Golftown Journal

The Short List

Learning how to save shots, and your score

By Lee Pace

Kelly Mitchum is standing front-right of the 10th green at Pinehurst No. 4, his golf ball sitting slightly down in Bermuda rough, a bunker set between him and the putting surface. There’s a good 50 feet of green between the bunker and the cup.

“You can’t assume the only play is the lob wedge just because you’ve got to clear a bunker,” Mitchum says. “You’ve got plenty of room for the ball to run. And you’re going uphill, which will help slow it down.”

Later he’s standing to the right of the 16th green, his ball in light rough 30 feet from the green, with a slight upslope to the putting surface and a pin on the near side of the green.

“Could you putt this?” Mitchum asks. “Yes, you could. This course and No. 2 lend themselves to putting from off the green. Martin Kaymer won the 2014 U.S. Open putting from all over the place.

“The lower the shot, the safer the shot. Always look to go low first.”

Mitchum takes a close look at the pathway a putt would have to take along the turf. “But,” he says, pointing at the grass still glistening with some morning dew, “here I think there’s too much grass to putt through. And it’s a little wet.”

Instead, he takes his 54-degree wedge (the second-most lofted club in his bag, next to the 60-degree), chips the ball into the side slope, watches it bounce and pop up and land gently on the green, well within a putter’s length of making the putt for an up-and-down.

“This is the fun part of golf to me,” he says. “It’s creativity, imagination, strategy.”

Mitchum is leading our group in the Pinehurst Short Game Academy one Friday morning around several holes on the course to illustrate various scenarios golfers find themselves in within 100 yards of the green. The next day, we’ll spend time on course No. 2, the site of three men’s U.S. Opens, a fourth in 2024, and one women’s U.S. Open.

Over the course of two-plus days, Mitchum, the resort’s short-game expert, opens our eyes to a myriad of nuances in reading greens, executing short shots and managing our way around the greens.

To wit:

Grain: Light colored grass or darker?

Sand: Firm packed or fluffy?

Grass: Tight-clipped or longish? Dry or dew-covered?

Green slope: One degree? Two or more?

These questions and more, combined with technique and equipment, blend into the realm of the short game — pitching, chipping, putting and bunker play.

“The short game has been my passion,” says Mitchum, a 23-year veteran of the Pinehurst teaching staff. “Not being super long off the tee, it’s been my way of equalizing and giving me a chance against guys longer off the tee.”

Mitchum went to Pinecrest High School,  played golf at N.C. State, winning the 1991 ACC title, and won the 1993 North and South Amateur. He tried the professional tours for four years and then joined the Pinehurst golf staff in 1998, and while working the resort’s golf schools and giving individual lessons, has found time to play in four PGA Championships and multiple PGA Tour events that come through the Carolinas.

He approached Eric Alpenfels, the resort’s director of golf instruction, in 2017 with the idea of creating a short-game focused school within the Pinehurst Golf Academy.

“It’s been well-received,” Mitchum says. “We’ve pretty much filled up all the short-game availabilities through the summer of 2021.”

Mitchum became a YouTube sensation in July 2015 with a 20-second clip of him striking three right-to-left putts within one second of each other, the balls traveling on different paths and reaching the bottom of the same hole in rapid-fire succession. What made the feat so awe-inspiring is that the third putt hit the hole first, followed by the second, followed by the first.

“There is definitely a huge application from a green-reading standpoint,” Mitchum says of his trick shot, which had more than 100,000 views within six weeks. “It clearly shows you can make a breaking putt on different lines, depending on the speed.”

Green reading is certainly an element of my game I need help with on this July weekend. Over my lifelong golf career, I’ll give a putt a quick plumb-bob and a cursory survey of the green’s landscape, but honestly, I never delved much further.

“You see any young players on the pro tour or amateur golf plumb-bobbing?” Mitchum asks. “Not many. You know why? It doesn’t work very well on a consistent basis.”

Instead, Mitchum teaches learning to feel and read side-to-side break with your feet as well as your eyes. He shows us how to straddle the ball facing the cup and feel which way the ground is sloping.

Next, Mitchum teaches us to take a look at the putt from the low side, about halfway between the ball and the cup; if you determine it’s a right-to-left breaker, stand on the left side.

“If it is, in fact, the low side, you’ll be able to look across the line and see the ground on the other side is higher,” Mitchum says. “You look into the face of the slope and it becomes clear.”

Our putting mechanics are measured and tweaked, and Mitchum follows the green-reading portion with a chapter on speed control.

“No one ever says, ‘I’m going to practice my distance-control putting,’” he says, “but, if forced to say what I think is the most important part of putting, I’d have to lean toward speed control. There are more three-putts because of poor distance control than any other reason.” Once your mechanics and slope-reading skills are honed, distance control is mostly a matter of practice. Mitchum shows us a number of games we can play around the putting green to make it fun and challenging.

