Golf House Pinehurst makes debut

Golf House Pinehurst, home to the World Golf Hall of Fame, a research and test center and several immersive displays in the USGA Experience, opened last week, a month before the club hosts the US Open. (Photo courtesy USGA

A month before it became the center of the golf world’s attention, Pinehurst became golf’s home.

With Pinehurst No. 2 getting finishing touches in advance of hosting next month’s U.S. Open, the USGA opened Golf House Pinehurst.

Located near the golf resort’s main clubhouse, Golf House is a sprawling seven”-acre campus that will serve as home to the World Golf Hall of Fame, the USGA Experience and several other attractions. It will also serve as the home office for more than five dozen USGA staffers.

Plans for Golf House were first announced in 2020, when Pinehurst was awarded five future US Opens—this year’s event being the first.

“It’s a great fit, for the USGA to be located in the home of American golf,” then USGA CEO Mike Davis said at the time.

“When I joined the USGA, I shared with our internal teammates that while the USGA will always celebrate history, we’re not going to be afraid to make some. Today is proof positive that we’re just getting started,” Mike Whan, current CEO of the USGA, said at last week’s Grand Opening Celebration. “In four years, we’ve gone from vision to reality, and achieving this important milestone is the action of more than a visitor, but a neighbor. Together, we’re going to do great things for the good of the game that will live on for another 20, 50 years and beyond.”

Two years after the initial announcement, the World Golf Hall of Fame announced that it was relocating to Golf House as well, returning to its roots. The Hall began as a privately operated hall of fame, run by Pinehurst management, in 1974. The PGA took over operation of the hall in 1983, and it relocated to St. Augustine Florida in 1998.

“There’s no better connection to golf’s past, present and future than Pinehurst, and no organization that works harder than the USGA to preserve the history of this great game,” Whan said in a statement at the time. “We look forward to celebrating the greatest moments and golf’s greatest athletes by including the World Golf Hall of Fame as an important part of our new Pinehurst home. Simply put, it just makes sense.”

Among the pieces of golf history earmarked for the Pinehurst hall are

  • Johnny Miller’s clubs, ball and champion’s gold medal from the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont, where he shot a record 63 in the final round
  • Shirt worn by Annika Sorenstam in the first round of the 2003 Colonial, becoming the first woman to play in a PGA Tour event since 1945
  • Compass, slide rule and bifocals used by Donald Ross
  • Jack Nicklaus’ MacGregor golf bag from the 1965 Masters
  • Golf bag and clubs used by Lorena Ochoa to win the 2008 British Women’s Open, her first major victory
  • Spalding 2-wood used by Bob Jones
  • Wedge used by Seve Ballesteros to win the 1979 Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, his first of five major titles
  • 1922 PGA Championship trophy and 1935 Masters champion plaque from Gene Sarazen, the first player to complete the professional career Grand Slam

To mark the 50th anniversary of the World Golf Hall of Fame, the induction ceremony will be held at Pinehurst on June 10. Hosted by Darius Rucker, the induction class includes Padraig Harrington, Sandra Palmer, Johnny Farrell, Beverly Hanson, Tom Weiskopf and the 13 LPGA Founders

The World Golf Hall of Fame is located on the second floor of Golf House Pinehurst. On the ground floor, visitors will find the USGA Experience, an immersive and interactive view of golf and the USGA’s work to unify, showcase, govern and advance the game.

It includes museum galleries, films on past USGA championships and an area devoted to The Science of Golf, exploring the physics of the game and the data involved.

The nod to science is significant, since Golf House is also home to the USGA’s research and test center, where ball and club design technology will be conducted. The campus also has a restored long-leaf pine forest, as well as a gift shop where fans can purchase USGA merchandise.

According to the USGA, “Independent studies estimate that the total economic impact of the USGA’s long-term presence in Pinehurst, combined with the USGA championships it will bring as a designated anchor site, will exceed $2 billion to the state of North Carolina.” That includes the revenue generated by tourism at Golf House, as well as the impact of future tournaments hosted by Pinehurst as a result of the partnership.