Pinehurst Resort & C.C. buys Nicklaus-designed National Golf Club, rebrands it Pinehurst No. 9

VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. -- Talk of Pinehurst No. 9 goes back more than a decade.

First it was to be a Rees Jones design. More recently, it was reported that Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw would get a crack at designing the resort's newest course on land adjacent to and shared by the old Pit Golf Course.

Turns out, Pinehurst No. 9 already existed. The resort purchased the nearby National Golf Club, a Jack Nicklaus design dating to 1989. The only Nicklaus course in the Sandhills has been rebranded Pinehurst No. 9 and is immediately open to Pinehurst members. Resort play will begin in July soon after back-to-back men's and women's U.S. Opens on Pinehurst No. 2 in June.

"We're very excited to add this ninth course to our offering and look forward to welcoming National's members to the Pinehurst Resort & Country Club family," Jay Biggs, Senior Vice President of Golf and Club Operations for Pinehurst, said in a statement. "The golf course presents a challenging test in a beautiful setting that complements our eight other courses."

The 7,150-yard National has received mostly positive reviews from users on GolfAdvisor. One reviewer, TSDCRH, who plays to a 5-to-9 handicap gave it four stars and wrote: "The course is very challenging and in great shape. Not your typical Nicklaus course, it really is a fair and forgiving layout. Highly recommend to play if you are in the area."

National Golf Club, bought from the Robinette family who developed it, underwent a renovation in 2012 that softened green contours and re-grassed the putting surfaces with more consistent A1/A4 bentgrass. Pinehurst already plans to upgrade some of the club's amenities -- a 30,000-square-foot clubhouse, five tennis courts, pool, banquet facilities and restaurant. Pinehurst recently completed a $4 million renovation of its own main clubhouse and has plans for an expansive, multi-million-dollar aquatics facility targeted for completion next summer.

The resort -- which opened Pinehurst No. 8 in 1996 -- now boasts courses designed or renovated by Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, Donald Ross, Rees Jones, Ellis Maples and Coore/Crenshaw.

Meanwhile, The Pit, purchased by Pinehurst in 2011, remains closed, although Coore and Crenshaw reportedly have a routing ready if the resort ever wants even more golf.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.

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Pinehurst Resort & C.C. is so in tune with its history, it's almost as if this iconic North Carolina golf resort lives in a time warp. Every move toward the future is made with a nod to the past, as the modern touches have seamlessly been introduced without disturbing the fabric of the resort. Pinehurst is a 2,000-acre tribute to Americana, and it will always be the holiest of grounds for those who worship the game of golf.
The restoration of Pinehurst No. 2 in 2011 has only enhanced the allure of this Donald Ross original. Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw replaced 26 acres of rough with sandy, hardpan waste areas filled with pine needles and hand-planted wiregrass. They used aerial photos from the nearby Tufts Archives as their guide, creating a visually stimulating, more strategic course, ready to host the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open.
The conversion from bentgrass to Champion ultradwarf bermuda grass should help the greens at Pinehurst No. 2 ward off the heat of summer and stay in better shape year-round.
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Pinehurst Resort & C.C. buys Nicklaus-designed National Golf Club, rebrands it Pinehurst No. 9