The U.S. Golf Association has secured a conditional rezoning allowing it to build its second headquarters planned off of Carolina Vista Drive in Pinehurst.

Its application to rezone 6.3 acres on the current Pinehurst Country Club campus from Hotel and Office Professional to a Village Mixed Use conditional district went before the Village Council, and all five council members voted to approve it.

The project known as “Golf House Pinehurst” involves a pair of two-story buildings totaling just over 40,000 square feet: a combination welcome center and museum as well as a testing facility for golf equipment.

Last September the USGA announced it would develop a second headquarters in Pinehurst in an effort to champion and advance the game. Pinehurst Country Club will also serve as the USGA’s first “anchor” site for the U.S. Open, with championships scheduled in 2024, 2029, 2035, 2041 and 2047.

The project represents a partial relocation of the U.S. Golf Association’s base operations from its current headquarters in Liberty Corner, New Jersey. That shift will bring the USGA Foundation and championships team as well as its management of its turfgrass agronomy section to Pinehurst.

The new Pinehurst testing center is where the USGA will ensure that all golf balls and clubs manufactured in the United States comply with its regulations on size, weight and performance specifications. That’s been one of the organization’s key functions since the early 20th century.

The USGA requires that golf balls be tested, and Rand Jerris, the USGA’s senior management director of public services, said that most manufacturers also submit prototypes of the golf clubs they’re developing.

“The idea here is to protect the fundamental challenge and nature of the game,” Jerris said.  “We want to make sure that technology doesn’t replace skill as the fundamental determinant of a golfer’s success.”

“We know that locating some of our mission-critical activities here in Pinehurst will make them better and make them stronger, because this is a community whose heart and soul are connected to the game,” said Jerris.

Along with the rezoning, the Village Council approved a general concept plan for the USGA site. The Golf House Pinehurst project has been considered in tandem with The Lodge at Pinehurst, a 36-room boutique hotel overlooking the resort’s Cradle short course, all along. The village approved the rezoning for the Lodge project back in June.  Both projects are planned along a similar timeline, to be up and running in time for the 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2.

(Original article by Mary Kate Murphy, The Pilot)