Pinehurst Resort & Country Club in North Carolina, USA, has appointed Gil Hanse’s design firm to carry out restoration work on Pinehurst No. 4 and build a new short course.
Speaking to GCA, Hanse said that he aims to maximise the natural advantages of Pinehurst No. 4 and place the course on the site in as natural a condition as he can.
The commission follows the successful transformation of Pinehurst No. 2 in 2011, when Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw restored the course back to Donald Ross’s original design. Indeed, Hanse has said that he will be “borrowing heavily from the look and feel of No. 2, which Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw so artfully returned to the spirit and philosophy of Donald Ross.”
To achieve this, Hanse and his team will be looking at early photos of the Pinehurst courses, in particular the early photos of No. 4, to gain inspiration. “However, the original footprint for Course 4 is no longer in existence, so we will not be able to replicate holes, but we hope to draw concepts from the original Ross plans and early aerial photographs,” he said.
Hanse’s design and routing is expected to include exposed sand and native wire grass, wider fairways and natural topography. “Both Jim Wagner and I are excited about the piece of ground that Number 4 is routed on,” he said. “We think that there are many great natural advantages to the property and in many ways the topography rivals some of the best ground in the Carolina sandhills region. We will be using many of the hole corridors that the current Fazio design occupies. They have provided us with a great stage to work on.”
Planning is already underway and construction is expected to start next autumn. “Our goal will be to have the course completely planted by August of 2018 with an opening sometime in 2019,” said Hanse.
Hanse’s firm will also design a new short course at Pinehurst, which should be ready for play by autumn 2017. The course is expected to have 8 to 12 holes and will sit on 10 acres of property currently occupied by the first holes on No. 3 and No. 5. As a result, further changes will be made to several holes on courses No. 3 and No. 5.
Pinehurst has confirmed that Courses No. 1 and No. 3 will eventually undergo restoration work too, including changes to the ‘Maniac Hill’ practice area, and moving and expanding the Thistle Dhu putting course.
“There’s a unique character at Pinehurst because of the landscape Donald Ross found when he arrived in 1900,” said Bob Dedman, Pinehurst owner and CEO. “Back then, he may have been a minimalist by necessity, but we’re making a choice to present our historic golf courses in a natural state similar to that era.”