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A DIAMONDHEAD IN THE ROUGH
Fraser Smith
October 29, 1973
A former Pinehurst resident reminisces about the old golfing resort, its traditions and gracious living, and ponders what its purchase by a land developing corporation will to do it
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October 29, 1973

A Diamondhead In The Rough

A former Pinehurst resident reminisces about the old golfing resort, its traditions and gracious living, and ponders what its purchase by a land developing corporation will to do it

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Richard Tufts was quite content with amateur tournaments like the North-South Amateur. The idea that he would lose the North-South must have been particularly hard to bear, and when the town was sold his son Pete tried to retain the rights to the tournament. He failed, and is now convinced that the tournament will be cheapened. He feels the new managers will open it to all comers regardless of handicap and previous record. It is one part of the general democratization that offends the past and its guardians.

My own recollections of the tournament are embedded in images of the golf courses, of the town and its people. One of these was Richard D. (Dick) Chapman Sr., an early golf star. He had Great Gatsby good looks and he won most of the world's major amateur tournaments. But he had not won the North-South on his home course.

Chapman lived in a section of town known by some of us who did not live there as Millionaire Hill. I had watched him practicing two-irons, low and true and falling in a good marksman's pattern. He was part of the scenery in those days, and thus his failure in the North-South was magnified. It was like Sam Snead trying to win the Open or Palmer the PGA. Only it was worse because it was his home course. It brought him down a bit. But he hung in and finally won in 1958. It seemed to me a great accomplishment, given the pressure.

Few will remember him. A few more might remember Frank Stranahan. I do because he went out with my sister's dancing teacher when he was in town and because he couldn't outdrive Ted Robinson. Ted worked for Pinehurst as an assistant greenkeeper. He could knock it out of sight. We used to get him off his mower to hit a few for us. The local story was that Stranahan started lifting weights in an effort to take Ted. It didn't work. Robinson, like most caddies, had a great swing. But he seldom played. He did not have the advantages of a Chapman.

But the caddies did have one perquisite: they had their own water fountains. The caddies' fountains were green. The guests were to drink out of the white ones. I crossed the line with trepidation as a kind of risk-taking. I survived.

This form of Jim Crow and other Pinehurst customs began to fade before Diamondhead arrived. The Old Spider and Fly Inn with its pickled eggs and hot chocolate was gone from the 11th tee of the No. 1 course.

Even the caddies were being replaced.

"I caddie about two days a week and then I let it go," says one 60-year-old. "I work for a local doctor. He plays once or twice a week, and that's what I mostly depend on.

"I don't like to pass a rumor," he says, "but they say [Diamondhead] is featuring the carts. I believe I'd do the same thing. But I don't imagine they'll cut out caddying altogether."

Under the Tuftses there were carts, but to keep some good caddies they instituted a kind of featherbedding: you had to take a caddie with your cart.

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