The History Of Pinehurst- America's First Golf Resort
Pinehurst golf course came into existence back in 1895 when a gentleman by the name of James Walker Tufts purchased 6,000 acres of sandy, clear-cut land in an area called the 'Sandhills' located in Moore County, North Carolina
The 'Sandhills' is a strip of ancient sand dunes that is evidence of where the ocean coast used to be.
Tufts had a background as a talented entrepreneur, who made his fortune patenting soda fountain machines in addition to being the founder of American Soda Fountain Company. After purchasing the acreage in North Carolina, Tufts hired the Olmstead firm, which was the country's most prominent landscape architect and design firm, to plan the resort village. The Olmstead firm accepted the offer and for a contract price of $300 began the design of the golf course. The village design was typically New England with curving, twisting roads leading from a central village green. Architects from Boston designed the hotels, boarding houses and cottages and on December 31, 1895, the Holly Inn opened its doors.
When Pinehurst opened in 1895 it was intended to be a health resort, catering to patients recovering from tuberculosis. When it was discovered that tuberculosis was highly contagious, Tufts had to abandon the philanthropic intentions for his resort. Instead, by 1897, he sought healthy sportsmen and well-to-do businessmen.
In October 1897, James Tufts began publishing a weekly resort newspaper, The Pinehurst Outlook, to help develop a sense of community among the resort guests. As golf became more popular, the newspaper gave it increased coverage and recounted tournament play in detail. It wasn't until guests of the hotel were spotted whacking white balls around the lawn that Tufts got the hint and ordered plans for a 9-hole golf course. A second nine holes was built in 1899.
Pinehurst's early 20th-century success with golf is attributed to its close link to Scotland.
This came about in 1900 when Tufts hired a Scotsman, Donald Ross, as the resort's golf professional. Donald Ross grew up at Royal Dornoch in the Scottish Highlands and trained under Tom Morris in St. Andrews. Tufts gave Ross sole authority over developing golf at the resort. This marked the beginning of Pinehurst as one of the nation's first and leading golf resorts. The next two decades saw Donald Ross build courses Nos. 1 through 4. Ross is estimated to have had a hand in more than 400 golf courses, including Oakland Hills, Seminole and nearby Pine Needles, while many others he plotted out from his cottage off the third green of Pinehurst No. 2.
Driving ranges weren't always a given at golf clubs back in the early 20th-century. So when "Maniac Hill" was created at Pinehurst in 1913 it became the first practice facility in North America. The facility allowed golfers to work on everything from putting to full shots without hogging the golf course. Today, Pinehurst's practice grounds have been upgraded into a full Golf Academy. Featuring state-of-the-art facilities completed in 2006 to go with its situational course instruction on Pinehurst's eight courses.
In 1916, James Barber built the "Liliputian" course at Pinehurst. This was to be the first mini-golf course in America. The resort has carried the kid and family-friendly spirit from the practice center to shorter courses like No. 3. Each course (except No. 2) offers a forward set of "family tees".
The list of championships hosted at Pinehurst is as impressive as any in golf. Pinehurst No. 2 hosted the U.S. Open in 1999 and 2005, and will again in 2014, but its history as host to the United States' most storied events goes back much further. Pinehurst has hosted the North and South Amateur Championship every year since 1901 and has crowned Francis Ouimet, Frank Stranahan, Jack Nicklaus, Hal Sutton and Davis Love III as champions. Women's winners include Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Alice Dye and Donna Andrews. Other events like the PGA Championship, Ryder Cup and Tour Championship have been staged at No. 2. And 2014 will mark the first time the USGA will host both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open at the same course in consecutive weeks.
Many consider Pinehurst the meeting of Southern hospitality with the golf heritage of Scotland. In 2005, sand from the Road Hole bunker at St. Andrews was placed into the greenside bunker at No. 2's 18th hole to commemorate the link between both historical grounds.
For more than a century, Pinehurst has been a sought after destination for people from around the world who want to play some of the area's 42 outstanding golf courses or enjoy other sporting activities. In 2000, Golf Digest listed Pinehurst as Number 3 on its list of the world's 50 Greatest Golf Destinations.
About the Author
Randy Raasch has been in golf for over thirty years. His website, Golf-Fever shares information and products that are sound and easy.