By Don Sweeting, PGA Professional - EVP of Golf and Club Ops – Pinehurst Resorts
There's an old quote that Tommy Armour made, back in Pinehurst's earliest years, that says, "The man that doesn't feel emotionally stirred when he golfs at Pinehurst beneath those clear blue skies and with the pine fragrance in his nostrils is one who should be ruled out of golf for life."
What most people forget is that Pinehurst was created as a health resort before it became a golf resort, and a walking village before any of its eight golf courses was built. They forget that it turned from the Pine Barrens to the green oasis it is today, thanks in large part to Frederick Law Olmsted's team who planted more than 200,000 trees and flowering shrubs here. It was created out of the minds of the founding Tufts family, and you can mark the passage of time by the height of the tree line in the black and white photos that line our walls.
The physical beauty, subtle though it is, is evident when you come here, preserved over time and evidenced by a grand hotel, year-round blooms, and a topiary that proclaims its name and the year it was founded. But in truth, it is merely the backdrop of the real beauty of Pinehurst -- that intangible quality that Armour tried his best to capture.
We hear it from our guests when they tee off the first hole of No. 2, or any of our courses. It's not about stunning ocean cliffs or towering mountains -- it's not even about forests or flowers. It's not about gilded hotels. Unassuming in looks, Pinehurst packs its punch as hallowed ground. Anyone who was (or is) anyone in golf has met its greens in combat, and faced its challenges. You feel them when you're here, the unmistakable presence of those legends. They simply belong.
Its beauty comes in the chime of the church bells on the hour, the scrambling of the fox squirrels, the silent wind through the pine trees. There's nothing loud, nothing bold, nothing eye-popping. Instead, it is humble. It is quiet. The sun slants across the green fairways and is absorbed in the white arches of the historic Clubhouse - and you can believe that time actually stands still.
For those that love Pinehurst and have the honor of working here, we know that it's not us that makes it special. We're all just stewards of what came long before us, and will remain long after us. The game will change and golf courses with them, but Pinehurst will remain. It's our job to protect the idea of Pinehurst in the time that we're here, just as much as we're responsible for its fairways and greens.
When the resort opened in 1895, the local doctors actually believed that the "pine ozone" here created the cure for all ailments. You need only stay a time, to breathe it in and recuperate.
The Pinehurst cure is still here. And that is what makes it breathtaking.