By Todd Cohen
PINEHURST, N.C. — In 1907, Pinehurst was at the forefront of three movements in the United States – the game of golf, recreational resorts and company towns.
That year saw the opening of Pinehurst No. 2, a golf course designed by Donald Ross, a Scot who had settled outside Boston and been invited by Pinehurst founder James Walker Tufts to help him develop a golf community in the Sandhills.
This year, the centennial of Pinehurst No. 2, the Tufts Archives at the Given Memorial Library has launched a campaign to raise $1 million to support the archives, which have the mission of preserving the history of Pinehurst and the legacy of Ross.
Founded by Tufts in 1895 as a health spa for people suffering from consumption, as tuberculosis then was known, Pinehurst quickly became populated with people from the Northeast looking for recreation during the long stays required for their recuperation, says Audrey Moriarty, executive director of the library and archives.
Bit by the golf bug that was taking root in the Northeast, she says, guests brought their clubs to the spa and wandered into nearby cow pastures to hit golf balls.
Fearing the golfers would interfere with local milk production, Tufts in 1897 built nine holes and, because of growing demand, continued to add more.
By 1900, with the discovery that consumption was contagious, the Tufts family had banned consumptives and shifted the focus of Pinehurst from a health spa to a recreational resort, one of the first in the United States, Moriarty says.
Also by that time, wanting high-quality courses, Tufts had asked Ross to help plan a course.
Ross began living and working in the village part of each year and eventually lived and worked there year-round until his death in 1948.
Pinehurst No. 2 is one of over 400 courses throughout the United States, most of them east of the Mississippi River, that he is credited with having designed or revised.
Including Ross’ correspondence, his course layouts — some of which are five-feet long — and his sketches for holes on the courses, the archives house over 100,000 photographic images and at least 300,000 documents.
Other documents include brochures, advertising copy, restaurant menus, business ledgers and employee records for Pinehurst, a sole proprietorship that was run by three generations of the Tufts family until 1970, when the resort property was sold to Diamondhead Corp.
In 1982, a bank consortium took control and, in 1984, sold the property to Club Corporation of America, which recently sold most of the properties and assets after the death two years ago of the company’s owner.
His son, Robert H. Dedman Jr., now owns the resort.
Funds raised through the centennial campaign will support the $2.2 million endowment for the library and archives.
Income from the endowment helps cover the annual budget of $225,000 for the two entities.
Each year, they also aim to raise $50,000 though a fundraising letter; generate $40,000 to $45,000 from the sale of books that are donated or discarded by libraries, and another $20,000 from the sale of images and prints; and receive $20,000 in unrestricted gifts and $10,000 from the Village of Pinehurst.
Moriarty says the endowment at its current level would support the library and archives for less than 10 years, and additional funds are needed to support efforts to digitize the collection and make it available online.
Peter Holmes, a retired corporate executive and federal official who is coordinating the centennial campaign, has sent letters to the general managers of 150 country clubs designed by Ross, asking them to inform their members about the archives and the campaign.
Holmes also has sent letters to 100 professional golfers connected with Pinehurst No. 2 and to 200 corporate CEOs that Golf Digest magazine last year reported had the lowest golf handicaps, plus a news release to golf associations and groups.
“We saw this opportunity to broaden public awareness of the Tufts Archives and the importance of the archives to preserving the legacy of Donald Ross,” Holmes says.