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U.S. Open: 2014 Pinehurst Course 2 Changes

U.S. Open: 2014 Pinehurst Course 2 Changes

U.S. Open: 2014 Pinehurst Course 2 Changes

It’s a record length with greens designed for speed (and a bit less lovingly tousled than usual). 

Pinehurst Course No. 2, site of the 2014 U.S. Open this week, was famously redesigned with the intent of restoring it to its original attentively "unkept" appearance. (Oh, and it's longer and firmer with thinner grass in the roughs.)

Pinehurst Course No. 2, site of the 2014 U.S. Open this week, was famously redesigned with the intent of restoring it to its original attentively “unkept” appearance. (Oh, and it’s longer and firmer with thinner grass in the roughs.)

Pinehurst Course No. 2 — site of the 2014 U.S. Open this week — certainly isn’t the same track Michael Campbell came out of nowhere to win the last time the North Carolina stalwart club hosted the Open in 2005. 

History buff, two-time Masters champion, and course designer Ben Crenshaw along with his business partner, Bill Coore, attacked Pinehurst Course No. 2 with all the fury of Donald Ross and re-created the look of Ross’ original intent.

Crenshaw (left) and Coore have been praised and accused of "Messing with the Mona Lisa" for their redesign of Pinehurst Course No. 2 for the 2014 U.S. Open.

Crenshaw (left) and Coore have been praised and accused of “Messing with the Mona Lisa” for their redesign of Pinehurst Course No. 2 for the 2014 U.S. Open.

Pinehurst Course No. 2 is now a layout of wide inviting fairways with scruffy and rumpled edges of unkept sand waste areas dotted with wire grass and loose pine straw.

It looks somewhat disheveled and unkempt, but that’s the fun. In the 1970s someone had the idea to line the fairways with Bermuda grass. In the South, this grass grows lush and the golf ball settles in, leaving the player with not much more than a pitch out from a muffy lie.

An example of the ball-stopping Bermuda grass recently removed from Pinehurst.

An example of the ball-stopping Bermuda grass recently removed from Pinehurst.a

For comparison, Pinehurst's restored wire grass today.

For comparison, Pinehurst’s restored wire grass today.

 

 

The Crenshaw/Coore team removed all the Bermuda rough. With this new/old idea of a combination of firm and soft sandy areas in place of the grass rough, who knows what kind of shot a great player could manufacture?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pine Valley, the renowned track in New Jersey, offers plenty of these type lies.

A nice aerial view of New Jersey's storied Pine Valley course, which is often compared to Pinehurst, site of the 2014 U.S. Open this week.

A nice aerial view of New Jersey’s storied Pine Valley course, which is often compared to Pinehurst, site of the 2014 U.S. Open this week.

In this year’s Open, you’ll see an abundant of good shots roll off the putting surfaces and down the banks of the greens. Ross’ greens were not designed for the speed of the bentgrass and USGA 11.5 Stimpmeter readings. This is why my money is on the great chippers of the game to become the next U.S. Open champion.

(We can only guess what speed and condition the women will face the very next week during the Women’s U.S. Open, also to be played on Pinehurst No. 2).

An official USGA Stimpmeter, used throughout the nation to determine standardized green speed measurements. Pinehurst is said to be very firm and fast in 2014.

An official USGA Stimpmeter, used throughout the nation to determine standardized green speed measurements. Pinehurst is said to be very firm and fast in 2014.

For the U.S. Open, the USGA has made the 4th hole (normally a par-5) into a brut of a par 4 at 529 yards. They have also switched the 5th hole (a par-4) to become a par-5 at 576 yards. The rest of the par-70 layout remains much the same except that the tees will be moved back to create a monster 7,565 yard track. This will cause the players to have to hit medium to long irons into some of Ross’ famed turtleback greens.

Let the fun begin.

A turtleback green is exactly what it sounds like. Here's one of Pinehurst's new/old ones for the 2014 U.S. Open redesign to its roots.

A turtleback green is exactly what it sounds like. Here’s one of Pinehurst’s new/old ones for the 2014 U.S. Open redesign to its roots.


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