Eight is apparently not enough for Pinehurst Resort & Country Club.
The resort will acquire National Golf Club, which features a Jack Nicklaus signature design course, pending a 70-day due-diligence period and approval by members and boards of both clubs.
While National would join Pinehurst’s iconic roster of eight numbered courses, Jay Biggs, Pinehurst Resort’s senior vice president of golf and club operations, wrote in a March 14 email to members that National and Pinehurst No. 7 would be combined to create a 36-hole private club “within a club.”
“It will be a premier club like no other in the country,” Biggs wrote. “Our amenities will be second to none. We’re very excited about the concept.”
For Pinehurst, the deal represents an opportunity to add value and amenities for its members. If approved, No. 7 members would have access to National’s pool and tennis facilities at no extra cost. Pinehurst Country Club also has plans to build a $4 million swimming complex near the member’s clubhouse after Course No. 2 hosts the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open on successive weeks in mid-June.
The deal also comes at a time when National has been “challenged to maintain membership sales, which has led to a pattern of stagnant growth and reduced revenues,” wrote Claudia Robinette, president of National Golf Club Inc., in an email to National members.
Robinette’s email also said that National’s golf course maintenance budget would to be increased by $250,000 annually and that $1 million be earmarked for a clubhouse renovation. Not known is whether National would keep its current name, join the series of numbered courses or renamed. Also under consideration is a direct access road between the two clubs.
National Golf Club, according to The Pilot newspaper in Southern Pines, would retain the villas and residential lots associated with the club.
“To be a part of one of the strongest brands in the industry will help National reach its full potential and create lasting value for the members and their property,” Robinette wrote. “We believe (the deal) will enhance the value of real estate within the club.”
National opened in 1989, and measures 7,150 yards from the championship tees. The greens were updated in spring 2012.
“I think when you play this course, you’re getting a true sense of what golf is like in the Sandhills region,” said Tom Parsons, National’s director of golf, in an April 2013 interview with Triangle Golf.
The last course addition for Pinehurst was the opening of No. 8 in 1996, a decade after No. 7 debuted.