Pinehurst No. 2 to Be Restored to Ross' Vision
Ben Crenshaw, recognized as one of golf’s top players and a defender of the game’s tradition, and course design partner Bill Coore have begun a restoration project of Pinehurst’s famed No. 2 course.
An agreement has been reached with Coore and Crenshaw Inc. to return both natural and strategic character to the championship No. 2 course, a release from Pinehurst and the design firm announced Friday. For more on the restoration, click here.
The course has already hosted two U.S. Open Championships and will make history in 2014 when it is the site of both the U.S. Open and the Women’s Open in back-to-back weeks.
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 resort said. 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 Coore and Crenshaw conducted its first planning meeting with Pinehurst executives and golf course management leadership.
“We feel confident that Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw are the right people to bring back key Ross features to the course,” Bob Dedman Jr., Pinehurst CEO and owner, said in the release. “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.
“Over the last 10 to 15 years, the course has gotten away from the Donald Ross intentions and design concept,” Pinehurst President Don Padgett II said in an earlier interview. “The desire is to create a more rustic look. Ross didn’t intend to have manicured Bermuda rough in places like the right side of the second hole.”
Initial steps have already begun, starting with widening 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 choose the scheduling of the remaining work throughout the year.
“It is not our intent to radically change this golf course,” Coore said in the release. “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 Nov. 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 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.
Adding length to the course is not a factor in the restoration, according to Padgett.
“The only change from a distance standpoint is adding a new tee on the par-4 seventh hole,” Padgett said. “Ross wanted to lengthen that hole but couldn’t because of power lines behind the tee. But those lines were buried after the 2005 U.S. Open, so the tee can be moved back across the road.”
“When you see it and feel Pinehurst, you know it’s something different,” Crenshaw said in the release. “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,” Padgett said. “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.
“This is absolutely about getting back to what Ross intended. It’s more a restoration than anything. Everybody feels that some of the No. 2 feel and look were lost due to the modern manicured look. Ben Crenshaw has played here since the 1970s, and Bill Coore is a North Carolina native. They understand the concept.”
The USGA was informed of the project earlier this year.
“The USGA is 100 percent behind this,” Padgett said in the earlier interview. “Making the course more difficult is not an intention. Frankly, if the course should become a little easier, I don’t think anyone would mind. The green complexes will never be easy.
“What we’re doing is rolling back the clock. We’re certainly not getting away from the Ross design. We’re getting back to it.
“In Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore we have two guys who are emotionally involved in getting this right.”
Contact Howard Ward at (910) 690-2211 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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