Donald Ross Masterpiece: A Look at Pinehurst No. 2

BEGINNING NEXT WEEK, PINEHURST NO. 2, often called the home of American golf, will host the 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open in consecutive weeks. Here’s a preview of the famed layout.

Donald Ross Masterpiece: A Look at Pinehurst No. 2 1
(Courtesy of scbluedevil-Flickr)

Course Information

Opened: 1907

Course Designer: Donald Ross


1974 – Robert Trent Jones

2010 – Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw

Director of Golf: Ben Bridgers

Director of Grounds: Bob Farren

Course Superintendent: Kevin Robinson

No. 2 (including scorecard and hole-by-hole tour)

Course Characteristics

Acres: 196

Tees: Tifway Bermuda

Fairways: Tifway Bermuda

Rough: N/A

Greens: A1/A4 Bentgrass

Square Feet of Greens: 115,000

Number of Bunkers: 111


Donald Ross Masterpiece: A Look at Pinehurst No. 2 2
Donald Ross statue


Pinehurst No. 2 is one of America’s most revered golf courses, the site of a slew of prestigious championships throughout its storied history. Amateur and professional golfers can pay homage to Donald Ross, a Scottish golf professional who arrived in the United States in 1899 with $2 to his name.

Employed by Pinehurst founder James Tufts in 1900, Ross, after redesigning No. 1, went to work on his first original course design, No. 2. The Scot imagined and carved 18 holes through the North Carolina sandhills, longleaf pines and wire grasses, creating a layout that would become known as his masterpiece.

The Bermuda fairways of No. 2 are generous in width, especially after a 2010 restoration by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw that removed 35 acres of Bermuda rough. Golfers can say a silent prayer of thanks for this abundance of short grass, for up ahead are Ross’s most notable design feature—the massive, crowned, undulating greens that add so much to No. 2’s fame and also to golfers’ agony.

Ross called No. 2 “the fairest test of championship golf I have ever designed.” By his death at Pinehurst in 1948, Ross had designed or redesigned more than 400 golf courses in North America, but No. 2 rises above them all, first in a vast body of work that put him in the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Noteworthy Pinehurst golfers: Harry Vardon, Bobby Jones, Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Watson, Tiger Woods, Glenna Collett Vare, Babe Zaharias, Patty Berg, Louise Suggs.

Historical Buzz

“The fairest test of championship golf I have ever designed.” –Donald Ross

“There’s something about Pinehurst that tops even the position which it naturally occupies as the St. Andrews of golf. And that is the people you find there, play golf with, and exchange reminiscences with…who always make you feel happily at home.” –Bobby Jones

“My number-one course.” –Sam Snead

“I’ve always thought Pinehurst No. 2 to be my favorite golf course from a design standpoint.”

–Jack Nicklaus

Tournaments and Championships

2014: U.S. Open

2014: U.S. Women’s Open

1999, 2005: U.S. Open

1951: Ryder Cup

1936: PGA Championship

1991, 1992: TOUR Championship

1994: U.S. Senior Open

1962, 2008: U.S. Amateur

1989: U.S. Women’s Amateur

1973-1982: Hall of Fame Classic/World Open

1901-present: North and South Men’s Amateur Championship

1903-present: North and South Women’s Amateur Championship

1902-1951: North and South Open Championship

Photo of author
Neil Sagebiel

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