In an effort to expand its impact in golf and extend its mission to champion and advance the game, the USGA will establish “Golf House Pinehurst” in North Carolina, to include a new equipment-testing facility, innovation hub, museum/visitor center and offices by 2023, and host five U.S. Open Championships in the golf-rich state by 2047.
The announcement adds four U.S. Open Championships to be contested on the famed Pinehurst No. 2 course – in 2029, 2035, 2041 and 2047 – to the already scheduled 2024 event. The decision accelerates the USGA’s strategy to stage its premier golf championship at America’s most iconic venues with greater frequency. By doing so, Pinehurst Resort & Country Club will serve as the USGA’s first anchor site for the U.S. Open.
“There is no better place for the USGA to plant new roots than the Home of American Golf,” said Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA. “Thanks to the vision of North Carolina, Moore County and Pinehurst leaders, we are taking a bold step forward and forging a long-term commitment that will elevate our championships, foster greater innovation in golf, and ultimately help grow the game.”
“The USGA’s North Carolina history in golf is legendary, from Arnold Palmer to Webb Simpson, and we welcome this new chapter in golf history with the USGA’s new hub in Pinehurst,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “We welcome the USGA’s selection of our state for this significant new component of its operations and new jobs, and look forward to growing with the game across North Carolina.”
“The USGA’s plans for this significant new presence in Pinehurst elevates the Village’s reputation in the golf world and enhances North Carolina’s prestige as a destination for both businesses and tourists,” said Commerce Secretary Anthony Copeland. “Today’s news will add new energy to the leisure and hospitality services and significantly contribute to the long-term recovery of that important segment of our economy.”
The plan, conceived over the last several years, came to fruition through a comprehensive economic development effort that involved representatives from the North Carolina General Assembly, the Office of the Governor, the Department of Commerce, Moore County, the Village of Pinehurst and economic development experts.
The total $25 million investment over the next several years includes the construction of two buildings to be located near the clubhouse on the historic Pinehurst Resort property, housing 50 full-time USGA staff members. The campus will feature the USGA’s Equipment Standards Test Center – a laboratory dedicated to testing golf balls and clubs for conformance to the Rules of Golf. It will replace the current facility on the USGA’s Liberty Corner campus and enable significant new investment in advanced technology required to perform this global governance function.
Pinehurst will also serve as the USGA’s base for its work to advance the game of golf through innovation, research and science, in collaboration with some of the state’s leading universities.
A USGA Golf Museum experience will also be added, giving visitors a chance to delve into the association’s premier collection of golf artifacts and connect them more deeply with the game’s rich history.
Independent studies estimate that the total economic impact of the USGA’s long-term presence will exceed $2 billion to the state of North Carolina. More than 1 million visitors travel to Pinehurst annually.
The USGA, the Village of Pinehurst and Pinehurst Resort all celebrate their 125th anniversaries this year.
“The USGA and Pinehurst Resort have a deep and storied history of partnering to foster the game of golf and crown its greatest champions,” said Bob Dedman Jr., speaking on behalf of the Dedman family, which owns Pinehurst Resort. “We are honored to be selected as the U.S. Open’s first anchor site, an unprecedented distinction and testament to Pinehurst No. 2’s legacy and future as a championship test for the world’s greatest golfers.”
“While so much of the game’s history is rooted in timeless traditions, both the USGA and Pinehurst have embraced innovation in golf course architecture, agronomy, equipment design, player development and the Rules of the game,” added Dedman. “We’re excited to work with the USGA as they create leading edge equipment and training facilities to advance the game, as well as a new visitor center to link the past to the present and future.”
Feature photo: John Strickland, Village of Pinehurst Mayor. All photos by Sandhills Sentinel Photographer John Patota.