PINEHURST, N.C. — They say there’s never a bad day at Pinehurst, especially if you’re walking around course No. 2, the famed masterpiece of renowned architect Donald Ross.
The gem in the sandhills of North Carolina will play host to its fourth U.S. Open next summer (1999, 2005, 2014), and the folks at the United States Golf Association recently held an early preview for its flagship championship.
“We are comfortable that Pinehurst will provide the test of golf that has always provided,” said course setup lead Jeff Hall. “If Martin Kaymer hadn’t entered in 2014 we’d have had a really competitive championship, but he played brilliantly.”
“We’re not trying to play defense with the players,” he added. “This golf course, when it’s firm and fast, you can have some scary wedge shots. Even if it was shorter, there’s still some pretty scary wedge shots here.”
From fairways and tricky greens to new grass and hospitality venues, here’s what players and fans should expect to see when they step on the property for the 2024 U.S. Open, June 13-16, at Pinehurst No. 2.
No. 2 will look and play as it was designed
When Pinehurst worked with Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw to restore the course in 2010 and 2011, the team removed 35 acres of Bermuda rough and replaced it with nearly 250,000 wire grass plants so the course would look and play the way Ross originally intended. To get it as close as possible, images from 1948-1962 were used.
No. 2 is a unique test of golf for a U.S. Open due to its sandy areas in lieu of ankle-deep rough. If players miss the short green grass, they’ll have to deal with the elements. Fairway widths are 34-45 yards at No. 2, which differs from, say, Winged Foot or The Country Club where 24-32 yards is the norm. The diabolical turtleback putting greens make fairway placement all the more important.
“Thinking back to 2014, this was a really difficult U.S. Open to play,” said former Tour pro and current USGA Senior Director of Player Relations Scott Langley. “I say that as a guy who finished in 63rd place, wasn’t as difficult for Martin Kaymer. The thing that’s difficult about Pinehurst No. 2 is the putting greens and surrounds. The greens are very difficult to hit, so you’re often faced with a variety of shots around the greens to recover.”
When you think of a missed green at a U.S. Open, tall, lush rough comes to mind. At Pinehurst, you…