“One reason most golfers are bad putters is they don’t practice it,” he says. “And putting practice can get boring. You have to make it interesting and engaging. That’s how you get better.”

Of course, putting is just one element of a comprehensive short-game education. There’s chipping, bunker play and half-wedges. There’s the element of taking it from the practice ground to the golf course. There’s the mind game of figuring airtime, bounce and roll.

Our newfound skills are put to work on The Cradle, the nine-hole par-3 course with holes ranging from 58 to 127 yards. It’s no wonder that Gil Hanse’s creation that opened in 2017 quickly captured Mitchum’s fancy, and he’s taken to playing as many as 30-plus rounds in one day in the annual Winter Solstice Marathon he organizes each December.

“The Cradle’s a lot of fun,” he says. “Every part of your short game gets a test there.”

On the fourth hole, I was 30 feet short of the green and thought I had way too much grass to putt through. I knew a lob wedge wasn’t the play given a fairly tight lie, so I thought of chipping with a 9-iron, landing it short of the green and letting it run up.

I quickly got a lesson in nuance. Contrasting this shot to the one on course No. 4 the day before, Mitchum looked closely at the turf in front of the green. It was almost noon on a sunny day, and the patch had been in sunlight all morning.

“It’s thin and dry,” Mitchum said. “That’s actually really good to roll it through. Remember: Look to go low.”

I analyzed a slight left-to-right break, took the grass and a slight upslope on the green to the hole into consideration and judged my stroke accordingly. The ball rolled to two feet, an easy follow-up for my par. Never before would I have thought to putt that ball, but now after a weekend in Pinehurst I have pages of notes pared down to my ultimate short list.  PS

Lee Pace has written about golf in the Sandhills for three decades. His newest book, Good Walks — Rediscovering the Soul of Golf at 18 Top Carolinas Courses, is available wherever books are sold.


Swirling Birds

The return of the chimney swifts

By Susan Campbell

The approach of fall means many things to many people: cooler days, longer nights, the smell of pumpkin spice — all things that I love. But the much anticipated evening congregations of chimney swifts is also near the top of the list. Swirls of these long-distance migrants form at dusk for several weeks as the birds pass through North Carolina on their way south.

If during the warm weather you have seen small, twittering, fast-flying birds wheeling about high overhead, you are likely seeing chimney swifts. These “flying cigars” can be observed across the state, but given their affinity for human habitation, they are more abundant where people, buildings and, as their name implies, chimneys are found.

Chimney swifts are known to breed throughout North Carolina from the mountains to the coast. Historically, they were undoubtedly sparsely distributed, nesting in big hollow trees in old growth forests in the eastern two-thirds of the United States. But as settlers spread across our state and provided abundant nesting cavities in the form of chimneys, swifts became more common. Today they are virtually dependent on humans for their reproductive success. But, unfortunately, most modern chimneys with caps or extensive lining are unsuitable for the birds. If they can enter a newer chimney, the smooth substrate within the brick or stone prevents the birds from clinging and, furthermore, does not allow adhesion of the nest (built with small sticks and saliva) to the wall. As a result, recent declines in the chimney swift population have been documented across the species range.

Without a doubt, these small birds are incredible fliers, more so than swallows and martins. They spend the vast majority of their waking hours on the wing, except while nesting. Even courtship and copulation occur in mid-air. Only at night do they descend to rest in a protected spot — which is almost always a chimney of some sort.

By late July, flocks of swifts begin congregating, feeding on abundant aerial insects, and roosting together in larger chimneys. These aggregations begin to move southward in August on prevailing northerly air currents to wintering grounds in the tropics. You may find hundreds swirling around in the vicinity of older schools, churches and office buildings that still retain substantial brick chimneys. Such chimneys are more spacious and year after year provide critical staging grounds for generations of swifts. It is an awesome sight to see thousands of individuals pouring into a roost site at dark.

Unfortunately, these unique birds have been misunderstood at this time of year and are often thought to be disease-carrying bats. As a result, significant numbers of sites have been capped for fear of being a human health hazard. Big old chimneys are lost across our state each year to such misunderstandings.

Additionally, changes in modes of heating result in large chimneys being retired: usually covered and rendered unavailable to swifts. Quite simply, there is a general lack of awareness of the structures as an important biological resource. Furthermore, across most of our state, we are still in the process of identifying major roost sites.

During the winter months, chimney swifts are found in loose aggregations throughout the upper Amazon basin of South America. There they loaf and feed on an abundance of flying insects until lengthening days urge them northward again. The return trip brings individuals, swirling and darting, back to their summer homes by early April.  PS

Susan Campbell would love to hear from you. Feel free to send questions or wildlife observations to


September Books


Matrix, by Lauren Groff

A woman’s power is often judged by her beauty, wealth and situation in life. Marie — awkward, too tall, illegitimate, without means, and orphaned — has none of these. Sent to the most wretched abbey England has to offer in 1158, Marie comes to understand that a woman’s power comes from cleverness, ingenuity, fortitude and the bond of sisterhood. In this first novel since the brilliant Fates and Furies, Groff delivers a story that shakes the walls of the age-old patriarchy.

