Long before anyone knew what PCS was, we all knew USGA. PCS — “permanent change of station” in which our military residents come and go to new assignments — is a life transition. USGA — here, at least — is a life tradition for which we are all richer.
The United States Golf Association has a long history of bringing its national championships to the local area. This week, the renowned national golf organization is sponsoring its second annual U.S. Senior Women’s Open at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club, continuing its special relationship with the Sandhills.
By 2022, the USGA will have held 16 of its
national championships over the last 26 years, including nine Open championships. That doesn’t include the elite U.S. Open, which Pinehurst No. 2 will host in 2024 for a fourth time since its first one in 1999.
This week’s Senior Women’s Open is the first of two this year alone. The 119th annual U.S. Amateur Championship will be held in Pinehurst this August.
You may or may not be a golfer, but that’s immaterial to appreciating the attention and prestige — and profit — bestowed on Moore County when championship golf comes to town.
A Dear Guest
Most golf courses would consider themselves fortunate to get the occasional USGA championship, PGA or LPGA tournament. A select few — Pebble Beach, Congressional, Torrey Pines, Oakmont — fall into regularly scheduled hosting duties. But no one experiences a connection like the USGA and southern Moore County.
“It’s the cooperation we receive here, not only in the Sandhills but really throughout the state of North Carolina,” said Reg Jones, who works out of a USGA office in Pinehurst organizing the prestigious U.S. Opens around the country. “It is truly unmatched and a big part of our site selection process. We cannot conduct these championships without that tremendous support.”
It’s this simple, really: When the USGA comes to town, it’s like an old friend staying in your guest bedroom. We put out our finest linens, plan festive menus, and clear our calendars to entertain.
The USGA cannot run these championships without volunteers to help coordinate myriad responsibilities. It counts on volunteers, and a championship in Pinehurst or Southern Pines is bound to attract hundreds of helpers for the duration.
The USGA can also count on its course partners going the extra distance to ensure successful championships. Pinehurst Country Club proved that in 2014 when it became the first course ever — and only one since — to host the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open in back-to-back weeks. While a huge sacrifice for the club, its members, the grounds and everyone’s stamina, we all pulled off a feat that likely could not be repeated anywhere else in the nation.
Reaping Great Reward
So the USGA counts on the contributions and commitment of the Sandhills. In turn, Moore County and its golf properties reap tremendous value in publicity, television coverage, extra bookings for hotels, additional tabs in local bars and restaurants, and a boost at cash registers all over town. There are more people buying gas, purchasing souvenirs and playing golf than would otherwise occur, even in what is now the high season for spring golf.
The USGA is a storied organization. It is to golf what the NFL or Major League Baseball front offices would be to their respective sports. If the NFL wanted to host a Super Bowl game here, we would instantly recognize the massive influx of capital to come our way. An economic boost is always the case when the USGA brings a championship to town.
So welcome back, old friend. You know there are no friends like old friends. We’re lucky to have you here, and hope your stay is as memorable this time as it has been in the past.