Golf’s giant step back

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Golf’s giant step back

PINEHURST, N.C. – With 43 public courses at varying price points within a 15-mile radius, Pinehurst Resort remains the epicenter for golf in North Carolina more than 100 years after visitors starting losing golf balls here.

Pinehurst itself offers eight courses in various styles by several architects, including Tom Fazio and Rees Jones.

The latest innovation, however, is a major shift backward, with the restoration of the Pinehurst No. 2 golf course to designer Donald J. Ross’ original vision.

Now that it’s complete, you may wish to play it before tee times get scarce. This is your chance to play an antique that’s about to feel the golf world’s full embrace.

The U.S. Open will be held at Pinehurst No. 2 on June 12, 2014. Four days after that four-day championship, the U.S. Women’s Open tees off. No course has ever hosted two U.S. majors within two weeks.

Pinehurst, the U.S. Golf Association and the restoration architects, Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, have a lot riding on the debut. One thing a championship golf venue cannot be is a pushover televised worldwide.

Rather than merely add length to Pinehurst No. 2, which is short by modern standards, its owners asked Coore-Crenshaw to find another way.

They pored over aerial photos from the 1940s to strip away later alterations by other architects to uncover Ross’ original design.

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By Dan Vukelich, Special to Tribune Newspapers

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