The Magician, by Colm Tóibín

In a provincial German city at the turn of the 20th century, Thomas Mann grows up with a conservative father, bound by propriety, and a Brazilian mother, alluring and unpredictable. As a boy, Mann hides his artistic aspirations from his father and his homosexual desires from everyone. He is infatuated with one of the richest, most cultured Jewish families in Munich, and marries the daughter, Katia. They have six children. On a holiday in Italy, he longs for a boy he sees on a beach and writes the story Death in Venice. He becomes the most successful novelist of his time, winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, a public man whose private life remains secret. In a stunning marriage of research and imagination, Tóibín explores the heart and mind of a writer whose gift is unparalleled, and whose life is driven by a need to belong and the anguish of illicit desire. The Magician is an intimate, astonishingly complex portrait of Mann, his magnificent and complex wife, Katia, and the times in which they lived — World War I, the rise of Hitler, World War II, the Cold War, and exile.

Cloud Cuckoo Land, by Anthony Doerr

Like the characters of Marie-Laure and Werner in Doerr’s novel All the Light We Cannot See, Anna, Omeir, Seymour, Zeno and Konstance are dreamers and outsiders who find resourcefulness and hope in the midst of the gravest danger. Their lives are gloriously intertwined as Doerr’s dazzling imagination transports us to worlds so dramatic and immersive that we forget, for a time, our own. Dedicated to “the librarians then, now, and in the years to come,” Cloud Cuckoo Land is a beautiful and redemptive novel about stewardship — of the book, of the Earth, of the human heart.

The Santa Suit, by Mary Kay Andrews

When newly divorced Ivy Perkins buys an old farmhouse sight unseen, she is looking for a change in her life. The farmhouse, The Four Roses, is a labor of love, but Ivy didn’t bargain on just how much labor. The previous family left so much furniture and so much junk, it’s a full-time job sorting through it. At the top of a closet, Ivy finds a Santa suit, beautifully made and decades old. In the pocket is a note written in a childish hand from a little girl who has one Christmas wish, and that is for her father to return home from the war. The discovery sets Ivy off on a mission. Who wrote the note? Did the man ever come home? What mysteries did the Rose family hold? Ivy just might find more than she ever thought possible: a welcoming town, a family reunited, a mystery solved, and a second chance at love.


Cuba: An American History, by Ada Ferrer

Cuba’s history is full of violent conquest, invasions and military occupations; conspiracies against slavery, colonialism and dictators; revolutions attempted, victorious and undone. Ferrer, a celebrated New York University professor and the daughter of Cuban immigrants, brings her personal perspective to this sweeping history of Cuba, and its complex and intimate ties to the United States, utilizing stories from both well-known and little-known characters from Cuban history. She documents the enormous influence the U.S. has had on Cuba and the many ways in which Cuba is a recurring presence in U.S. history, beginning with its key role in the American Revolution.

Travels with George: In Search of Washington and his Legacy, by Nathaniel Philbrick

When George Washington became president in 1798, the United States of America was still a loose and quarrelsome confederation and a tentative political experiment. Washington undertook a tour of the ex- Colonies to talk to ordinary citizens about their lives and their feelings about the new government, and to imbue in them the idea of being one thing — Americans. Philbrick embarked on his own journey into what Washington called “the infant woody country” to see for himself what it has become in the nearly 225 years since. Writing in a thought- ful first person about his own adventures with his travel companions (his wife and puppy), Philbrick follows Washington’s tour of America — an almost 2,000-mile journey. The narrative moves smoothly back and forth from the 18th to 21st centuries, seeing the country through Washington’s eyes as well as Philbrick’s. Written at a moment when America’s foundational ideals are under scrutiny, Travels with George grapples bluntly and honestly with Washington’s legacy as a man of the people, a mythical figure of the early republic, a reluctant president, and a plantation owner who held people in slavery. Philbrick paints a picture of 18th century America as divided and fraught as modern America, and comes to understand how Washington, through belief, vision and sheer will, created a sense of national solidarity that had never existed before.


Isobel Adds Up,
by Kristy Everington

Isobel loves to solve problems. Multiplication, subtraction, addition, bring them on! But she begins to have some trouble when a new loud neighbor moves into the apartment next door. Of course, clever Isabel has a solution and maybe also a new friend. Math-loving young readers will delight in this fun new problem-solving story that is sure to bring on some giggles. (Ages 5-7.)

