Liberty Corner, New Jersey, United States: 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 centre and offices by 2023, and host five US Open Championships in the golf-rich state by 2047.
The announcement adds four US 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 US 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.”
Governor Roy Cooper said: “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.
“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.”
Commerce Secretary Anthony Copeland added: “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. This 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 US$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 Centre – 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 US$2 billion to the State of North Carolina. More than one 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 Jnr, speaking on behalf of the Dedman family, which owns Pinehurst Resort. “We are honoured to be selected as the US 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.
“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 centre to link the past to the present and future.”
In addition to four newly scheduled US Opens, the USGA will bring its other premier championships to the State at an increased rate, including, but not limited to, the US Women’s Open, US Senior Open, US Amateur, US Women’s Amateur, US Junior and US Girls’ Junior.
Increased championship frequency will allow the USGA and Pinehurst to make future investments that will enhance the association’s ability to create a first-class player, corporate partner, fan, volunteer and media championship experience. The streamlining of operating costs due to the permanent presence will also allow the USGA to increase its annual investment in the game.
North Carolina has hosted 33 USGA championships since 1955, including last year’s US Amateur Championship at Pinehurst Resort. The 2021 US Junior Amateur Championship will be conducted at the Country Club of North Carolina in Pinehurst and the 2022 US Women’s Open will be played at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club in nearby Southern Pines before the US Open returns to Pinehurst No 2 for its fourth playing in 2024.
Construction on the new USGA offices is expected to begin in Spring 2022. Formal design plans are not complete; however, the new buildings will be no more than two storeys tall and reflect the aesthetic of the village and Pinehurst Resort.
USGA staffers based in Pinehurst will include members of the championship operations, Research and Test Centre and Green Section teams. The number represents approximately 15 per cent of the USGA’s current workforce and will include some of the game’s foremost scientific and golf management experts.
The administrative building in Pinehurst will feature educational exhibits and memorabilia from the USGA Golf Museum and Library in Liberty Corner, which serves as the primary repository of golf history and learning in the world. The majority of USGA staff will continue to be based at the association’s main campus in New Jersey.