Donald Ross is a presence at Pine Needles.
Kelly Miller can still see his mother-in-law, the late great Peggy Kirk Bell, working her magic at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, spreading the game and the joy of life like she was sprinkling pixie dust on the thousands of guests to her corner of heaven in the North Carolina sandhills.
Bell was many things – a pioneer in women’s professional golf, an exceptional teacher and her own pilot for a time – but more than anything she was a joyful force of nature, living 95 years until her death in 2016.
Peggy Kirk Bell Photo: USGA
She is why the U.S. Women’s Open came to Pine Needles for the first time in 1996 and has made three subsequent return visits, the latest coming this week as the USGA seeks a champion to stand alongside Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb (2001) and Cristie Kerr (2007) as winners in this golf-happy place.
“It’s a tribute to (Bell) and the community and the state,” said Miller, president of Pine Needles, which also owns Mid Pines Inn & Golf Club and Southe...
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