Negative Cat, by Sophie Blackall

When a boy finally gets his long-awaited cat, things don’t go quite as expected, but sometimes it takes a bit to discover the joy that comes from being just a little outside the box. Fun for anyone who loves an animal that’s just a little unusual, and a perfect read-aloud by the Caldecott-winning illustrator Sophie Blackall. (Ages 3-6.)

Dozens of Dachshunds, by Stephanie Calmenson

Dozens of dachshunds waltz, woof and wag their way across the page and into the hearts of readers in this adorable read-aloud. Long-haired, smooth-haired and wire-haired dachshunds alike are all dressed in costume (of course there’s a hot dog!) for the Dachshund Day parade. With a seek-and-find game and back matter on real Dachshund Day celebrations, this one’s sure to have everyone barking for more. (Ages 3-6.)  PS

Compiled by Kimberly Daniels Taws and Angie Tally.

Out of the Blue

Shopper’s Remorse, Kinda

To browse or not to browse, that is the question

By Deborah Salomon

If shopping were an Olympic sport, I’d win the gold medal. I can happily while away an hour just looking at stuff, be it books or blouses, now called “tops.” Yet when the news that Target might be coming to Southern Pines roared through town I couldn’t muster much excitement.

Maybe the thrill is gone. Maybe Target drowns in too much stuff.

The thrill, in my case, has less to do with buying than with the experience characteristic of the shop-till-you-drop USA. My brief forays abroad indicate that in most cultures, people shop to satisfy a need — like socks or wine or paper towels. They look around, find something acceptable, pay and leave.

I shop as a pastime, a learning experience. I look at colors. I read labels that reveal where the merchandise was made and what it is made of. I ponder prices. In small stores I ask questions.

This doesn’t make me popular with proprietors answering my questions, always pleasantly, while sensing I have no intention of buying those stunning handcrafted silver earrings, for $65.

I enjoy shopping the big boxes, too. A bundle of dresses is still smashed from the box where it was packed by hands on the other side of the globe, then shipped across many oceans in boxcar-sized containers. That makes me remember when Walmart et al. began adding groceries to smashed dresses. At first, the sight of cauliflower and ground beef sharing a cart with jeans, house paint and mittens seemed odd.

It still does, really. Convenience hath its price.

I’m not an organized shopper. I rarely make a list. That way, I can wander, hoping that seeing Tide on sale will remind me.

Wandering is a luxury afforded by age. I retain mixed memories of weaving in and out of the aisles with a toddler in the shopping cart seat and two others, only slightly older, dashing ahead, begging, “Can we buy this, Mommy? Please, please . . . ”

Stop to read a label and they’re climbing the shelves in pursuit of some repulsive purple cereal.

I remember, too, the times my elderly father visited. Supermarket trips were a thrill because he appreciated food, having grown up poor and often hungry. He would feign outrage at the prices, which never kept him from eating what I bought. But as we approached the check-out, he’d disappear.

“I’ll meet you at the car.”

Seeing the total was just too painful. And that was when grapefruit were four for a dollar and sirloin, $1.25 a pound.

I never minded shopping for clothes but despised try-on rooms with their three-way mirrors; an unexpected full rear view can ruin the experience. Therefore, half my untried-on purchases went back.

I thought about that last winter, when the virus closed dressing rooms and returned purchases were, I guess, restocked. Not a pleasant thought.

Shopping for a new car . . . another story. Takes me about 15 minutes to find one I like, another 10 to do the math. The salesperson always looks disappointed at not having to cajole, convince, bargain, use all those snappy phrases learned at training sessions. So, if I can decide in 25 minutes, why does the paperwork take 45?

Still, I’m suspicious of shop-at-home dealerships advertised on TV.

Shopping online guarantees pleasures and perils. You can’t feel the fabric (is it scratchy?) or see the color (duller than expected). Return postage is exorbitant (except for Amazon, with drop-offs at Kohl’s), so I usually end up keeping the borderline-satisfactory purchase.

That’s why, with all due respect, I don’t really care if Target comes to town. I’ve shopped their Greensboro store. Nice housewares, OK selection of packaged groceries, good pet supplies, not much fresh stuff. I couldn’t relate to the clothes.

Sorry if I sound negative. Not my intention. I grew up in the fab Manhattan department store era: B. Altman, Lord &Taylor, Macy’s, Gimbel’s, Best & Company, now just names engraved on tombstones. They had lovely cafés for lunch, free delivery, nice rest rooms. Perfume counters sprayed samples, and elevator operators wore white gloves.

Years later their arty shopping bags were exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art.

Now that was shopping, neither convenient nor quick. Not even price-conscious, although shoppers probably bought less.

I thought about those department stores and primordial supermarkets (A&P, Piggly Wiggly, Gristedes) during a recent safari through the enormous Harris Teeter in Taylortown, where I spent 15 minutes finding shoe polish — same time it took to select my last car.

