Local News

Golf Drives to Green in Moore County

Posted June 12, 2007 7:19 p.m. EDT

— Golf has become a huge business in Moore County, where the U.S. Women's Open is preparing to tee off in two weeks and where local residents are already buzzing about the possibility of another men's U.S. Open at the Pinehurst Resort.

Pinehurst No. 2 hosted the U.S. Open in 1999 and 2005, while the Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club has hosted the Women's Open in 1996 and 2001 before this year.

The events score a hole in one for local business, bringing tourists from across the globe and national attention to the small communities in the North Carolina sandhills.

"They're key events. They're the days you circle on the calendar that you're going to be there," said Caleb Miles, president of the Pinehurst-Southern Pines-Aberdeen Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The men's U.S. Open books up about 7,000 hotels rooms across central North Carolina each time it visits Pinehurst. Moore County accounts for about a third of that total.

"It's a huge impact. In '99 and '05, we estimate $100 million in each one of those years," Miles said.

Golf course designer Dan Maples said the tournaments add prestige to the area.

"Since they've been having Opens here, it's brought Pinehurst into the limelight," Mapes said.

Debbie Smith, an avid golfer who sells memorabilia during the tournaments, said locals get excited about hosting the events.

"Pinehurst gets ready for the tournament. We get new brick sidewalks, and everyone gets their house fixed," Smith said. "The impact is huge."

Even newcomers notice the difference a U.S. Open makes.

Phil Giles said "the amount of new restaurants and businesses and things and the popularity of the area" has skyrocketed since he moved to the area after the 2005 U.S. Open.