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With its ghost-like pines, vast greenery and unmatched heritage, it’s only fi tting that Pinehurst No. 2 has played host to more single golf championships than any other course in the U.S.

When James Walker Tufts Bought About 5,000 Acres Of Land In North Carolina in 1895, the soda fountain magnate envisioned a winter retreat that would emphasize health. In the years that followed, it would become a prestigious, historic getaway, playing host to the world’s most rich and famous—from the Rockefellers, DuPonts and Morgans, to contemporary names like Barack Obama, Michael Jordan and Oprah Winfrey.

Today, Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s rich history has yielded many brag-worthy moments, such as when Annie Oakley held sharpshooting exhibitions at the club, or when Amelia Earhart landed her plane on the Pinehurst airstrip. But for all its accolades and accomplishments, the thing that first comes to mind for most people is its stunning golf offerings.

Golf became part of the resort’s appeal early on; although it had been played in Scotland since the 15th century, it was just beginning to gain popularity in the U.S. when Tufts opened his resort. He enlisted Dr. D. LeRoy Culver, a physician and avid golfer who had played the sport in England and Scotland, to design a nine-hole course, which opened in 1898. The course was so popular with guests that Tufts added nine more holes for the opening of the 1899-1900 season, and then hired the resort’s first golf pro, Donald Ross.

Ross was a Scottish-born golfer who today is known for having designed more than 400 golf courses across North America. He redesigned the course Culver created, and then went on to design three more courses at Pinehurst: Courses No. 2, 3 and 4. But Pinehurst No. 2 remains his greatest masterpiece, and it is a main attraction for any golf aficionado who visits the resort. Ross remained involved with the course for the next four decades, continuously tinkering with its design to improve upon it.

SECOND TO NONE

While it was just the second course to open at the resort, Pinehurst No. 2 has become Ross’ best-known course and has been the site of more single golf championships than any other course in America. Last year, it hosted 14 days of championship play, with back-to-back U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open championships.

The course opened in 1907, and it introduced some of the most complex greens in the world.

“No. 2 is the most-played course at Pinehurst, and the combination of Ross’ attention to it over the decades, as well as the history associated with the course, makes it a huge draw,” explains Alex Podlogar, media relations manager at Pinehurst.

In 2010, the club launched a massive, year-long renovation to restore the course’s natural, historic character. The $2.5 million project, led by Bill Core and Ben Crenshaw, included work on every hole on the course.

“Donald Ross believed in providing golfers with strategic choices, and Pinehurst No. 2 was intended to epitomize that philosophy,” Podlogar says. The renovation, he says, “restored the strategic options that were the centerpiece of Ross’ vision.”

Key changes made to course included:

-Widening fairways by as much as 50 percent to provide more strategic option from tee to green

-Removing all rough
-Adding 13 new tees, which increased the total length of the championship course by more than 300 yards

-Restoring, eliminating or reshaping bunkers based on aerial images of the course from the 1940s

-Relocation of cart paths and removal of concrete

No. 2 will continue to add glory to its story with coming events.

“Pinehurst is just coming off making history again in golf after serving as the site for the 2014 U.S. Open and 2014 U.S. Women’s Open in consecutive weeks,” Podlogar notes, adding that it will host the U.S. Amateur Foul-Ball, one of the USGA’s top amateur events, in 2017.

BEYOND THE COURSE

While much of Pinehurst’s reputation rests in its golfing legacy, the resort offers plenty of draws beyond its eight world-class golf courses. It is home to three historic hotels—the Carolina, the Holly and the Manor—as well as nearly a dozen four-bedroom villas and more than two dozen condominiums, either lakeside or adjacent to golf course fairways.

For culinary delights, Pinehurst has it covered with everything from quick sandwiches at the Carolina Coffee Shop to the AAA Four Diamond-rated 1895 Grille, which offers an upscale dining environment featuring fresh seafood and locally inspired cuisine.

An award-winning spa features 28 treatment rooms as well as a lap pool, steam room, sauna and whirlpool. Signature treatments were created to use scents common to the region, such as holly berry, peach, magnolia and pine. In addition, top-ranked tennis facilities and other recreational activities including croquet, lawn bowling, kayaking, fishing, sailing and beach volleyball round out the array of offerings.