No, retail therapy isn’t what it used to be. “The customer is always right” maxim has been maxed out. But if a new Target the size of two football fields stocked from A (apples) to Z (zippers) pushes your buttons, go for it.

Me? I’ll hold out for the $65 earrings. Gift-wrapped and carried home in a frameable shopping bag, please.  PS

Deborah Salomon is a writer for PineStraw and The Pilot. She may be reached at

Tea Leaf Astrologer

Virgo (August 23 – September 22)

You’ve seen the cymbal-banging monkey — eyes bulging while relentlessly slamming brass cups together. Virgos are wound tighter than most. And when you consider that they are, indeed, Earth signs, you begin to realize what an enigma these strong-willed, tragically tender creatures actually are. This month, astrologically, is a bit of a perfect storm for you, Virgo. But here’s a mantra that might help: I control nothing. Try repeating this silently to yourself throughout the day, especially when you feel the overwhelming desire to fix what’s not yet broken. There may be a gift in it for you.

Tea leaf “fortunes” for the rest of you:

Libra (September 23 – October 22) Perspective is everything. You’re only a fish out of water until the rain starts. Think about it.

Scorpio (October 23 – November 21) Spoiler alert: The world won’t end. It’s time to stop banking on it.

Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21)

There’s a Bill Withers’ song that comes to mind. You know the one. And you know just what to do.

Capricorn (December 22 – January 19) A ghost from the past wants your attention. But what do you want? Focus on that. 

Aquarius (January 20 – February 18) Things are in motion this month. Like, warp speed. Try sitting still. 

Pisces (February 19 – March 20) No need to reshuffle the deck. Just play the cards.

Aries (March 21 – April 19) Radical trust. You don’t have it. But do you actually want it?

Taurus (April 20 – May 20) You can’t have the sweetness without the sting. And you wouldn’t appreciate it otherwise.

Gemini (May 21 – June 20) Ever tried talking to the moon? Good. Now try listening.

Cancer (June 21 – July 22) What is meant for you will come to you. You’ll be ready — but not a moment too soon.

Leo (July 23 – August 22) “No mud, no lotus.” You’ve heard that before, right? Keep the faith.  PS

Zora Stellanova has been divining with tea leaves since Game of Thrones’ Starbucks cup mishap of 2019. While she’s not exactly a medium, she’s far from average. She lives in the N.C. foothills with her Sphynx cat, Lyla.

Pleasures of Life

Find Yourself Up a Tree?

It might be good for you

By Tom Allen

Recently, on a walk in my neighborhood, to log those elusive 10,000 daily steps we’re now told we don’t necessarily need, I had the bejeebies scared out of me. As I passed a thicket of trees, someone called out from above, “Hello, there.”

I’m a man of faith but, really?

Somewhat shaken, I responded, “Hello to you.” And I continued my walk. When I reversed my direction and passed by the same stand of trees, I saw a neighborhood kid, maybe 8 or 9, who had climbed a tree and was sitting on a limb, like the Cheshire Cat, as content as could be. A kid up a tree. Not on his PS5 or Xbox. He climbed a tree and, from what I saw, he wasn’t on a cellphone, scrolling through social media or Googling something he shouldn’t be Googling. He had climbed a tree. And, giving him the benefit of the doubt that he wasn’t trying to scare the bejeebies out of me, he was rather friendly.

The next day, I saw two teenagers gliding down the road on skateboards. Kids at play. What a concept.

A wall at a new elementary school has caused quite a stir with the slogan “In the business of play.” I’ll let the powers that be hash out what welcomes folks at a newly constructed school. But whether you write it on a wall, a billboard or a T-shirt, one thing’s for sure: Children, really all of us, need the gift and therapy play provides.

We’re all familiar with the saying “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” The phrase comes from a collection of proverbs, written in 1659 by James Howell, a British historian and writer. Jack might have been real or fictitious, a friend or a figment. Howell’s father and older brother were Church of England clergy. Maybe James saw his dad and sibling as 17th century workaholics. Maybe they were boring chaps at family gatherings, or maybe they were so busy rescuing souls that they had little time for family, a relaxing hunt in the country, or a nice swim in the Thames. Maybe they, or even Howell himself, had trouble keeping the Sabbath as a day of rest. In his day, a plethora of seventh-day restrictions existed, many prohibiting even a modicum of recreation and revelry. Or perhaps Jack was a boy, a kid, who for whatever reason never skipped stones across a pond, turned somersaults down a hill, chased a butterfly, or even climbed a tree.

When we hear someone’s found themselves “up a tree” that usually means they’re in a pickle. But sometimes, finding yourself up a tree, or in a hammock, or simply doing nothing, might be the best thing. The anecdote is cliché by now, but we are human beings, not human doings.

I’m not advocating putting yourself at risk. Your hips and knees recognize boundaries. But maybe after a year and a half of isolating and masking, we need to give ourselves permission to climb trees and fly kites, to fish and swim, to sing and laugh and do, well, a little of nothing.

