The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, one of the most prestigious awards conferred by the Governor of North Carolina, was presented on March 30th to Patrick A. Corso, Executive Director of Moore County Partners in Progress, to recognize his exemplary service and exceptional accomplishments to the State and for the Sandhills community for the last 35 years. The surprise award presentation followed Partners in Progress’ annual Progress Cup golf tournament and was presented by Christopher Chung, CEO of the state’s Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. He appeared on behalf of Governor Roy Cooper.
Corso arrived in the Pinehurst community in 1986 and served as the General Manager of the Holly Inn. For 17 years, he guided the renaissance of the Pinehurst Resort to its return to glory, including the world and state rankings of Pinehurst’s “crown jewel” No. 2 as the top-rated golf course in North Carolina. He respected the “creed of amateur golf” born in Pinehurst and pinned by Richard Tufts, but was also the leading advocate of the return of professional golf tournaments and championships to the fairways of Pinehurst. His well-respected relationships with international golf industry leaders led to Pinehurst’s hosting more individual golf championships than any golf course in the world, and he was clearly a leading catalyst behind the unprecedented affiliation with New Jersey-based United States Golf Association. This budding relationship resulted in millions of dollars in economic impact for the community and the state of North Carolina.
“Pat was dedicated to preserving the history and traditions that make Pinehurst so special,“ said Tom Pashley, President of Pinehurst Resort. “He used the term ‘historicity’ often when he would speak about the Resort and community, living our history each and every day. His passion, determination and drive were, and still to this day are, second to none.”
Corso has embodied everything a community would want as a leader. He served on numerous committees and boards locally and throughout the state for travel and tourism and economic development. He, along with the late Robert Dedman Sr., was responsible for the creation of the Boys & Girls Club of the Sandhills, benefitting thousands of area kids since its inception. He was responsible, in partnership with the Moore County Commissioners, for the organization of the area Convention & Visitors Bureau and has also been a champion for Moore County Schools for many years.
In 2011, Corso was named Executive Director for Moore County Partners in Progress, extending his passion for the community at large. His focus was to drive new business to Moore County and to North Carolina, which has included the location of the world headquarters for Golf Pride and the U.S. Kids Golf Foundation and their thriving World Championships. Along with the newly-announced satellite headquarters for the USGA, many local economic success stories can be credited to Corso because of his determined efforts on behalf of the community he has grown to love. Earlier this year, Corso announced that he would be retiring at the end of May.
“Pat is well-known throughout the State of North Carolina and is highly respected for his vision and the vigor with which he pursues his vision,” said John May, Attorney and Chairman of the Board for Partners in Progress. “His professional accomplishments are significant, and I know of no other person residing in Moore County that has done more for the community, the Sandhills and the State than Pat.”
Upon being named to The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the honoree receives a certificate signed by the Governor. Corso now carries the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary, privileged to enjoy fully all rights granted to members of this exalted order.
“I am truly humbled and honored to receive the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award from Governor Cooper,” remarked Corso. “It has been a privilege to be part of this wonderful community in North Carolina and I take great pride in calling Pinehurst my home. Moments like these remind me why it is and always will be a beautiful day in Pinehurst.”