Pinehurst made a splash last week by announcing that architect Tom Doak and his firm Renaissance Golf Design are set to build the resort’s 10th course. The course will be built on a 900-acre site the resort owns in neighboring Aberdeen, North Carolina. Some of the land was once home to The Pit, a Dan Maples design that shuttered in 2010. The plan has construction finishing in the fall of 2023 and the course receiving some play in 2024.
This is a great move for Pinehurst as the new design will continue to diversify the resort’s offerings. On top of owning a few Donald Ross designs, including one of his best in No. 2, the resort will now also boast a Gil Hanse redesign No. 4, a Tom Doak original in No. 10, and a Fazio designed No. 8, if that’s your kind of thing. What this will do is continue to extend guest trips and keep them from wandering over to Pine Needles or Tobacco Road.
The hire of Doak was met with near universal praise aside from some skepticism from golf architecture fans who long for a young architect to get a big shot. Pinehurst is in an enviable position where every golf architect will drop everything to work there. The resort’s marketing budget and bevy of USGA championships create an exposure opportunity matched by only Dream Golf and Pebble Beach. An analogy I would use to explain this is if you were a college football program and could hire any coach in America, you’d be crazy not to hire someone like Nick Saban or Kirby Smart over an up-and-comer. This job, an opportunity to build a new course from scratch at Pinehurst on dramatic sandy land, isn’t one where a young and arguably unproven architect would ever get the shot. Just like if Alabama were hiring a new coach, a proven track record at a high level would be required. This is the space where Pinehurst operates and what they attract.
This job was between Tom Doak, Coore & Crenshaw, and Gil Hanse. Of that group, the resort worked with Coore & Crenshaw on the restoration of No. 2 and Hanse on the redesign of No. 4, so adding Doak to its roster of architects was a no-brainer. With 900 acres on hand, I wouldn’t be surprised to see C&C or Hanse, or both, get a crack at new builds in the future. If you want one of the younger solo architects to work at Pinehurst, I think the more likely opportunity would be an overhaul of one of older courses such as Nos. 5, 6, 7 or 9, where the stakes would be lower than a new build.
Also, the Doak hiring does have an up-and-comer storyline that’s exciting and worth extolling. Long-time associate Angela Moser, a rare woman in the golf architecture industry, will be running the project for Doak. This is the first time that Moser will be the lead on a project. She is a potential star in the golf course architecture industry. With Doak and Moser at the helm, Pinehurst has both one of the best living architects with a proven track record and a potential star of the future.
Tom Doak and Angela Moser on the Pinehurst No. 10 site. Photo credit: Pinehurst Resort
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