USGA makes $25 million Pinehurst move
The iconic statue of Payne Stewart looks out at Pinehurst No. 2
Today, the USGA announced a major initiative that includes major tournament commitments, a moving their Golf Museum and two other departments to Pinehurst, North Carolina.
The move is bolstered by upwards of $43 million in incentives from North Carolina government and the Pinehurst Resort, which is donating the land. It comes with the commitment to add at least 50 jobs, and hold a major men's championship in Pinehurst at least once every 5-7 years. That equates to The U.S. Open being played at No. 2 five times between 2024 and 2047.
Given the USGA's -- as well as players and fans -- love of the Donald Ross-designed Pinehurst No. 2, the news will likely be met with great enthusiasm.
Pinehurst No. 2 is the only course to have hosted all five of the USGA's most important events: U.S. Open (1999, 2005, 2014), U.S. Women's Open (2014), U.S. Amateur (1962, 2008, 2019), U.S. Women's Amateur (1989) and U.S. Senior Open (1994).
The 2024 U.S. Men's Open is already scheduled to be played there, and the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open is scheduled for Pine Needles in the adjacent town of Southern Pines.
In addition to relocating the USGA Museum and Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History from New Jersey to Pinehurst, the USGA will move their ball testing and agronomy departments to the location that USGA President Mike Davis referred to as the "Home of American Golf."
The moves were confirmed Tuesday evening at a Village of Pinehurst town council hearing -- they also said they will spend $25 million on their campus, fitting it into the existing community. Construction is expected to begin in 2022.
According to the Winston-Salem Journal, "the move is expected to produce $800 million in economic benefit over 10 years and create more than 50 jobs for the Pinehurst/Southern Pines area. According to the bill, the average salary could be $80,000 for at least 35 of those jobs."
“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,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “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.”
It won't be the first time that a museum has been located in Pinehurst. From 1971 to the 1990s the World Golf Hall of Fame called Pinehurst home, but attendance drops and a down period for the resort caused the organization to move to Florida.'
The USGA Museum, first built in 1919, is a 16,000 square foot tribute to the long history of golf and USGA championships, and their storied winners. Rooms celebrating the careers of Jack Nicklaus and Mickey Wright are flanked by artifacts like Bobby Jones' "Calamity Jane II" and Ben Hogan's famous 1-iron from the U.S. Open at Merion.