Kaye Pierson has been getting a close look at the men’s U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2.

Pierson, who plays golf at Bath Country Club in the summer, works on the grounds crew at architect Donald Ross’ famed No. 2, where the world’s best players are currently vying for our national championship.

Pierson, 58, feels right at home on her Toro TriFlex riding mower, doing her part to keep the course fast, firm and in top condition.

Pierson, a retired nurse, works an early-morning shift, goes home to get some sleep, then returns later in the afternoon to do it all again. Pierson works on the back nine tees, fixes divots and blows away pine needles.

She also takes lots of pictures to capture the essence of the golfing landscape.

For this 114th Open, Pinehurst hired architects Ben Crenshaw (yes, the two-time Masters champion) and Bill Coore to bring No. 2 back to its original design. Crenshaw and Coore studied old aerial photos and Ross’ blueprints to help them. They removed all the rough and replaced it with wire grass, fescue and sand.

It looks more like a British Open than a U.S. Open course, which is known for narrow fairways, thick rough and extremely fast greens. U.S. Open courses are lush. This one has a brown hue on the edges of the fairways.

Pierson loves the changes.

“From an ecological standpoint, it’s more friendly,” she said. “There’s less water being used and mowing being done. It’s nice to have the golf course the way Donald Ross designed it.”

Although the fairways seem wider than other Open venues because of the lack of rough, Pinehurst has its own defenses to give it plenty of bite, namely its crowned greens (think of an inverted cereal bowl) – a Ross trademark. Now, as an added defense, the course has terrain indigenous to the sandhill region of North Carolina with wire grass, scrub and sand off the fairways. It will be interesting to see how the players handle the different Open conditions.

For the past few years, Pierson has worked on the grounds crew during the Masters. She stands above the par-3 12th hole, out of view of the cameras. After the group leaves the green, Pierson makes sure the area is pristine for the next group.

After the men’s U.S. Open ends Sunday, Pierson will be back on her mower doing the same for the Women’s Open. The women are following the men on the same course for the first time.

On her bucket list is to work next year’s British Open at St. Andrews.

After the women’s open, Pierson and her husband will return to Maine for the summer.

Tee to Green: “Due to an unseasonably cold winter and adverse course conditions, the MSGA has had to move (fill in the tournament and course).” That’s been a common phrase on the Maine State Golf Association website this spring because some courses suffered damage to their greens and have had a slow recovery. They’ve had to use temporary greens until the real ones are nurtured back to full health. Some of those greens are open, others are closed.

For those courses that had MSGA tournaments scheduled, the sites were changed to be fair to all the participants.

“Some courses are still hurting,” said Mike Doran of the MSGA. “We had to move tournaments just to be cautious and fair for everyone.”

The MSGA’s website ( www.mesga.org) has the latest tournament site changes.

Garren Poirier of Green Mountain National Golf Club in Killington, Vermont, won the state qualifier for the U.S. Public Links tournament Thursday at the Bath Country Club. Poirier beat Joe Alvarez of North Berwick on the first hole of sudden death with a par after both tied at 3-under 137 after 36 holes. Tommy Stirling of Gorham was third at 143. Twenty-eight players were competing for one spot. This is the last United States Golf Association Public Links Tournament for both men and women. Both tournaments are July 14-19. The men’s will be played in Kansas and the women’s in Washington. In its place, the USGA will conduct a national four-ball championship.

Shawn Warren of Cape Elizabeth was the top Maine finisher in last week’s 105th Massachusetts Open. Warren, an assistant pro at the Falmouth Country Club, tied for 15th with a 54-hole score of 215. Ryan Gay of Pittston tied for 23rd at par 216 and Jeff Seavey of the Samoset Resort tied for 42nd at 4-over 220.

At last Sunday’s state Father and Son championship, Dan and D.J. Honan, and Jim and Scott Stone tied for the overall title with their best-ball gross scores of 75.

Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at

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