Dedmans Buy The Pit Golf Links
A decade ago, the owner of Pinehurst Resort delayed development of a planned new golf village in Aberdeen, citing economic uncertainty in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
On Monday, the Dedman family purchased The Pit Golf Links for an undisclosed price, fueling speculation that the village concept could be revived.
But Bob Dedman Jr. said there were no immediate plans for the property, which now consists of 925 contiguous acres off N.C. 5.
“Over the next several weeks we plan to evaluate the golf course, clubhouse and other facilities,” Dedman said in a statement. “Right now, we’re focused on reopening Pinehurst No. 2. Once that is behind us, we’ll determine the next steps.”
The resort hired Golf course design partners Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw to restore No. 2 to its original state as intended by architect Donald Ross. With the resort scheduled to host both the U.S. Open and Women’s Open in 2014, their work began last March. The course was closed on Nov. 16 and is scheduled to reopen March 4.
The golf village envisioned a decade ago included two new golf courses, a Golf Institute, a 102-room hotel, a lodge and clubhouse with 20 rooms and a mixed-use section consisting of commercial and residential development in a “village center.”
All of that — at a cost of more than $100 million — was originally planned to open in the fall of 2003. The town of Aberdeen even made plans to extend water and sewer lines to the project but did not spend any funds.
The delay was termed “temporary” at the time, but a revised timeline for construction never materialized because the golf industry has been hit hard since then by economic conditions.
ClubCorp, then owned by the Dedman family, bought Pinehurst Resort in 1984, and has spent more than $100 million since then to preserve and enhance its rich history and tradition. The family sold ClubCorp in 2006, but retained ownership of Pinehurst Resort.
“Our greatest competitive advantage,” Dedman has said in the past.
Although the purchase price for The Pit was not disclosed, Charlotte businessman Austin Adams paid $1.08 million for the golf course during a recent foreclosure sale. Adams then sold the property to the Dedmans in a transaction that closed Monday.
“The property truly complements our existing holdings in the area,” Dedman said.
The vacation villas that line the seventh hole were not part of the deal.
It remains to be seen how the golf course will be used in the future. Questions include: Will it be open to members only, resort guests only, or both? Will membership include non-Pinehurst residents since the course is located in Aberdeen? Will its name change? Will it be used for corporate hospitality during the Opens?
“We haven’t looked at it long enough or deeply enough to determine our next steps,” said Tom Pashley, the resort’s executive vice president in charge of sales and marketing, on Tuesday. “We’ve got to first figure out what the status of the course is. How ready is it? We’ve also got to look at the entire property and its facilities before proceeding.”
The golf course has been closed for several months. Its former owner, Partners in the Pits, defaulted last year on a loan with Carolina Bank.
Dan Maples, a Pinehurst native who designed the course and was guarantor on the loan on behalf of the partnership, did not return telephone calls from The Pilot.
Maples also designed the course at Longleaf Golf and Country Club in Southern Pines. Before launching Dan Maples Design Inc. in 1984, he worked with his father, Ellis, on the design of the Dogwood Course at the Country Club of North Carolina in Pinehurst.
“When you are building a golf course, you have to please three different groups of people: pros, superintendents and owners,” Maples says on The Pit website. “Having experience as all three gives me an edge because I know what each is looking for.”
The Pit opened in 1985 after being sculpted out of a reclaimed sand quarry. The sand was mixed with some of the concrete that eventually became the Blue Ridge Parkway. The quarry closed in 1935.
Contact Ted Natt at email@example.com.
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