More than a decade of speculation was put to rest this past Wednesday with the announcement from Pinehurst Resort and Country Club that its property in Aberdeen off N.C. 5 will be the site of its tenth golf course.
Work clearing trees is slated to begin later this month on a course that will be designed by world-renowned golf architect Tom Doak. The resort is hoping to have Pinehurst No. 10 completed in spring 2024, just ahead of Pinehurst's No. 2 course hosting the U.S. Open for the fourth time.
“We’ve also got a few places we could start shaping greens this week,” Doak said in an interview this week with Golf.com.
The project represents the first from-scratch course for the resort in nearly 30 years. Once completed, it will be its first course in Aberdeen and be located about four miles south of its main footprint in the village from which it draws its name.
When listing many of the top current golf architects, names like Gil Hanse, Bill Coore, Ben Crenshaw and Tom Fazio are ones that have crafted the course landscape in Pinehurst. Doak finds himself among that caliber, but he has never worked on a Sandhills area course, and only once has designed a course in North Carolina.
Doak had admired Pinehurst from afar, first visiting the area 40 years ago when he played and toured Donald Ross’ No. 2 course, considered one of the iconic courses in the world. Doak was also outspoken in praise for the Coore and Crenshaw renovations of No. 2 in 2010.
“Tom Doak builds incredible golf courses on sand, and we’re excited to see what he’ll create in the North Carolina Sandhills,” said Pinehurst Resort President Tom Pashley in a statement. “We’ve worked with some amazing golf architects who’ve embraced our natural aesthetic and believe Tom will do something fantastic on this site.”
Doak has overseen work on dozens of courses worldwide, and he has had six courses listed on the top 100 golf courses in the world by Golf.com. Those courses include Pacific Dunes and Old Macdonald, in Bandon, Oregon; Ballyneal in Holyoke, Colorado; Rock Creek Cattle Company in Deer Lodge, Montana; Streamsong’s Blue Course in Bowling Green, Florida; and Sebonack in Southampton, New York.
“Having a Doak course at Pinehurst allows guests to play a course designed by one of the most creative golf minds of this generation,” Pashley told Golf.com. “Some equate playing at Pinehurst to visiting a golf architecture museum. You get to experience some of the best work from different design eras when you come here.”
The resort did not make Pashley or Doak available for interviews with The Pilot by press time.
Angela Moser will serve as the lead design associate for Doak’s project. Moser’s career includes work at the Los Angeles Country Club’s North Course; Streamsong Black in Bowling Green, Florida; St. Patrick’s Links in County Donegal, Ireland; Te Arai Links in Tomarata, New Zealand; and Ohoopee Match Club in Cobbtown, Georgia.
Pinehurst Resort purchased the land of the former The Pit Golf Links in February 2011. Although the purchase price for The Pit was not disclosed in 2011, Charlotte businessman Austin Adams paid $1.08 million for the golf course during a foreclosure sale. Adams then sold the property to the Dedman Family, who owns Pinehurst Resort and Country Club.
The Pit opened in 1985 after being sculpted out of a former sand quarry that closed in 1935. Sand from the quarry was mixed with some of the concrete that was used during the construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Pit Golf Links, designed by Pinehurst native Dan Maples, closed in December 2010.
Pinehurst effectively sat on the land for 12 years, giving it time to pursue a significant number of updat and additions to its properties. That includes a redesign of Course No. 2, which hosted the U.S. Golf Association’s first ever back-to-back U.S. Open and Women’s Open in 2014; a redesign of Course No. 4 and updates to several others; construction of the new Cradle short course; and construction upgrades of several amenities, including the Member’s Club, a new pool complex and improvements in lodging.
Buying The Pit allowed the resort to leverage another purchase. In 1999, it bought more than 250 acres bordering the course to the northwest. At the time, the resort envisioned a “golf village” for the area that included a new golf course, a golf institute and other lodging. The terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 and the ensuing economic uncertainty shelved those plans.
The resort’s purchase of the course in 2011 added 925 acres. The land and building on the property is valued at $2,168,430, according to Moore County tax records.
Given the topography and soil profile of the property, Doak said, the property is unlike the resort’s nine other 18-hole courses.
“The site is topographically distinct and drastically different from anywhere in Pinehurst,” Doak said in a statement. “It’s bigger, bolder and more dramatic. There’s about 75 feet of elevation change, and we’ll work our way up to it around the mid-point of the layout. You’ll have expansive views from this apex over the rest of the course. It will be an unforgettable experience for golfers.
“The sand, the wiregrass, the bluestem grass and other native grasses that grow around the Sandhills create a fabulous texture for golf. It’s something most places just don’t have.”
The news release said that Doak’s vision for the course will incorporate the rugged dunes mined as a result of the quarry. The natural features of streams and ponds on the property will be accented by native sand and wiregrass.
When the purchase went through in 2011, there were eight courses in the Pinehurst Resort portfolio. Pinehurst No. 8, built to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the resort, was opened 15 years prior, and the site in Aberdeen seemed primed to be the ninth course for the club.
As that area sat idle, the resort in 2014 purchased Pinehurst National on Midland Road and rebranded it to Pinehurst No. 9. Adding that course gave the resort additional golf capacity, allowing it to push back development of the Aberdeen property.
For nearly nine years, Pinehurst Resort has made other changes to its current golf properties, including a nine-hole short course, The Cradle, in 2017. That was constructed by Hanse in the shadows of the clubhouse where the first holes of the No. 3 and No. 5 courses once were located. Hanse followed up that work by leading the renovation of Course No. 4 a year later, giving it a similar historic and natural appearance like the Coore and Crenshaw renovations on No. 2.
The Thistle Dhu putting course was moved from its separate complex neighboring the Course No. 4’s first tee and 18th green, and combined into the expansive growth of the practice putting green around the time of the Hanse renovation.
Pinehurst No. 8, the newest course constructed by the resort, went through an “agronomic remastering” in 2022 that included new TifEagle greens, restored bunkers, improved drainage and the removal of invasive trees.
As for the site of the Pinehurst No. 10, more than just a full-length 18-hole course was hinted at. The resort said the site could also include additional golf, a short course, clubhouse, guest cottages and other lodging. The resort said in the news release that it would discuss these possibilities with Aberdeen town officials.
“This exceptional property is a place where many of our dreams of the future can be contemplated,” said Pinehurst Resort CEO Bob Dedman Jr., in a statement. “How those dreams play out will be determined over time, the same way the path forward revealed itself through recent additions like The Cradle, Thistle Dhu and the redesign of Pinehurst No. 4. Adding a Tom Doak design to our collection is another historic chapter in the story of Pinehurst.”
Contact Jonathan Bym at (910) 693-2470 or email@example.com.