Pinehurst and Southern Pines Community Information

Located halfway between New York and Florida and halfway between the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean in Moore County, the Sandhills area is within a few hours drive of the metropolitan cities of Raleigh (the state capital) or Charlotte, the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean or the Appalachian Mountains. The area is readily accessible, as more than 50% of the country's population lives within 500 miles of the borders of North Carolina.

Tufts vision for Pinehurst was formed during a visit to Moore County. Tufts had found this parcel of land owned by Henry A. Page of Aberdeen. The land was bare, stripped of its pines for turpentine, tar, and timber. Tufts and Page agreed on the price, the then outrageous price of $1 per acre. Page was said to have felt guilty about the price for the barren land. He did not have the vision Tufts had; neither did any of the other locals foresee the value or the future of this timber-cut land.

Tufts wanted the new town designed on the theme of a New England village. Pinehurst's first hotel, The Holly Inn, opened for visitors in December of 1895. It had only been seven months since Tufts first saw the spot he named Pinehurst. It took only five additional years for Tufts to complete and open his new impressive hotel, The Carolina. Activities for guests included playing cards, dancing, taking walks, and carriage trips. In the fall of 1897, a visitor brought a set of golf clubs to Pinehurst. Soon there were stories of visitors invading the cow pasture and frightening the cows by chasing little white balls around the pastures. Tufts realized there was a need to strengthen the village's recreational activities. At that time, no one included sports as a drawing card for a resort.

Tufts' idea culminated in the opening of the county's first golf course, Pinehurst No. 1, in 1898. This first course received favorable comments from British golf champion, Harry Vardon, after playing four rounds of golf at Pinehurst in March of 1900. The reputation for outstanding quality of design and condition reflected in Harry Vardon's first compliment grew over the years. A second beneficial result of Vardon's visit was the interest stimulated in local residents for this new sport. A new golf facility needed a golf professional, so in 1900 Tufts looked for a suitable professional and soon hired Donald Ross. The employment of Ross, a young Scotsman, established a bond between Ross and Pinehurst that would last until Ross' death in 1948.

This new game grew in popularity, positioning Pinehurst right on the cutting edge where Tufts wanted it to be. In response to the new golf craze, Ross began an activity that earned him a place in the hearts of loyal golfers forever: he began his career in golf course design. By 1910 Ross was busy designing golf courses not only for Pinehurst but also all over the country. By the time of his death, Ross had worked on more than 600 golf courses. James Tufts had made Pinehurst a shining example for all resort communities to observe and imitate. In the years that followed, golf at Pinehurst gained an international reputation. Visitors from all parts of the country came to Pinehurst and some of them stayed, beginning the trend of choosing the Sandhills as a retirement spot.

In 1996, Pinehurst was designated as a National Landmark for its significant part in the history of golf in the United States. The recognition is especially meaningful for it is the only golf-related designation of its kind in the United States. The Pinehurst Area was able to add another glowing statistic to its credit: in 2000, it was announced that this area was now the No. 3 golf destination in the world.

Today, the population of Pinehurst has grown to well over 16,000 residents. In addition to golf, the area has become well known for its excellent riding and hunting.

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Valerie McKean

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