The Norman Transcript

Sports

June 12, 2014

Native vegetation gives Pinehurst much different look for major

(Continued)

PINEHURST, N.C. —

“It’s different,” Billy Hurley III said coming off the putting green. “Never played a gold course like it. It’s cool.”

Danesha Seth Carley, an assistant professor of crop science at North Carolina State University, assisted on the restoration. That work began in February 2010 with an ecological survey that studies what types of plants were growing here, figuring out which were ones that the course wanted to keep, which they wanted to remove and which they wanted to relocate.

Carley said that most of the course’s 75 identified plant species are native to the region. That makes them easier to grow, while having natural areas means Pinehurst Resort officials use less water than they would to make grass grow thick and high in the rough.

Carley is hoping that that Pinehurst’s changes will stand out this weekend and during the U.S. Women’s Open next week.

“We hope that everybody will see these practices can really enhance the look of a course — the sustainability element, the economics, but really start to educate people that these aren’t weeds,” Carley said. “Some of these really desirable species, it’s just we have to sort of modify the way we think about them.”

Ogilvie liked the new look. He pointed to the green conditions down the driving range — minus those natural rough areas — and called them unsustainable long term for the sport.

“They planted a lot of that stuff so they want it to be there,” he said. “... When you put me in that native area, it fools me into a false sense of, “OK, I can hit a certain shot out of this.’ I probably can’t, but when you start putting questions in the golfer’s mind, that’s when chaos happens.

“I think that’s fun to watch for the viewers, it’s fun to watch for the spectators. It’s miserable for us because it adds a whole different element.”

 

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