St. Luke’s Gospel records the story of Zacchaeus, a fellow short in stature who wanted to catch a glimpse of Jesus when he came into town. Unable to get a good view, he climbed a tree. The story carries a profound message. This little man, a tax collector, despised by his culture and an outcast in his religion, is befriended by one who wants to have dinner with him, but the story, like Noah and his beloved ark full of animals, has been passed down as more of a children’s tale. Why? Maybe because climbing a tree is for kids, not grownups. A beloved British children’s Sunday school song reinforces the idea:

Zacchaeus was a wee little man and a wee little man was he,

He climbed up in a sycamore tree for the Lord he wanted to see,

And as the Lord did pass that way, he looked up in that tree,

And he said, “Zacchaeus, you come down, for I’m going to your house
for tea.”

Our Americanized version replaces “for tea” with “today.”  Either way, the little man who found himself up a tree came out the recipient of quite a surprise.

The next time someone tells you to “go fly a kite” or “take a hike,” the old-fashioned ways of saying “get lost,” try responding with, “Don’t mind if I do.” Or when life finds you in a pickle and “up a tree,” consider climbing one, or at least, sitting beneath its shade, if only to impart insight into the tension between uncertainty and hope. And if someone passes by, offer a kind, “Hello, there.” Who knows, you might just make a friend, get invited to dinner, or find your way back to childhood days, carefree and playful, when summer morphed into fall. I think you deserve it. I think we all do. PS

Tom Allen is minister of education at First Baptist Church, Southern Pines.

Golf’s Unsung Hero

How a unique hobby helped restore a historic course

By Bill Case

In 2009, Bob Dedman Jr. and Don Padgett II, the gentlemen in charge at the Pinehurst resort, decided to dramatically overhaul Pinehurst course No. 2, one of America’s foremost championship golf venues. They sensed that the layout, built by Donald Ross in 1907 and periodically tweaked thereafter by the legendary architect until his death in 1948, had lost some of its character.

Starting around the early 1970s, Pinehurst had adopted the popular course maintenance formula of the era: lush green grass throughout the course, not just in the fairways. The native pine barren wire grasses and awkward sandy lies that confronted off-target golfers on No. 2 during Ross’ heyday largely disappeared. In their place came acres of 3-inch-deep irrigated grass. Too often, extrication from this cabbage could only be accomplished by hacking a wedge back to the fairway.

To restore No. 2 in a manner that approximated how Ross had presented the course, Dedman and Padgett called upon esteemed course designers Bill Coore and two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw. The Coore & Crenshaw website describes its design philosophy as a blending of Bill’s and Ben’s “personal experience and admiration for the classical courses of Ross, MacKenzie, Macdonald, Maxwell, and Tillinghast to create a style uniquely their own.”

The architects have a special connection to Pinehurst. Having already won in his professional debut, a 21-year-old Crenshaw nearly captured his second event as a pro, too, finishing second in the 1973 World Open, three strokes behind Miller Barber. The 144-hole marathon on No. 2 “stimulated my love for Pinehurst,” says Crenshaw. Coore, who grew up in Davidson County, North Carolina, was good enough to make Wake Forest University’s golf team and played No. 2 frequently in the 1960s, usually on $5 all-day passes. “There is no doubt,” he says, “that playing No. 2 gave me an appreciation of traditional, strategic golf courses that eventually pointed me in the direction of course architecture.”

While Coore & Crenshaw’s selection was applauded in golf circles, more than a few aficionados wondered about the potential impact of a drastic change. Why make major modifications to a course that only recently had held one of golf’s most dramatic major championships, the 1999 U.S. Open? What was the benefit of eliminating rough in favor of native waste areas? Didn’t the United States Golf Association prefer deep rough and narrow fairways? Could changing the character of No. 2 jeopardize its status as a championship venue?

Though they didn’t say so publicly at the time, Coore and Crenshaw also harbored misgivings. Coore knew that No. 2’s fairways had once stretched to nearly 50 yards in width. Now they averaged just 24 yards across. If the more generous dimensions were restored, would the USGA find fault or, worse yet, require the fairways be narrowed again for the 2014 men’s and women’s U.S. Opens?

The two architects had no interest in undertaking No. 2’s restoration if it might do more harm than good. Mike Davis, who had been in charge of setting up U.S. Open courses for years and who would become executive director of the USGA in 2011, promised that modifications resulting from the restoration would not be undone by the USGA. Indeed, Davis himself had broached the concept of restoring No. 2 in discussions with Dedman and Padgett.

But there remained a gnawing concern for Coore and Crenshaw — they wanted to know the precise details, dimensions and appearance of the course during the Ross era.

