PINEHURST, N.C. (WNCN) – Say the word “Pinehurst” and instantly visions of U.S. Open’s come dancing to mind.
But in reality, Pinehurst cut its teeth catering to the amateur crowd, those players who play the game for the love of the sport.
“It’s kind of how Pinehurst Resort was started,” said Ben Bridgers, Pinehurst’s director of golf. “Richard Tufts and Donald Ross back then felt it was more important than championship golf.”
Ross designed Pinehurst No. 2 while Tufts was instrumental in making sure amateur golf would be a staple in the Sandhills. An engraved granite rock just outside the clubhouse espouses the principles of amteurism.
“Yeah, having the Amateur Creed posted as part of our heritage and what we think about each day certainly goes a long way in allowing people to see us in that light,” said Pinehurst Director of Ground Management Bob Farren.
The halls of Pinehurst are filled with the names of some of the greatest players to ever play the game. Many of those amateur’s would go on to new heights.
“It just seems like it’s the purest form of the game,” said Pinehurst President Tom Pashley.
From the annual North and South event that has been going strong for more than 100 years to the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Kids Golf World that sees more than 1,400 young players invade the Sandhills, amateur golf is thriving at Pinehurst.
“If you have any questions about the future of the game come out and watch those kids play,” demanded Pashley. “You know there’s going to be a successful future because there’s a whole litany of kids taking up the game and playing it at a very high level.”
For some, amateur status will give way to professionalism. Most though will not reach that level. Still, many will get the feeling they’ve gotten there just the same.
“We want those players to feel like they’re playing in a U.S. Open or a U.S. Amateur,” said Pashley. “It’s the best players in the world playing at one of the best stages in the world so yeah, we take it very seriously.”