Playing Golf In The Piedmont
Visit A Place Where Golf History Lives
There is no other game so closely aligned with its history and traditions as golf, though watching a well-struck drive banana-slip toward wooded oblivion may cause you to lose touch with the past and agonize over the future.
However, should you find yourself around Pinehurst and thirsting for some golf history, wander into the Tufts Archives, tucked in the back of the village’s public library, a garden-surrounded sanctuary across from the Holly Inn. Crowded within the archive’s sunny annex is a wealth of lore, legend and memorabilia reflecting the rich heritage of the area, and, in particular, its unrivaled golf pedigree. The foundation of the collection centers on James Walker Tufts of Massachusetts, who purchased a barren patch of pines in 1895, then envisioned and developed a resort he named Pinehurst. Numerous display cases preserve and detail early construction, community life and the architectural charm of the first cottages. Even the original drawing of the layout of the village by Frederick Law Olmsted, also the designer of New York’s Central Park, is offered for study.
But for the golfer, this is an opportunity to revel in the history and tradition of a place that had a profound influence on the early development of golf in the United States. As noted writer Herbert Warren Wind observed, “The game of golf in Pinehurst was nurtured in a fashion that occurred nowhere else in America…” This impact reveals itself in everything from classic hickory shaft clubs to a photographic homage to the caddies who guided players down the fairway from the resort’s earliest days to the present. Ever wondered about the origins of the whimsical “Putter Boy” that has become the iconic image of Pinehurst Resort? You’ll discover the story here, along with photos of the many golf legends who challenged the area’s numerous courses over the decades. And a sizable collection of golf books makes for wonderful browsing.
The Tufts Archives also is the singular place where devotees of Donald Ross can feel the touch of the master designer’s hands. A showpiece of the collection is the compilation of more than 300 of the architect’s original field sketch sets and course layouts, along with detailed studies of bunker and green designs. Having put his pencil to over 400 golf courses in North America, the archive’s files are the starting point for virtually any restoration project, with the game’s top contemporary designers coming here to pore over the drawings in order to understand the original intentions and hopefully reclaim them.
“We have the serious students of Ross who come to study his work,” says executive director Audrey Moriarty. “But we also have the visitor who is a member of a club with a Ross course, or has played one of his classics and just wants to see the origin.”
Just outside the archive’s back door, there’s even a sand green of the type originally used on the courses in Pinehurst. And roughly a long-iron away is legendary Pinehurst No. 2, the ultimate handiwork of Ross that now has been lovingly restored to his original vision. But if you want to really see the bones, the Tufts Archives is the place to begin.
By Gary Carter
By Gary Carter
added: October 7, 2011
updated: October 7, 2011