Game Changers

How Pinehurst's PGA of America Golf Professionals Prep for a U.S. Open

By Adam Stanley
Published on

(John Mummert/USGA)

Are there many places in the country that could be in the final stages – like, the very final stages – preparing for a U.S. Open and also host a member-guest event at the same time?
Completely unlikely.
Unless, of course, you’re Pinehurst.
Yes, just two days prior to the best golfers in the world descending upon the Village of Pinehurst to take on the tricky No. 2, PGA of America Golf Professionals Kyle Daly – the Head Professional at Courses No. 1-5 at Pinehurst – and Matt Barksdale, Pinehurst's Director of Golf, were in the throughs of organizing one of the biggest events of the year. All while the final nails were being hammered into the infrastructure for this week’s U.S. Open – a decade after the last time No. 2 played host.
“It’s just how proud I am of all of their efforts and how proud we all should be,” Barksdale said of his staff and their intense undertaking this week and, for the most part, every day for the last 18 months.
From left to right: Matt Barksdale, PGA, Kyle Daly, PGA and Ben Bridgers, PGA, are ready to hos the U.S. Open.
From left to right: Matt Barksdale, PGA, Kyle Daly, PGA and Ben Bridgers, PGA, are ready to hos the U.S. Open.
Barksdale – who was at Pebble Beach for just over a half-decade before joining Champions Retreat in Augusta, Georgia, and then heading to Pinehurst almost four years ago – said the objective of his staff is to get resort guests and members a “U.S. Open experience” every time they tee it up. It’s easy to tie the brand of Pinehurst to the U.S. Open these days, with the United States Golf Association moving its headquarters to Pinehurst just last year.
Over the last 18 months Barksdale said it’s been a lot of logistics, planning, and establishing committees and standard operating procedures to be able to put on the best event they possibly could.
And the past few weeks has been a legit sprint to the finish overseeing the final build out of the infrastructure on site.
They stopped play on No. 2 on May 28 and turned everything over to the USGA on June 3. That included taking fixtures out of the main golf shop, closing down restaurants, putting furniture in storage, and moving all the retail to holding trucks until the tournament’s conclusion.
“There was a lot of go-go-go with planning and now we’re at the execution portion of it,” Barksdale said. “My responsibility and duties will be to get everything organized and develop a plan strategically laid out – so a lot of my job was done over the last 18 months. Now we have our committee chairs running their specific areas.
“I just have to make it until Friday and walk around with a fire extinguisher, but once we get to Friday . . . it’s sit back, relax and enjoy the U.S. Open.”
While Barksdale has been overseeing plenty of efforts by bigger and bigger teams, Daly – who started at Pinehurst as an Assistant Professional in 2018 – has been playing a key role in making sure things keep running smoothly at the club, even when he’s staring down a sweeping curveball.

The best part about this all is that one of our mottos is to ‘Deliver a U.S. Open Experience.' It’s cool that we can deliver a U.S. Open experience 'during' the U.S. Open . . . not only for the players but the fans & employees.”

Kyle Daly, PGA
At the last second, he explained, the resort needed to close down the first hole of No. 4 a “few days early” and, actually, it needed to change the hole into a par 3, too. And, yes, some of Pinehurst’s other golf courses will indeed be open while the U.S. Open is being played on No. 2.
“Being able to see our hard work come to fruition with all the curveballs . . . it’s been really cool to see everything come together and say ‘Hey, wow, this is why they did it and how awesome it’ll be to have played a role,’” Daly said.
Daly said his main role through the U.S. Open will be to help manage the staff he has as they undergo work in player-facing areas like the driving range, which was created using The Cradle short course as targets, along with the short-game facility, the locker room, club storage, and on the 10th-tee shuttle – admittingly cool gigs, he said.
The first hole at No. 2. (John Mummert/USGA)
The first hole at No. 2. (John Mummert/USGA)
And of course, there will be golf played on No. 3 and 5.
“The best part about this all is that one of our mottos on a day-to-day basis is to ‘Deliver a U.S. Open Experience,’” Daly said. “It’s cool in this essence where we actually have a U.S. Open going on and we can deliver a U.S. Open experience during the U.S. Open not only for the players but the fans and employees.”