Thursday, June 12, 2014

The 2014 US Open gets under way this week at the famed Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina.  The resort consists of an amazing 8 courses that all have their unique character but it is No. 2 that will host the worlds best players.  It will certainly be a very different looking course than anything we have seen a US Open played on before.  In 2010 golf course architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw (designers of The Lost Farm course in Tasmania) set about restoring the course to its former glory and large areas of the course were returned to waste areas which has coined a few descriptions such as; "maintenance up the middle" and scruffy is the new neat".

Before last years Open at Merion GC the host Superintendent was interviewed and said "I don't know if Tiger has ever even seen Clover let alone played off it - but he will this week!!" That was the way the course was prepared with the membership and the USGA happy for there to be some imperfections and use more "natural looking" courses.  That is in essence what the restoration at Pinehurst has achieved.
Playing from the "rough" at Pinehurst
Such sandy waste areas always brings the comments about what is a hazard and the grounding of clubs and no doubt that will be a major talking point this coming week. 

Interesting comparison of the old (1930's) and new
A few facts and figures about the course and a comparison to what was there prior to the restoration;
Total area of Pinehurst No. 2 (only) - 80 hectares,  Cool Tweed - 101 hectares
Area of fairways now 17H, 11H prior to restoration. 
(Cool Tweed area of fairways 36H total)
Area of maintained turf now 25H, 35H prior. 
111 bunkers.  (Cool Tweed 85 on West and 81 on River) 
Area of greens 1.068H.  (Cool Tweed 1H West and 1.2 H River)

The greens at Pinehurst were originally Couchgrass and in 1987, in an attempt to secure a US Open on the course, they resurfaced the greens on No. 2 with Penncross bentgrass which was the predominant grass at the time.  The greens were resurfaced again in 1996 when the then new variety of Bentgrass Penn G-2 was used.  This resurfacing included a complete rebuild.  Penn G2 is the variety that is on 17W green at CTHGC.  It is interesting to note that the greens on No.2 will be resurfaced again starting this July following the Open's to a new Ultradwarf Couchgrass in a similar operation as was proposed at CTHGC 2 years ago.

And yes "Open's" is correct as the ladies US Open will be held the week after the men have played.  They will obviously play a different length course and the greens will be softened for the ladies. There will be 21,000 seats available for spectators in grandstands and they are expecting in excess of 50,000 spectators each day for the mens event.
When in Pinehurst, don’t forget to have a go around the hugely entertaining Thistle Dhu putting course.
The famous "Thistle Dhu" practice putting green at Pinehurst.
And below are some links to some very good information about the restoration and the results and an interview with Adam Scott.

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