Building on their longstanding partnership and shared passion to elevate the stories of golf’s legends, the USGA and the World Golf Hall of Fame will create a new visitor experience at the USGA’s Golf House Pinehurst campus, opening in 2024. In doing so, the Hall of Fame will relocate its physical presence from St. Augustine to North Carolina.
Additionally, World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremonies will be held in Pinehurst in 2024 and 2029, to coincide with the 124th U.S. Open on Pinehurst No. 2 (2024), and the return of back-to-back U.S. Women’s Open Presented by ProMedica and U.S. Open Championships, also on Course No. 2 (2029). The first-ever back-to-back U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Open were contested in 2014.
“There’s no better connection to golf’s past, present and future than Pinehurst, and no organization that works harder than the USGA to preserve the history of this great game. We look forward to celebrating the greatest moments, and golf’s greatest athletes, by including the World Golf Hall of Fame as an important part of our new Pinehurst home,” said Mike Whan, CEO of the USGA. “Simply put — it just makes sense, and together with the Hall of Fame, we’re more committed than ever to delivering experiences that build even deeper connections between golf fans and those who have truly led the way in this great game.”
“For nearly 50 years, the Hall of Fame has honored the history and legacies of those who have made golf great,” said Greg McLaughlin, CEO, World Golf Hall of Fame. “Much like the USGA, the Hall of Fame is committed to connecting with fans around the world to highlight the greatest moments and legends of the sport. This expanded partnership will create an exciting new opportunity in Pinehurst — where the Hall of Fame originated — to celebrate Hall of Fame members and their contributions to golf.”
Many of the most cherished items in the Hall of Fame’s existing collection will be relocated to Pinehurst for the creation of a new Hall of Fame locker room, which will come to life on the second floor of the USGA Experience building. The result will be a seamless visitor journey from the USGA Experience galleries on the first floor to the second, showcasing the incredible talents of golf’s many contributors and their lasting impact on the game.
The USGA will be responsible for day-to-day operations, management and artifact preservation related to the World Golf Hall of Fame displays, as well as the content, presentation and overall look and feel of the visitor experience. The association will leverage the assets of its USGA Golf Museum and Library — the most comprehensive collection of golf artifacts worldwide — to augment the visitor experience.
The Hall of Fame will continue to operate as an independent organization as part of the World Golf Foundation, serving as the sole administrator of the Hall of Fame induction (process, criteria and ceremony). The Hall of Fame also will collaborate with the USGA on digital and interactive content that celebrates Hall of Fame members and complements the artifacts on display.
“I’m confident today’s announcement and alignment with the USGA will further cement the long-term relevance and viability of the World Golf Hall of Fame, all while continuing to honor golf’s most storied individuals and artifacts,” said Jay Monahan, Commissioner of the PGA TOUR and Chairman, World Golf Foundation. “Both organizations are committed to prioritizing the preservation of golf history, which will serve fans well in the years to come.”
Artifacts from Hall of Fame inductees to be displayed in Pinehurst include:
Johnny Miller’s clubs, ball and champion’s gold medal from the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont, where he shot a record 63 in the final round;
Shirt worn by Annika Sorenstam in the first round of the 2003 Colonial, becoming the first woman to play in a PGA Tour event since 1945;
Compass, slide rule and bifocals used by Donald Ross;
Jack Nicklaus’ MacGregor golf bag from the 1965 Masters;
Golf bag and clubs used by Lorena Ochoa to win the 2008 British Women’s Open, her first major victory;
Spalding 2-wood used by Bob Jones;
Wedge used by Seve Ballesteros to win the 1979 Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, his first of five major titles; and
1922 PGA Championship trophy and 1935 Masters champion plaque from Gene Sarazen, the first player to complete the professional career Grand Slam.
The World Golf Hall of Fame was founded in Pinehurst in 1974 and was operated by the resort’s management company until 1983, when ownership was transferred to the PGA of America. It moved in 1998 to its current facility in St. Augustine. The World Golf Hall of Fame’s St. Augustine location will close in late 2023 at the conclusion of its long-term lease of the property.
“The Hall of Fame has the utmost appreciation for the support it has received from the state of Florida — as well as the Northeast Florida community — over the past two-plus decades,” said McLaughlin. “While the Hall of Fame is looking forward to this exciting new opportunity at Golf House Pinehurst, we will reflect fondly on the memories created across nearly 25 years in St. Augustine.”
The USGA broke ground on its six-acre Golf House Pinehurst campus last month, located on Carolina Vista Drive on the Pinehurst Resort & C.C. property. It is the latest commitment by the USGA to enhance the region’s stature as the “Home of American Golf” and to more deeply invest in North Carolina.
“North Carolina is home to legendary golf courses and it makes perfect sense to have the World Golf Hall of Fame here in Pinehurst,” North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said. “Golf brings communities together, increases tourism and creates good jobs, and I’m excited to continue working with the USGA to grow the game and our economy here in North Carolina.”
The USGA’s Golf House Pinehurst campus vision has come to life through state and community-based partnerships, with significant funding from the North Carolina General Assembly and Economic Development programs. The North Carolina General Assembly recently awarded the USGA $7 million toward the World Golf Hall of Fame project.
“From the moment I learned of the possibility that the World Golf Hall of Fame might be moving to Pinehurst, I have been beside myself with excitement. This will prove to be one of our greatest accomplishments in the game of golf on a worldwide basis,” said N.C. State Sen. Tom McInnis. “I am ecstatic that the fruits of our labor to crown Pinehurst as the Home of American Golf will continue to move forward. The return of the World Golf Hall of Fame will be a forever event for our community and the state of North Carolina. I applaud the United States Golf Association for its vision to continue to make Pinehurst the ultimate American golf destination.”
The USGA Golf Museum and Library is the nation’s first sports museum and the world’s leading institution for the collection, preservation, interpretation and dissemination of golf history. The collections serve as the foundation of the USGA’s diverse roles, services, and initiatives.
Pinehurst, a USGA anchor site, is hosting the inaugural U.S. Adaptive Open Championship at Pinehurst No. 6 through July 20. It will also host the 2023 U.S. Adaptive Open next July, as well as five future U.S. Open Championships between 2024 and 2047.
Photo: Gov. Cooper and area leaders pose at Pinehurst Resort on July 20. Photo provided by Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen Area CVB.