The Golden LEAF Foundation has awarded $200,000 to Moore County Partners in Progress to support the USGA’s project to establish Golf House Pinehurst.
In early September, the USGA announced its plans to establish “Golf House Pinehurst,” a campus and innovation hub in Pinehurst that will feature a new equipment research and testing facility, museum experience, welcome center and offices. The USGA has also committed to host five U.S. Open Championships in the Pinehurst area by 2047.
The total $25 million investment over the next several years includes the construction of two buildings on the campus of historic Pinehurst Resort that will house 50 full-time USGA staff members. Construction is anticipated to start in 2022 and be completed by 2023 year-end.
The USGA’s new facilities will include the Research and Test Center, a laboratory dedicated to testing golf balls and clubs for conformance to the Rules of Golf. It will replace the current Test Center at the USGA’s headquarters in Liberty Corner, New Jersey.
The Golden LEAF award to Partners in Progress will be used to purchase some of the more than $4 million in testing equipment that will be used by the new center in Pinehurst. This award is part of a larger project that leverages funding from the state as well as other public and private partners.
The USGA Test Center is the only facility in the U.S. that has the official responsibility to test all golf equipment – primarily golf balls and clubs used by all golfers in the recreational and competitive game – for conformance to the Rules of Golf.
It receives roughly 2,500 equipment submissions from manufacturers around the world each year. This includes nearly 500 models of golf balls and more than 2,000 other pieces of golf equipment such as clubs, clubheads, shafts, gloves, tees, and other devices.
In addition, the Test Center’s staff monitors the global game and how equipment advances are affecting its evolution. They study performance statistics, conduct scientific studies of both professional and recreational golfers, and compile detailed research about the technology of golf equipment.
“Through this award, Golden LEAF is an essential partner in bringing Golf House Pinehurst to fruition,” said Pat Corso, Executive Director of Partners in Progress. “We greatly appreciate Golden LEAF’s support of this transformative project that will generate a tremendous, long-term economic impact well beyond Moore County. We are excited about the benefits this project will bring to North Carolina.”
“Golden LEAF is pleased to be one of the partners on the new research and testing center,” said Scott T. Hamilton, Golden LEAF President, Chief Executive Officer. “This project will not only bring 35 jobs but also significant regional economic impact through major U.S. Open events.”
“We are thankful for the generosity extended to us from everyone throughout North Carolina, and are excited to move forward with this great news,” said Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA. “The new USGA Test Center will become the most advanced, innovative golf testing facility in the world, and we are proud to firmly establish it in Moore County.”
Feature photo: The USGA pin flag on the 18th hole of Pinehurst No. 2 during the U.S. Amateur in 2019. The U.S. Open was held in Pinehurst in 1999, 2005 and again in 2014. It is scheduled to return in 2024 ~ Sandhills Sentinel Photographer John Patota.