What does it take to prep Pinehurst No. 2 for the U.S. Open? The superintendent explains.

Pinehurst No. 2 in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C.

As the championship approaches, the fairways firm up and the greens get faster on the famous Donald Ross design.

Joann Dost

“There is golf and there is tournament golf, and they are not at all alike.”

Bobby Jones was referring to the way the game is played, but he could have been speaking of course preparation. For maintenance crews, there’s nothing like the run-up to a big event.

Consider what’s transpiring at Pinehurst No. 2, host of next week’s U.S. Open.

scenic shot of pinehurst no. 2 payne stewart statue
9 lessons from a hacker playing U.S. Open host Pinehurst No. 2
By: James Colgan

As the centerpiece of a popular resort, the course receives meticulous year-round attention. But staging a national championship is something else again. It requires next-level TLC.

“It’s our Super Bowl,” says course superintendent John Jeffreys.

What does it take to prep for golf’s version of the Big Game? 

Enough painstaking effort that late last month, No. 2 shut down for resort play so that Jeffreys and his team could start dialing in the final details: firming up fairways, speeding up greens, ensuring the consistency of bunker sand, and more. On the day the course closed, GOLF.com was on site to track the transition.

With our cameras trained on them from dawn to dusk, Jeffreys and assistant superintendent David Chrobak walked us through their ramped-up maintenance practices and the reasoning behind them. They even explained the temporary relocation of the famed Payne Stewart stature from its customary place behind the 18th green. You can watch the video here.

Josh Sens

Golf.com Editor

A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.