The best party at this Pinehurst U.S. Open? It’s on tracks and wheels

Pinehurst party train at 2024 U.S. Open

Robert Menzies' party train is parked alongside the driving range at Pinehurst all week.

Sean Zak

Bryson DeChambeau was cooling down on the Pinehurst driving range Friday when Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” cut through the air. 
LIV Golf event? Nope, this was the U.S. Open, where a party train was stationed next to the otherwise all-business practice facility.
ACRW87, The Locomotive Bar, is the brainchild of Robert Menzies, who owns the train and the railroad that runs through the property here at Pinehurst. It’s a project he’s been working on for years, refashioning old train cars into what amounts to open-air lounges with drinks flowing. He doesn’t have a liquor license yet, but he hopes to in the future. For now, his train is the best version of golf-tournament hospitality this writer has ever seen. 
Dewar’s and Sentry Insurance are just two of a handful of USGA partners using the party train in the evenings this week. On Wednesday night, it was rockin’, with more than 40 hospitality guests shaking the top level of the caboose, about 100 yards from U.S. Open competitors polishing their swings. The train isn’t on tournament grounds, but after guests have had a long day in the sun, they’ve been enjoying a steady flow of Bud Light, red wine, Michelob Ultra and Moscow mules — all served out of silver taps with digital readers. Pay for what you pour.

Party train pinehurst
The view from the party train parked near the range at Pinehurst this week. Sean Zak

Though he can’t provide much of an entertainment service to the public now, Menzies hopes the Locomotive Bar will be open to all by the next time Pinehurst hosts an Open, in 2029, where the men and women will play in consecutive weeks. In the meantime, his railway is hosting daily commuter trains from Raleigh, about 70 miles northeast of here. It’s called the “Open Express,” is run by Amtrak, costs $25 for a roundtrip ticket and sits next to the party train. It arrives in the morning and takes off around 6:45 p.m. Menzies promised the USGA no trains would be running during the middle of the day this week, in exchange for ticket to the tournament. An easy swap!

The Open Express sold out almost immediately, Menzies says, because it takes the complications out of tournament commuting. There’s no driving to an off-site parking lot in a field, then boarding a shuttle bus and walking hundreds of yards to a gate, only to orient yourself with the nearest map. This train stops off within steps of Gate 10 and within sight of the clubhouse and range. Plus, there’s no more relaxing of a trip home. 
“You can drink going back, and you can sleep going back,” Menzies says with a smile. “Can’t do that in your car.”

Sean Zak Editor

Sean Zak is a writer at GOLF Magazine and just published his first book, which follows his travels in Scotland during the most pivotal summer in the game’s history.

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