Excitement builds in Pinehurst as construction ramps up ahead of 2024 U.S. Open

Sean Coffey Image
Thursday, April 18, 2024
Excitement builds in Pinehurst for 2024 U.S. Open
Construction is underway to help Pinehurst Resort accommodate the hundreds of thousands of golf fans coming to watch the U.S. Open later this year.

PINEHURST, N.C. (WTVD) -- It's less than 2 months until the U.S. Open returns to Pinehurst Resort in Moore County, and excitement is not the only thing building at the legendary resort.

Work is quickly picking up to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of people expected to descend on the town, which hasn't hosted the Open since 2014.

"It's much bigger than just the U.S. Open," said Kevin Drum, owner of the Drum & Quill Public House in Pinehurst.

Drum has owned the Drum & Quill since 2014, a venture he founded in honor of his father, Bob Drum, a famed golf writer who grew close with some of the game's top names. Now, Kevin hopes his pub -- and other locally owned businesses in Pinehurst -- will become watering holes for the hundreds of thousands of people set to descend on the town.

"It's electric. It's an electric feeling," he said of the vibe in town when the U.S. Open is being played.

At the resort, construction is well underway -- everything from grandstands to hospitality tents to new entrances for patrons.

"We start construction every year at the beginning of March and it'll be down to the last minute in June, and then we get off the property closer to August," said Jack Mitchell, Manager of U.S. Open Operations for the USGA. "So it takes a little time."

Part of that construction is turning Pinehurst's Maniac Hill into "Fan Central" for the tournament -- a place for patrons to gather, eat, drink and watch golf -- as well as paving over the 18th fairway of Pinehurst #1 to build out the main public entrance for the tournament.

"You can't drive through the village, you can't drop off your kid in the morning without seeing it start to come to life, whether it be the merchandise pavilion or just some of the vendor trucks coming in," said Julia Pine, USGA's Director of Communications. "It really takes over the community and it helps build that kind of buzz and excitement."

Down the road in Carthage, big changes have been made at the Moore County Airport since the tournament was last hosted, too.

"We've added a couple of new hangars in the last few years and more ramp area for aircraft, more aircraft ramp space," said Rick Cloutier, the airport's director.

Cloutier said those upgrades will be essential for the thousands of private jets taking off and landing during U.S. Open week.

"It's a 500% increase, over a normal week compared to that same week in June," he said.

The USGA estimates as many as 250,000 people will flood the area during U.S. Open week, driving hundreds of millions of dollars in total economic impact. This year, they've pushed the rope lines closer to play for fans and improved hospitality tents.

The U.S. Open will be back at Pinehurst #2 in 2029, 2035, 2041 and 2047.