Bob Farren, the man in charge of maintaining the resort’s courses, provided an invaluable first clue. He advised that during the 1980s, his crew had uncovered the entirety of the abandoned fairway irrigation line that Ross had installed in 1932. Farren flagged the path of the defunct line for the architects. Its location confirmed that No. 2’s fairways had previously been configured in a more serpentine fashion. Due to mowing patterns, the fairways gradually became straighter in the 80 years following Ross’ placement of the irrigation line. Farren’s discovery enabled the architects to replot the location and dimensions of No. 2’s fairways to match the old Ross footprint.

But puzzles remained. What did the old native areas look like? Had the location and shape of greens, tees and bunkers changed any over the years? How did Ross sculpt the bunkers? To find answers, Coore and Crenshaw paid a visit to Pinehurst’s Tufts Archives and combed its remarkable collection of historic photos. Their research proved useful in providing an overview of the course’s general appearance, but photos illustrating hole-by-hole details were few. And those that did exist were snapped at ground level. Bill and Ben had hoped to find aerial photos that might provide a clearer, to scale, perspective of No. 2’s architectural details.

Though intimately familiar with Ross’ design style, absent more detailed photos, they were going to have to engage in a significant amount of guesswork. How could they be sure they were accurately restoring the course to the way Ross had left it or, at least, how he would be inclined to draw it up today? “Lord knows,” reflected Coore later, “we didn’t want to be known as the people who messed up No. 2.”

Unbeknownst to the architects, help would soon be coming their way, in the form of Craig Disher, a 65-year-old Washington, D.C., resident who was a decade into retirement after a 31-year career with the National Security Agency. Disher was an enthusiastic golfer, typically scoring in the low 80s at Manor Country Club in nearby Rockville, Maryland. His zest for the game ultimately steered him toward an avocation of his own creation.

It happened in 2004 after Disher read Lost Links, by Daniel Wexler. According to the book, various federal agencies had photographed vast portions of America from the air, and the millions of aerial images housed at Washington’s National Archives and Records Administration included many of golf courses. The United States Geological Service, the most prolific shutterbug among the agencies, had begun the process of photographing the country in the 1930s. There were various reasons for the program, one of which was inventorying America’s arable land. Even though crops aren’t customarily grown on recreational properties like golf courses, the USGS shot them anyway in the event the land might have to be used for food production or other necessities. This had actually taken place during World War II when “Victory Gardens” were patriotically planted on the nation’s courses, and cows grazed on the formerly pristine fairways of Augusta National Golf Club.

Disher thought it would make for an enjoyable project to search for aerial pics of his home course, Manor CC, designed in 1922 by noted golf architect William Flynn. Besides, the place where the USGS images were stored, NARA, was just a 15-minute drive from Disher’s home. After being directed to the cartography and map research room on the third floor, he got a crash course on the ins and outs of researching and retrieving aerial images from NARA’s vast catalog.

Finding images taken in the USGS project wasn’t a particularly difficult task. Rolls of large 9×9 negatives kept in stored cans were indexed by state, county and date. After identifying the rolls pertaining to a particular county, a researcher would request them, then generally wait a day or two before they were made available. Once the rolls were in hand, the researcher could sift through them on a light table, hunting for particular negatives.

The project was right up Disher’s alley. He enjoyed research and the patience, concentration, and persistence it required. A history major at Gettysburg College, his senior thesis (the evolution of Mao Zedong’s communist philosophy and politics) had necessitated innumerable hours wading through hundreds of magazines, newspapers and other documents at the Library of Congress.

“Organizing and cross-referencing them in the era before computers was great training,” Disher says. “My research at NARA mirrored that experience.”

His resourcefulness was augmented by life experiences. After college, during a stint in the U. S. Army, Disher received training in military interrogation at intelligence school and served as an interrogator during the Vietnam War. A significant portion of his employment at NSA had involved the deciphering of encrypted messages. As Disher puts it, that work, in contrast to library research, “primarily takes place in one’s head.”

From NARA’s index, Disher found that rolls of negatives taken in Montgomery County, Maryland (Manor CC’s location), were available. He found aerial images of Manor taken during the years 1940, 1948 and 1951. He photographed the negatives, then used Photoshop on a computer at home. This resulted in sharp black-and-white photographs that depicted the Manor course in riveting detail.

Delighted with the success of his search, Disher soon became a regular at the cartography and map research room, looking for and collecting aerial images of other golf courses in the Washington, D.C., area. It wasn’t long before his quest extended to courses that interested him around the United States. His most frustrating search involved the Lido Golf Club on Long Island, closed permanently due to wartime needs in 1942. Classic golf architecture devotees reverentially extoll this mystical links, ranking it among the finest ever built in the country. Locating aerial photos of Lido became something of a white whale for Disher, especially after he discovered USGS had not taken any photos in the area.

