Pinehurst has signed an agreement with the renowned firm of Coore and Crenshaw Inc., to return both natural and strategic character to its championship No. 2 course. Work will be conducted gradually in 2010 without any closure to the course or to individual holes until mid-November.
The project’s philosophy is to restore the course’s natural aesthetic characteristics and to bring back strategic play originally crafted by Donald Ross, but that have been lost over time. The changes include returning sandy waste areas, native wiregrass and natural bunker edges; widening the fairways to play as they did in the era from 1935 to 1960; and reducing the amount of manicured rough.
The project began last week, when the design team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw conducted its first planning meeting with Pinehurst executives and golf course management leadership. For more of their vision for the project, go to http://www.facebook.com/PinehurstResort.
“We feel confident that Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw are the right people to bring back key Ross features to the course,” said Pinehurst CEO and Owner, Bob Dedman Jr. “Their body of work speaks for itself. They share a level of respect for the history and tradition of the game, and for Pinehurst. We’re undertaking this project to perpetuate Ross’ vision, knowing his design elements were meant to stand the test of time.”
Coore and Crenshaw researched historic photographs last week at the Tufts Archives, along with documents and drawings of the course’s irrigation plan that mapped the course’s progression from soft fairway lines to the manicured, wall-to-wall grass look synonymous with the modern era. The new project will return a natural aesthetic to No. 2 that is indicative of its native soil and topography.
Initial steps have already commenced beginning with widening of the fairways, and will continue through the spring and summer with gradual turf reduction in the rough areas. The Coore and Crenshaw team will simultaneously begin a review of each hole’s strategic value, beginning with holes 11 through 14. It will opportunistically choose the scheduling of the remaining work throughout the year.
“It is not our intent to radically change this golf course,” Coore said. “We’re trying to uncover it, not recover it. We’re trying to take what Ross left and perhaps bring it back to the character and definition of what was once here. In short, we’ll bring the strategy back, and reinstate its character.”
Course work is not expected to impact play on No. 2 until the course closes for the winter off-season, from November 15 until March 2, 2011. The signature greens of No. 2 will not be touched, nor will significant length be added to the course as a result of the Coore and Crenshaw project. With the exception of the seventh hole, tee boxes will remain the same as well. When the majority of the work is completed in early 2011, the course will have minimal mowed rough, larger playing areas, and a better fit into the Sandhills landscape that existed during the time of Hogan, Snead, Nelson and Nicklaus.
“When you see it and feel Pinehurst, you know it’s something different,” said Crenshaw. “In Ross’ mind, it was the best way he believed a course should be played – his masterpiece. His courses are so beautifully balanced, intended to test every part of your game. This piece of ground was special to him. To contribute our ideas here is a high, high honor.”
“The time is right to undertake this endeavor,” said Pinehurst President Don Padgett II. “We’re not doing this for purely environmental reasons, nor are we doing this project as preparation for the 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open Championships. We’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do, as stewards of this historic course.”
The USGA was informed of the project earlier this year.