Monday, November 21st, 2011

Pinehurst #2 lives up to its reputation!
Last week my trip to Pinehurst North Carolina topped my all time golfing experiences. Being able to play #2 following the highly touted renovation by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore was an experience I will not soon forget. First of all, Pinehurst is so steeped in golfing history it made my head spin simply walking to my hotel room. The golfing legends who have played and the championships that have taken place are immense.

I cannot say enough about the renovation performed by Coore and Crenshaw. Learning about the history of Pinehurst #2 and how a renovation in the 70's lead to a wall to wall grassing of the course made me cringe. All Coore and Crenshaw did was to put it back to the original intent of Donald Ross and what resulted was a masterpiece. It is so ridiculously simple it was brilliant. The total number of sprinkler heads were cut in half as well as the irrigated acreage. Bob Farren told me that the amount of water delivered to the course was also cut in half. The fairways are simply sprinkled with a single row of heads right down the middle of the fairway.  There is no longer a rough cut. There are only two heights of cut, the greens and everything else. As a 13 handicap I found the course very playable from the white tees. However, the championship tees would present a much different challenge. I have a feeling this course is going to present itself well to the 2014 US Open.

I had the pleasure of playing with Clark Throssell and Anthony Williams, CGCS. We had an amazing time. We all made some pars and a birdie or two even found its way on the card.

Anthony Williams, CGCS
Clark Throssell Ph.D
David Phipps (That's a birdie 4!)
I must not forget to mention why I got to go to Pinehurst in the first place. I was invited by Golfdom Magazine to participate in their first annual Golfdom Summit. The Summit was an event for superintendents, suppliers and dealers of golf course maintenance products and provided a means for them to meet on a one on one basis. We attended board room style presentations which allowed superintendents to give open feedback as well as industry representatives were able to ask direct questions of superintendents.

Reese Jones
We also had an impressive line up of key note speakers. The first night we heard from Ken Magnum, Superintendent of Atlanta Athletic Club. He spoke of his experiences hosting this years PGA Championship as well as the decision to convert the greens from bent to Champion Ultra Dwarf Bermuda. Also speaking the first night was Reese Jones. He talked about the renovations that he has taken part in and how he earned the name "The Open Doctor". His remodeling skills have been applied to seven U.S. Open venues, seven PGA Championship courses, four Ryder Cup and two Walker Cup sites. Not a bad list of accomplishments! Bob Farren of Pinehurst spoke the following day on the renovation of #2 and really gave us an insight into the process of the renovation.

I must thank Golfdom for their wonderful hospitality and vision for hosting this unique event. This is the first of its kind event and I feel privileged to have been a part of it. I met so many great superintendents and look forward to keeping in touch with them.

I leave this post with some more photos from the trip. I hope you enjoy them.

The Carolina Hotel
The East Wing
Bob Farren, Seth Jones, Anthony Williams, CGCS

The caddie told me it was a black fox squirl

Clark shows his new home
Great bunkering

The Donald Ross Home off the 3rd Green

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