The eyes of the golfing world were riveted on the Sandhills Region of North Carolina for two weeks this summer. The Pinehurst Resort, located one hour south of the state capital of Raleigh and two hours due east of Charlotte, hosted unprecedented back-to-back U.S. Open Championships in June.
Germany’s Martin Kaymer was a wire-to-wire runaway winner in capturing the men’s championship. Michelle Wie of the United States finally fulfilled her championship potential by winning the women’s title.
The premier golf courses in the country covet the chance to host a single major championship – much less two in the same month.
The United States Golf Association continues to return time and again to the golfing mecca of Pinehurst with its most cherished events. The Pinehurst No. 2 course also hosted the 2005 men’s championship. And who can forget Payne Stewart’s fist-pumping celebration on the 18th hole as he edged Phil Mickelson for the trophy at Pinehurst in 1999. Stewart was tragically lost in a plane accident four months later; he is immortalized with a life-sized statue behind the finishing hole.
Pinehurst has also hosted a Ryder Cup and a PGA Championship in its history. The game’s greatest players have roamed its fairways for generations.
The No. 2 course was originally designed by renowned architect Donald Ross, though retouched over the decades. It was recently restored to Ross’s original intent by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore.
Pinehurst had modest beginnings. Boston businessman James Walker Tufts purchased 5,000 acres of barren pine-tree covered and sandy-soiled land for $5,000 in 1895 for a health-centered retreat. Among its other activities, Tufts decided to add a nine-hole course for golf, a new and relatively unknown sport in the U.S. The once-stark landscape has since evolved into one the top golf destinations in the world. Patrons with last names including Rockefeller and Dupont once frequented Pinehurst in their eras.
Along with the No. 2 layout, the Pinehurst Resort now features eight additional courses for guest play.
Golf is the prime draw in Pinehurst – but far from its only one.
Tennis Magazine ranked Pinehurst among its Top 50 tennis facilities in the country. Guests can choose from a mix of 24 varied surface courts. Pinehurst has hosted the World Lawn Bowling Championship. The 31,000-square-foot Spa at Pinehurst features a pool, steam and sauna rooms, whirlpools, massage treatments, salons and just about every other imaginable form of personal pampering.
There, not surprisingly, is no shortage of quality accommodations. The Carolina Hotel is a recently renovated, century-old Four Star inn that has been called the “White House of Golf.”
The Village of Pinehurst was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, who also designed New York’s Central Park.
Numerous shopping and dining opportunities dot the quaint hamlet that has matured into a world-class golf destination.
With four U.S. Open Championships hosted at Pinehurst No. 2 in the past 15 years, another return to this impeccable layout is only a matter of when.