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USGA moving museum, two departments to Pinehurst

USGA moving museum, two departments to Pinehurst

USGA Museum Golf

Arnold Palmer memorabilia, including a cardigan sweater, hat and golf clubs, on display in the U.S. Golf Association museum before it reopened in 2008.

The United States Golf Association Golf Museum and Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History is moving to Pinehurst Resort along with two other departments of one of the most powerful organizations in the sport.

The moves of the museum, the ball-testing facility and the agronomy department from headquarters in Liberty Corner, N.J., were confirmed Tuesday evening when the USGA revealed its plans to the Village of Pinehurst town council in a hearing.

The USGA said it will have a $25 million campus and it plans to fit it in the community.

A news conference at the Pinehurst Resort to make a formal announcement is expected Wednesday morning.

In exchange for up to $43 million in incentives from N.C. lawmakers to the USGA, golf fans in the state can expect to see more USGA events, including its most high-profile, played more often in North Carolina. Legislation requires the USGA to host a major men's championship at least once every five to seven years and one major women's championship at least every 10 years.

The 2022 U.S. Women’s Open is scheduled for Pine Needles in Southern Pines, and the 2024 U.S. Open was previously announced for Pinehurst No. 2. The events were played at No. 2 on back-to-back weeks in 2014.

One of the components to the contract that will tie the USGA to Pinehurst Resort is that the U.S. Open would be held at No. 2 five times between 2024 and 2047. The next time the U.S. Open is at No. 2 will be 2024.

The USGA, which also plays host to the U.S. men’s and women’s amateurs and conducts 14 national championships that also includes the U.S. Senior Open, was formed in 1894 as the governing body of golf in the country and helps interpret the game's rules along with The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.

The move is expected to produce $800 million in economic benefit over 10 years and create more than 50 jobs for the Pinehurst/Southern Pines area. According to the bill, the average salary could be $80,000 for at least 35 of those jobs.

Pinehurst resident Molly Rowe, who was given an award for her outstanding work within the community during the meeting, was thrilled with the announcement.

"I'm so excited about this and all I can say is welcome to Pinehurst,” Rowe said.

The museum, first built in 1919, is a massive tribute to the long history of golf and what the USGA stands for.

In 2008 after the museum was closed for extensive renovations, it re-opened with the Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History, which was an additional 5,000 square feet of new exhibition galleries, a research center and technologically advanced storage rooms.

The entire museum is about 16,000 square feet and features the history of the game on display in videos, exhibits and other prominent golf artifacts. Its Pinehurst home would likely be near the tennis courts.

The museum collection includes more than 70,000 cataloged artifacts, close to 1 million photographs, 100,000 library items and 200,000 hours of video footage. The museum displays more than 2,000 of these one-of-a-kind items in its interactive multimedia exhibits, including artifacts such as Bobby Jones' putter "Calamity Jane II," Ben Hogan's 1-iron from the 1950 U.S. Open, the "Moon Club" and items from Annika Sorenstam and Tiger Woods.

The museum also has rooms celebrating Jack Nicklaus and Mickey Wright.

Pinehurst was home to the World Golf Hall of Fame from 1971 through the late 1990s before it moved to Florida.

According to the bill, the USGA would invest at least $5 million into the project by the end of 2023 and would be required to build at least two buildings of 30,000 square feet.

The Pinehurst Resort likely will benefit significantly. Cottages could be built to replace the croquet courts near in front of The Cradle, a nine-hole par-3 course built by designer Gil Hanse in April 2018.

The resort has nine courses and is one of the top golf destinations in the country.



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