Just announced, the United States Golf Association has chosen the Village of Pinehurst for establishing a new second headquarters. The project includes the relocation of its golf equipment Research & Test Center, construction of a museum and visitor center, and offices for the USGA’s Foundation and Green Section. These facilities will be an investment of at least $25 million and will employ a minimum of 50 employees.
In addition, the USGA has committed to bringing multiple championship events to the Pinehurst area including (5) U.S. Open Championships every 5 to 7 years beginning with the one already announced for 2024, in addition to a minimum of two (2) U.S. Women’s Open Championships. Furthermore, the USGA’s impact will also extend well beyond Pinehurst and Moore County to the entire state with their promise to also bring a minimum of 13 additional championship events to venues throughout North Carolina within the next 25 years.
It’s no secret that Moore County and the Village of Pinehurst have a special relationship with the USGA. In the last 30 years, Pinehurst Resort and its masterpiece No. 2 course have played host to more championship events than any other site in the nation. In fact, Pinehurst No. 2 is the only course to have hosted all five of the USGA’s most important events: U.S. Open (1999, 2005, 2014), U.S. Women’s Open (2014), U.S. Amateur (1962, 2008, 2019), U.S. Women’s Amateur (1989) and U.S. Senior Open (1994).
The USGA has made this commitment to the Pinehurst area not only based on this long-standing relationship but also because the community is already so logistically equipped to handle championship tournaments of this magnitude.
“The opportunity to bring the USGA to Moore County is a historic opportunity, a once in a lifetime opportunity, a transformative opportunity,” said County Manager Wayne Vest. “It is about bringing facilities, jobs, careers, events, visitors, global recognition and economic activity all to Moore County.”
“Their desire to construct a permanent home here also comes with a commitment to honor the traditions and respect for the game found here, and to preserve the historic nature of this community,” said Pat Corso, executive director of Partners in Progress (PIP), the county’s economic development arm.
“To have the USGA in Moore County puts our community in an enviable position as we look toward the future,” Corso said. “There cannot be a better suited project for our area.”
Headquartered in Liberty Corner, N.J., USGA operates with a staff of 300 and has 700,000 members. The organization sponsors more than a dozen championship events annually, and governs the rules and equipment standards for the game of golf.
“This really is a dream come true for our area,” said Tom Pashley, president of Pinehurst Resort. “It makes me think of St. Andrews. There is no other place like that except now for Pinehurst, to have a governing body in our backyard and a championship schedule similar to what happens there. The benefits are clear, significant, and far-reaching.”
The USGA expects to construct at least two buildings totaling 30,000 square feet on the Pinehurst Resort campus. Those buildings are to be designed in an architectural style consistent with the surrounding Resort and Village.
Thousands of fans lined the legendary Pinehurst No. 2 course to watch Payne Stewart — himself once a regular visitor to Pinehurst — sink a 15-foot par dramatic putt on the 18th green to win the 1999 U.S. Open championship. This “moment in time” for Stewart also marked a turning point for Pinehurst.
The USGA brought its premier men’s championship back to Pinehurst in 2005, and again, in 2014, when the U.S. Open and Women’s Open were conducted in historic back-to-back weeks.
The upcoming 2024 U.S. Open will make the fourth U.S. Open and 11th USGA championship at the historic venue. The championship will also fall on the 25th anniversary of Payne Stewart’s iconic win.
Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club, located in the neighboring community of Southern Pines, has its own special relationship with the USGA.
Last year, Pine Needles hosted the USGA’s second ever U.S. Senior Women’s Open and it has been selected to host the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open, making it the first golf resort to be awarded four U.S. Women’s Open championships.
Pinehurst and the greater Southern Pines-Aberdeen area has become increasingly attractive for golf industry investments in recent years.
Pinehurst Resort kicked off 2010 with its much-acclaimed restoration of No. 2, regarded as one of Donald Ross’s finest designs. That was followed up by the reimagining of No. 4 by Gil Hanse, and development of the popular short course, The Cradle.
Golf Pride, a subsidiary of Eaton Corp. and one of the nation’s most successful golfing-related brands, completed its new 36,000-square-foot headquarters near the entrance of Pinehurst No. 8 in 2019. The facility houses the company’s corporate offices, a consumer interactive wing, and a rapid prototype laboratory under one roof.
Other recent golf investments in Moore County include the U.S. Kids Golf Foundation’s purchase of Longleaf Golf & Family Club in Southern Pines, in 2015. The club has since been transformed into a living laboratory for the development of the game of golf. U.S Kids Golf also announced last week it was moving its U.S. Kids Foundation to new offices in Pinehurst.
In May 2018, the Veteran Golfers Association opened its national headquarters in Pinehurst. Annually, the VGA hosts more than 250 local tournaments for thousands of VGA members across the country, culminating in a VGA National Championship.
The Carolinas Golf Association also relocated its headquarters from West End to a new facility across the street from Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club in Southern Pines in 2015. Three years later, the CGA unveiled the Xan Law, Jr. Hall of History at its Carolinas Golf House. The hall features an interesting collection of clubs, scorecards, pictures, and trophies honoring the people who have made the Carolinas one of the most historic golf areas in the country.
In an effort to capitalize on this golf industry momentum, Partners in Progress and business leaders from Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Aberdeen teed up an aggressive video pitch earlier this year to attract golf companies to consider relocating to the area.
The USGA has also committed to work directly with PIP to help recruit additional golf-related companies, including headquarters, research and development, manufacturers and associations, to Moore County and the region.
The USGA’s presence here, in addition to the area’s many other substantial golf assets, undeniably reaffirms Moore County as the Home of American Golf.
(Original story by Laura Douglass, The Pilot)