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Golf Australia Express : June 2014
T HERE'S nothing new about a course having a revamp. But it ain't every day 18 holes of an iconic major layout gets a makeover. Pinehurst No.2 — the North Carolina site that has played host to two US Opens, a Ryder Cup and a PGA Championship — will in a week's time look rather different than the last time we saw a major held there. Originally designed in 1907 by famous Scottish course architect Donald Ross, it has seen several gradual changes over the years. Apparently, something still wasn't right with it. So major changes were afoot, and following the 2005 US Open, plans were put in place to correct it. By 2011, the course had undergone a $2.5 million facelift at the hands of the Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw design team. The idea was to restore the course's natural and historic character — the way Ross would've wanted it. (Think of it as a kind of Back to the Future moment for Pinehurst.) Fast forward to today and every single hole on the course has been altered in some way. Fairways were widened — some by as much as 50 per cent — and the overall course length extended by 300 yards. Masses of irrigated turf was removed in favour of more natural, sandy areas laced with native grasses. Bunkers were either restored using 1940s aerial images, re- shaped or taken out entirely. Oh, and all rough was removed. That's right. This year we'll witness a rough-less US Open, a golfing oxymoron of sorts. The changes at Pinehurst have certainly been immense. Let's see how it all plays out next week. OTG