Paul Jett knows how to prepare a golf course for a major championship.
He has been the host superintendent at Pinehurst Resort's No. 2 Course for both the 1999 and 2005 U.S. Men's Open Championships.
Jett has proven that he also knows how to play championship golf courses, winning the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association tournament three times.
The latest victory came Nov. 13 at Barefoot Resort in Myrtle Beach when Jett shot a 1-under-par 71 on the Tom Fazio-designed course.
A field of 330 course superintendents from North and South Carolina competed in the event, which also utilized the Davis Love and Greg Norman courses at Barefoot. The championship is held in conjunction with the annual trade show.
Jett's work in preparation of the Donald Ross-designed No. 2 Course won high acclaim from United States Golf Association officials and players alike in both 1999 and 2005.
Although his trophy room is bulging with hardware, Jett still has a goal.
He is a perennial contender in the national championship of the 20,000-member GCSA of America but hasn't won it yet. He has finished as runner-up on four occasions, however, and is hoping to bring home that trophy soon.
Jett is also active in a leadership role for the Carolinas GCSA. He has been a director since 2001 and was elected secretary-treasurer of the association at the annual meeting.
The 1,800-member association fills the Myrtle Beach Convention Center with almost 100,000 square feet of trade show exhibits each November. More than 100 hours of formal education are provided for members.
The education topics range from course renovation to water quality and occupational safety and health.
The four-day event is the largest regional forum in the country for golf course superintendents.
Women Friendly: Tim McDonald, who writes on the Internet for World Golf Wire, has rated Pinehurst-area courses as to their playability for women golfers.
"Pinehurst, the so-called home of American golf," McDonald writes, "is no different from most golf destinations. Some courses are better suited to women than others."
The first course listed by McDonald is Pine Needles, a creation of Donald Ross that will host its third U.S. Women's Open next spring.
"How could Pine Needles not be the first choice with an owner like Peggy Kirk Bell," he writes. "Bell has been acclaimed as one of Golf Digest's 50 greatest teachers. She pioneered the first professional women's tour and is one of the founding members of the LPGA. (Actually, Bell was not a founding member of the LPGA, although she was a charter member.)
"The course takes women golfers seriously, hosting dozens of outings a year for them. It has some of the most comprehensive women's teaching programs around, including ladies' 'Golfaris,' week-long events offered four times a year.
"It also has great practice facilities, including covered stalls at the driving range, three separate hitting areas and a three-hole practice course."
Legacy Golf Links, a Jack Nicklaus II design, hosted the U.S. Women's Public Links Championship in 2000, where a 10-year-old Michelle Wie made history as the youngest qualifier.
"Legacy is one of those courses that mix playability, conditioning and aesthetics into a nearly perfect cocktail," McDonald writes. "The course has mounded fairways that keep the ball in play and mounded greens that suck up off-line approaches and funnel them back toward the hole. It's a look-good, feel-good course that's a blast to play whether you've been playing well or lousy."
Pinehurst No. 8, a course designed by Tom Fazio and strong enough to host national events such as the Club Professional Championship and the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Championship, also made the list.
"No. 8 is the course Tom Fazio designed to help commemorate Pinehurst Resort's 100th anniversary," McDonald writes. "The course has difficult, domed greens akin to No. 2, but the grass is cut low on the green surrounds, so women can putt from them, avoiding tricky ups and downs."
Mid Pines, another Ross course that is also owned by the Peggy Kirk Bell family and sits just across Midland Road from Pine Needles, is the fourth course on the list.
It has also hosted several LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Championships
McDonald writes: "Hillier than Pine Needles, with few forced carries, Mid Pines has stayed true to its Ross roots. A diminutive course overall, it can play as short as 4,921 yards, with the longest par-5, the 10th, at 377 yards (for women)."
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