hall of Famer.

“This has been on the bucket list for a long time,” she said. “It’s one thing to see the history on TV, like when you watch the Opens. But to be here and experience it, it’s amazing.”

Robert Hess, of Casselberry, Florida, won the Super Senior Men’s North & South Amateur Championship with a three-day total of even-par 216, winning by four shots over Evan Long, of Charlotte.

Mimi Hoffman, of Springfield, Virginia, won the Super Senior Women’s North & South Amateur Championship by two shots over Beatriz Arenas, of Guatemala.



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Chef Katie Button is a rising star, and this is your chance to be a part of it

Katie Button, the owner and executive chef of two of Asheville’s hottest spots, Curate and Nightbell, certainly has an interesting and inspiring backstory. Before becoming a James Beard Award-nominated chef, Button earned a chemical engineering degree from Cornell before beginning to study in a PhD program for neuroscience.

It was then she realized that wasn’t the path for her.

But the process still helped.

“(Cooking in the kitchen) connected a lot with my science background,” Button says. “It is run like a lab. Every recipe that I was making used a scale. Everything is detailed to the finite measurement. You’re writing down exactly what’s going in it at exact quantities so you get a consistent product and it turns out the same every time.”

And that’s the payoff that matters to Button.

“I get such great satisfaction from the guests that come in. That’s daily motivation. You make something, you serve it to somebody, and you see a smile.”

Button will be serving your smiles as the headlining chef at Pinehurst’s season finale of the its Chef & Maker series on Sept. 15-17. You don’t want to miss it.

Chef & Maker Weekend



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