The Original Pinehurst No. 3

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Since the more intangible dimension is such a key element of this story let’s have a look at an example which may help put this elusive aspect in a framework which makes the subject a bit more comprehensible. In this case, a consideration of how this dynamic plays out at St. Andrews would illustrate it best.

Why do you think thousands of people travel thousands of miles and spend thousands of their hard earned each year in St. Andrews? Do you think it is just for the incomparable nuances of the course alone?

Let’s hypothetically say a precise replica of the old course magically sprung up on some suitable shoreline far away from Scotland…but without the epic narrative – the mythic dimension. No ecstatic matador putts by Seve, no Old Tom Morris keeping a watchful, grandfatherly eye on his beloved home, no Bobby Jones being hoisted by the citizens of golf’s epicenter…

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The hypothetical course would be a very good experience – but it would not even be remotely close to experiencing the authentic venue. Such stories – and innumerable others – naturally accumulate and weave themselves together to create a pervasive ambiance which profoundly affects those who make the pilgrimage. Actually, the potency is of such an uncommon order that it often reaches even those far beyond the shore lines of the original home. It even reaches those entirely outside the world of golfing.

These rather etheric matters are not so easy to define – but they are quite easy to sense – and their value to the health of the individual may not be appreciated to the level it warrants.

It is a core element of the sport. Yet it receives a scant amount of discussion. It is from this region that the loftier parts of the game arise. An enmeshment with the larger story evokes enormously life enriching qualities in the participant. Think about someone standing still for a moment on one of those ancient greens waiting for their partner to putt out with a breeze from the bay rising and making its way along the old gray town – seagulls in the distance. It is a sublime experience but one which buffets the spirits of the individual for the rest of their days.

Actually, it is not necessary to comprehend this spellbinding quality. Simply experiencing it is what it is really about. However, as relates to this story, it is important to realize that the extra-ordinary experience requires certain elements to be present. In the highest order of these experiences you will find the beguiling remnants of stories which define the place. The stories which reach back to antiquity give the place a resonance which can not be manufactured or duplicated – even by the very best of designs. The best of designs will give you a fabulous experience that leaves little to be desired but they will not have that certain unquantifiable sense that can only be found among links that are enriched with the folk tales and the myths. A place where this element is central to the experience offers the golfer something that is as valuable as it is rare.

Although no other course can touch the St. Andrews experience, there are a few in the States which echo to some degree that mythic aspect of the one and only. Pinehurst is one of the handful which possesses a fulfilling amount of that ambiance which can only be found among those places who’s memory is abundant with dense layers of compelling folklore. And so, in the long run that is something for the resort to retain, polish and be kept at the center of the considerations which will inform the inevitable progression through future decades.

By navigating the way through those future decades with this as a primary guide point there will be returns of incalculable benefit not only to the club and its visitors – but also to the many who for whatever reason remain at a distance…in a physical sense. There must surely be any number of enthusiasts in some of the more remote corners who love the sport and dream of it and are as captivated by it as anyone. Pinehurst is for them too. Just as are all the other immortal golfing points which make up the larger story. A story which exerts a mysterious power to enliven individuals in a manner not quite like anything else.

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THE END