Pinehurst readying for golf fans

Feb. 23, 2014 @ 05:00 AM

This week, we Take 5 with Reg Jones, the senior director for the U.S. Open Golf Championships, including the 2014 men’s and women’s events to be held in Pinehurst beginning June 12 this summer. Jones oversees all of the “outside the ropes” functions for the championship, including admissions, corporate hospitality sales, facility setup, security, transportation, volunteers and vendor operations.

A native of Henderson, Jones earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Wake Forest University and a master’s degree in sports administration from Ohio University. He now works out of his office in the Village of Pinehurst, where he resides with his wife, Nicole, and three daughters, Katie, Anna and Lydia.

The last 27 men’s U.S. Open golf championships have been sellouts – meaning all available tickets were purchased before the events began – so the window of opportunity to get the chance to watch the pros at this year’s back-to-back U.S. Open Championships at Pinehurst is closing. The USGA announced this week that “series” ticket packages for the 2014 back-to-back U.S. Open Championships are sold out, but daily and weekly tickets are still available. First off, what are the series packages, and why do you think they sold out so quickly?

The Series Packages included tickets for every day of the two championships, so it was the best package for those planning to come for both weeks and speaks to the level of support that we have come to expect for our championships at Pinehurst.

What are the differences in price and benefits of the daily and weekly tickets – on sale March 1 – and how can they be purchased?

We are still selling two types of tickets – Gallery and Trophy Club. Our Gallery tickets and packages offer access to the general grounds while Trophy Club tickets provide access to our Trophy Club, which is an air-conditioned pavilion that is set up like a food court/sports bar, with food and beverages available at an additional charge. In addition to individual daily tickets, we have various packages available for practice rounds, championship rounds, and for each week, as well as “Good Any Day” tickets for the Women’s Open.

Go to www.usga.org for information about ticketing and ordering.

This year is unique because the men’s and women’s championships are being held on the same course – Pinehurst’s No. 2 – in back-to-back weeks. What unique challenges and opportunities has that presented for the USGA in terms of ticket sales?

We felt flexibility would be important to offer to our spectators, which is why we offered the Series packages and the “Good Any Day” tickets for the week of the Women’s Open.

In its effort to help promote the game, the USGA has typically offered complimentary or discounted tickets to juniors (children ages 17 and under) and active and retired military. What’s being offered to these groups at this year’s championships?

Juniors 12 and under get in free for both weeks when accompanied by an adult ticket holder. Tickets for juniors, between the ages of 13-17, can be purchased at a reduced price at any “will call” or admission gate. Active military receive complimentary gallery tickets for practice rounds, while retired military can purchase gallery tickets for practice rounds at half price at any will call location.

Our area is no stranger to championship golf. This year’s men’s championship will be the third played at Pinehurst No. 2, and the women’s Open has been contested at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, not far from No. 2, three times. What is it about Pinehurst that’s so appealing to the USGA and to golf fans?

As of this June, 12 USGA championships will have been conducted in the Sandhills area over the past 20 years. For our Open championships, it starts inside the ropes, and certainly Pinehurst No. 2 represents the ultimate test to crown our two national champions. Outside the ropes, our past championships at Pinehurst and Pine Needles have always been supported at the highest level with record attendance, record corporate sales and tremendous volunteer support.

Pinehurst is a special place in the world of golf, and the people of North Carolina understand what it means to be conducting our national championships there.