By David Owen
This year's U.S. Open and the U.S. Women's Open will be held at Pinehurst during consecutive weeks, beginning on June 12 (for the men) and June 19 (for the women). The USGA has never tried that before, although my club has done it successfully with the men's and women's member-guests. Adam Sachs, a reader in Kansas City, recently traveled to Pinehurst with three friends to check things out.
Sachs is the guy in the middle in the photo above. The guy on the left is Steve Swartzman, and the guy on the right is Chip Fleischer, whose 50th birthday was their excuse for taking the trip. They all went to high school together. We haven't met Glenn Jordan, the fourth member of the group, yet, but you get the idea.'[#image: /photos/55ad7235b01eefe207f68cc5]|||Pinehurst flag.JPG|||
From Sachs's report:
Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore happily brought Pinehurst No. 2 back to its sandy Donald Ross roots in 2011. As for its altogether vexing, convex-shaped greens, our caddies Eddie Mac and Jamie liked to say, "Mr. Ross likes you to visit, but he doesn't want you to stay too long." The restored waste areas now define the course as much as the greens. We had top-notch caddies, a sun-drenched afternoon, and nary a gust of wind, so scoring conditions were ripe. I'd like to tell you we all managed to stay in the nineties. But I can't.*
*[#image: /photos/55ad7235b01eefe207f68cc8]|||No 2.JPG|||
Pinehurst No. 2 is definitely bucket-list material, but from now on my destination courses in the area will be Pine Needles and Mid Pines, just five miles down the road. Pine Needles has hosted three U.S. Women's Opens in the past twenty years, yet the clubhouse personnel were low-key and friendly; the practice area was conveniently close to the first tee; and the golf course was full of rolling hills and (of course) pine needles. Our hands-down favorite course of the trip was Mid Pines:
*[#image: /photos/55ad7236b01eefe207f68ccb]|||mid pines.JPG|||
I myself haven't been to Pinehurst in about 10 years, and I want to go back. And here, finally, in the photo below, is Jordan, the fourth man. He's standing with Swartzman, even though the guy he went to college with is Fleischer. Jordan is a sportswriter for the Portland (Maine) Press-Herald.
Sachs also forwarded me an email from Swartzman, whose post-trip reflections support my theory that men get to know each other mainly through parallel play:
As I told Adam in the car (to Adam's relief, driven by someone other than me) on the way home, I'm not sure what I'll say when Evelina asks me what we talked about all weekend. She'll want to know what everyone's doing and how old their kids are, and she'll ask about everyone's health, summer plans, sex lives, etc. Of course, we didn't talk about any of that. Should I tell her about Chip and Adam almost choking at the thought that a waitress had farted after delivering our food (when in fact it was me)? Or about how serious everyone was about taking home a large glass boot? The great thing about gatherings like this is how little we talk about our lives, our cares and concerns, or the future.
I couldn't agree more. They'll be plenty of time for all that other crap in the grave. Meanwhile, check out these urinals:
You can read Adam Sachs's previous trip report, about Sand Hills, here.