Beginning this winter and unfolding in several stages over the next few years, the plan also includes restoring Donald Ross’ original characteristics to Pinehurst No. 1 and No. 3 while also enhancing Maniac Hill and Thistle Dhu.
“There’s a unique character at Pinehurst because of the landscape Donald Ross found when he arrived in 1900,” said Bob Dedman, Pinehurst Owner and CEO. “Back then, he may have been a minimalist by necessity, but we’re making a choice to present our historic golf courses in a natural state similar to that era.”
Pinehurst’s migration toward more natural settings began with the highly-acclaimed 2011 restoration of Pinehurst No. 2, which took the course back to Ross’ vision. The success of that project, shown in the enthusiasm of guests and members, was influential in the decision to revive more original characteristics, while creating new elements reflective of Pinehurst’s origins.
“The overwhelmingly positive feedback we received from the work on No. 2 encouraged us to explore options that are a continuation of that effort,” Dedman said. “We think this is a thoughtful approach to the evolution of golf at Pinehurst, and we think Gil Hanse, with his timeless and natural design philosophy, is the right person for the project.”
The centerpiece of the plan will be Hanse’s complete redesign of No. 4. Hanse’s design and routing, which seeks to create a landscape similar to Pinehurst No. 2, will include exposed sand and native wire grass, wider fairways and natural topography. The project is scheduled to begin in fall 2017 with the course reopening in fall 2018.
“We think this approach will create a more authentic, visually interesting golf course and one that feels in tune with its unique surrounds,” said Hanse, whose portfolio of original designs includes The Olympic Golf Course in Brazil, and whose restoration projects include The Country Club, LA Country Club, Myopia Hunt Club, Merion Golf Club and Oakland Hills Country Club, among others. “A playable, artfully shaped and conceived golf course that derives its character and appearance from the traditional golf flavor of this region is what we aspire for in our approach to Pinehurst No. 4.”
Hanse also will design a short course on 10 acres of property currently occupied by the first holes on No. 3 and No. 5. A routing is currently being developed for the course that is expected to have eight to 12 holes and feature many of the same slopes and contours that create multiple options and inspire creative play on No. 2. The project is scheduled to begin in summer 2017 and open in fall 2017.
“Fun and skill development are the most important concepts behind the short course,” said Tom Pashley, Pinehurst President and COO. “Whether you’re an avid amateur, a beginning golfer, or on an outing with golf buddies or family, the short course will offer an experience that can be enjoyed by all.”
In addition to the redesign of No. 4 and creation of a short course, No. 1 and No. 3 will eventually undergo restoration work designed to return elements of Ross’s original designs. The plan calls for changes to Maniac Hill, the country’s first driving range, that will infuse the natural elements associated with No. 2. It also includes moving and expanding Thistle Dhu, the putting course that has become a popular experience.
“While Pinehurst is the country’s most historic golf resort, we’re constantly evolving,” Dedman said. “The opening of the short course next fall, along with this summer’s opening of the Deuce brings a new level of energy and excitement to the Pinehurst experience.”