The Forecaddie always loves a national championship in the greater Pinehurst area, and while another U.S. Women’s Open at beloved Pine Needles is hardly a shocker, there will be more intrigue now that a 2022 date has been confirmed by the U.S. Golf Association.
As he did at the must-play Mid Pines Golf Club, 36-year-old architect Kyle Franz is bringing some artisanal pine and sand infusion fun back to Donald Ross’ 1928 Pine Needles design. Not that there was anything wrong with the course restored about 15 years ago by John Fought, but with everything going on in the neighborhood, Pine Needles was starting to lack a certain visual sizzle that you can only find in the sandhills of North Carolina.
“They did a nice job with the restoration 10 years ago,” Franz told Pinehurst area historian Lee Pace of Fought’s work. “We’re trying to maximize the hole locations and trying to get a few more of the smaller-scale elements, the horse-and-blade detailing like you see at Mid Pines. It’s hard to get those nuances and flairs with a dozer.”
The 2022 U.S. Women’s Open will be the courses seventh USGA championship and record fourth U.S. Women’s Open. The longtime home of golf great Peggy Kirk Bell, the Franz work will get its first test at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open in 2019.
“We are thrilled to bring another U.S. Women’s Open to one of the most respected courses in the United States,” said Stuart Francis, USGA Championship Committee chairman. “Three great USGA champions have conquered the ultimate test in women’s golf at Pine Needles, and we look forward to adding the 77th U.S. Women’s Open champion to that illustrious list.”
In addition to Cristie Kerr’s Open victory in 2007, Pine Needles hosted wins by Karie Webb in 2001 and Annika Sorenstam in 1996. With such a roster of winners and now a little more visual intrigue, June 2-5, 2022 can’t come soon enough for The Man Out Front.