Pinehurst No. 2 Reborn

Pinehurst Resort’s rejuvenated No. 2 course — host of both the men’s and women’s U.S. Opens in 2014 — is the heart of a bucolic North Carolina village known as the “Home of American Golf.”

 

Golf architect Donald Ross. (Image: Pinehurst Resort)

Like the adored founder of a religious cult, legendary golf architect Donald Ross remains a towering figure in Pinehurst more than six decades after his death.

Ross’s kindly, steel-spectacled likeness is given pride of place on the walls of hotels, restaurants and taverns throughout this bucolic village in the North Carolina sandhills.

But the iconic heart of the “Home of American Golf” is the life-sized statue of Ross that stands near the 18th green of his beloved Pinehurst No. 2, the masterwork that made both its designer and the village famous.

So it was with trepidation that the acclaimed design team of Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore undertook the $2.5-million restoration of No. 2, a course (one of eight at historic Pinehurst Resort) that Ross obsessively altered until his death in 1948. Though still a world-class challenge, No. 2 had lost much of its original character through the years.

The 12th hole at Pinehurst No. 2. (Image: Pinehurst Resort)

Guided by photos taken during the course’s 1940s heyday, Crenshaw (a two-time Masters champion) and Coore stripped away hectares of turf, returning natural areas of hardpan, sand, pine straw and wiregrass that were part of the original topography. Fairways were widened, offering more strategic options, and bunkers were restored to their original shapes at a course that hosted both the men’s and women’s U.S. Open Championships in 2014.

“Hopefully, Donald Ross would be pleased with what we’ve done,” Crenshaw says of a redesign that launched to rave reviews in 2011. “Making changes to No. 2 was like messing with the Mona Lisa.”

All told, 43 courses are found either in Pinehurst or within easy reach of the village, located 113 kilometres southwest of Raleigh, the state capital. Two more Ross-designed jewels are nearby at the sister resorts Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club and Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club.

And another Crenshaw-Coore collaboration, Dormie Club, is now open for limited public play. Located just north of Pinehurst, the minimalist jewel plays across a thrilling landscape of rolling and wooded terrain. Though still largely unheralded, Dormie Club is a must-play for all visitors to this golf-mad village.

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