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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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"Sometimes," one of the oldtimers said, "a player in a cart will ask, 'Did you see my ball?' A couple of us have said, 'Why don't you ask your caddie?'

"The cart can't find a ball. It can't tell you what club to use and it can't help you read the green. There's a lot of advantages to having a caddie that can caddie," he said.

Like Pete Tufts, I always carried my own bag. My economy golf included a ploy for not paying greens fees. With friends of mine I'd walk out to the old starter, engaging him in conversation. Smiling in his snap-brim houndstooth hat, he would not mention the lack of a ticket on my bag. We thought we had fooled him, but I wonder.

When I was a little older I met Deke Palmer, Arnold's father, at the Manor Hotel, one of the independent hotels in the town. "Boy," he said, "you've got a hand just like Arnie's." I never shook hands with Arnie, though, partly because as a pro he was seldom there after his college days at nearby Wake Forest—the old exclusivity rule.

"Pinehurst just won't be exclusive anymore," says one of the Millionaire Hill gang. "I imagine they'll take anyone now." He had a NIXON NOW sticker on his Rolls-Royce.

William H. Maurer, 38-year-old Diamondhead president, contends that this impression is accurate. He has been asked who he plans to sell his land to, and he says the question bothers him. He says he will not make artificial barriers for blacks, Jews or "99ers." the guys who come down on a package weekend.

"When they're in town," says a member of the Tin Whistles, an invitation-only club within the country club, "you can't keep combs or Vitalis in the locker room."

Bill Maurer, who appears to use a little hair tonic himself, says, "There are a lot of people in this country who have worked hard to earn their money, and they deserve a place to spend it." He makes it sound a little like land reform. He acknowledged during an interview that his salesmen have a composite picture of their customer: he wears a hard hat, carries a hammer in his belt and has a lunch box full of money. They call him Joe Lunchbucket.

I asked one of Maurer's salesmen to show me the condominiums. We got into his Cadillac and drove out past Quail Hill. When I lived in Pinehurst, Quail Hill was Blacktown, and we called it Smoke. It was scrunched down behind a railroad underpass and to the left of the 18th fairway of No. 3. In a single gesture toward progress the Tuftses had built $70,000 condominiums there in the late'60s. The families were put through a kind of rural removal operation. They were allowed to take their Pinehurst-owned shacks for the price of having them moved.

The salesman drove on, anticipating questions about the local weather. I did not explain my own knowledge of the area.

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