PGA

Pinehurst facelift creates new challenge for PGA's best

Posted April 14

— Pinehurst No. 2 is no longer the course Payne Stewart knew. A facelift has been applied ahead of this year's unprecedented back-to-back US Opens.

"For those of you who were here in 2005 and 1999, you will notice a different golf course," Bob Farren, director of grounds and golf course maintenance said.

Pinehurst No. 2 has re-transformed to a course closer to what the original architects intended. The caretakers of the club found a picture from 1943 and they've been working to match that look, from the hazards to the greens

"The project included removing 40 acres of rough," Farren said.

A lot of the perfectly manicured green grass has been replaced by wire grass and natural vegetation -- not where you want to hit your golf ball

"As we started looking at the archival research, we realized the strategy of the course had changed a great deal with the addition of the turf," Farren said. "So we turned off the water as we removed the turf."

Pinehurst officials say the reaction to the change has been positive so far, and they are ready to see how the course plays during both the men's and women's US Opens in June.

"Our resort guests, and certainly our members, have embraced it," Farren added. "I can't wait to see what the best players in the world come here in June (to find)."

The new-look course has 117 bunkers, and no longer has an official rough. But this new landscape is sure to cause some headaches for those trying to take home one of two trophies on back-to-back weekends.

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  • Objective Scientist Apr 15, 1:46 p.m.

    I "learned" the game of golf on Pinehurst #2 (and #s 1, 3, 4, and 5) in the late '60s and through the '70s at least. I also worked, "inside the ropes", at PGA events on #2 for a number of years... including the '99 and '05 US Opens. The "renovation" of #2 has basically put the course back to what it was originally and the way it was when I began playing on it. As it was... the course forced you to learn to hit every club in the bag and under varying conditions. There is the length, always long, now even longer. There are the upside-down saucer undulating super-fast greens with false-fronts all around... also, don't be surprised if you see a PGA pro using a putter from 20-30 yards off the green. Then there are lies on a thick bed of long-leaf pine needles, and in the waste sand areas punctuated by the infamous wiregrass. NO water... the water shown in this picture is all that is on #2 and it is NOT in play. #2 is a great, GREAT challenging course, now back as it was intended!

  • KT called a Congressional hearin Apr 15, 8:59 a.m.

    I was there to watch Payne win. Haven't been back since. They tell me I wouldn't even... View More

    — Posted by jdpridg

    You wouldn't. I played it last summer and it's rough. This renovation has been going on for roughly 2 years now I think.

  • jdpridg Apr 15, 8:37 a.m.

    I was there to watch Payne win. Haven't been back since. They tell me I wouldn't even recognize the course anymore. Wish I had time to make it this year.

  • vt94hokies Apr 14, 6:52 p.m.

    Great piece by WRAL tonight. Bob Farren did a great job in his interview. Good friends at First Health gym in Southern Pines. Looking forward to seeing the guys and ladies in June.

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