Undeterred, Disher considered whether the Department of Defense might have photographed Lido. Before and during World War II, DOD had arranged for military installations and areas of strategic importance to be photographed from the air. NARA had materials relating to these aerial flights, but researching them could be vexing due to a lack of indexing. However, NARA did hold records showing the flight patterns of planes that had flown on aerial photography assignments. The paths were depicted by the drawing of black lines of the planes’ tracks on acetate sheets. By superimposing those sheets over a geological map, a researcher could determine the general area where photography had taken place.

The information on the acetate sheets had been converted to microfilm. To search for Lido, Disher “had to look at all the microfilm rolls showing tracks of aerial photography planes in Long Island prior to 1942. Each roll of microfilm had to be viewed from start to finish, stopping at each track image to see if it passed over the area of interest.” Once those track images and the associated roll of negatives were identified, Disher would order the can containing them. The wait for the cans took additional time, since DOD images were in cold storage outside of D.C.

“It took me a month, but I finally found an undiscovered 1940 aerial photo of Lido,” he says. Disher shared the image with golf historians, and the highly detailed photograph subsequently appeared in several golf magazine articles, spurring an ongoing movement to someday recreate Lido’s majestic course.

Slowly, people in golf became aware of Disher’s research. Given the architectural trend of restoring classic courses to their original design, old photos — especially aerials — were in high demand. Without any thought of benefitting financially from his unique hobby, Disher cheerfully shared access to his collection gratis with grateful golf clubs and course architects who asked for his help. Disher furnished them 16×20 prints of aerial photos that were used in field work. Later the same prints often found their way to clubhouse walls.

In 2005, the avid golfer and his wife, Susan, acquired a vacation home in Pinehurst. This development, naturally, caused Disher to scope the USGS collection at NARA for images of No. 2. When he got wind of the fact that the Pinehurst resort intended to restore No. 2 to its original Donald Ross design, he thought the USGS photos might be of value to the architects. When he retrieved the images, Craig  found to his frustration they lacked sufficient detail to be of much use. He wondered whether there was a possibility DOD might have also photographed the course. Pinehurst was only 26 miles from Fort Bragg, a base Disher knew well. During his ’60s hitch in the Army, his basic training had been at Bragg. Disher knew area flights involving aerial military photography likely would have departed from nearby Pope Air Force Base. He knew Pope, too. In 1968, he was deployed from there to Vietnam, where he had joined a brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division.

Still, it was a long shot. Even if an aircraft had veered that far west, would the camera have been turned on and clicking after leaving the airspace over the base? Disher found and reviewed the track of a Christmas Day 1943 DOD flight of a plane photographing Fort Bragg. The track showed the plane had, indeed, traveled west toward Pinehurst, reaching the edge of the town before backtracking to Pope. Having identified the flight he was looking for, Disher asked to see the roll that would include the negatives. It would take a week before the roll arrived at NARA. Anxiously, Disher awaited the delivery of the Christmas Day flight photos.

When he finally flashed through the roll, Disher found the images of No. 2. He eyed what were, perhaps, the clearest aerial photos of a golf course he had yet encountered. While aloft over No. 2, the plane had flown lower than was customary. Who knows, maybe the pilot played golf and wanted to take an up-close look at the famous course. Regardless, the details shown of the bunker contouring, tee and green shapes, trees and native areas were strikingly vivid. The aerial camera, clicking away every few seconds, had also captured excellent images of the Pine Needles and Southern Pines courses.

Through a mutual friend, Disher contacted Coore and informed the architect of his find. Arrangements were made for Coore and Crenshaw to stop by Disher’s home in Pinehurst to inspect the photos from the 1943 flight that encompassed the entirety of No. 2. Disher arranged them on his dining room table to appear as a single photograph.

The architects were astonished at what they saw. The photos depicted exactly what they needed to assure themselves they were on the right track. As Crenshaw put it, “it was the confirmation we had been looking for.”

With Disher’s photos serving as their guide, Coore and Crenshaw completed No. 2’s restoration in March 2011. Gone was the matted rough. In its place were the native areas that had characterized Ross’ course. Indigenous plants such as red sorrel, spiderwort and spotted beebalm now grew haphazardly off the fairways. Bunkers were reshaped with the scruffier edges that had marked their appearance in the 1943 aerials. Some bunkers were eliminated, others restored. Several tees were moved to restore the driving challenges Ross had envisioned. Based on the 1943 photograph, the 15th green was widened to its right side by one-third. With areas off the fairway no longer watered, the course looked browner and more natural. Seven hundred of No. 2’s 1,100 sprinkler heads were eliminated, trimming water use in half. Fairways were widened and shaped to approximate their dimensions during the Ross era, thus allowing for alternative routes for approaches into greens.

The restoration was universally praised in golf circles, and the 2014 U.S. men’s and women’s Opens proved to be memorable successes. Fears that the changes to course No. 2 would render it too easy proved overblown. Only three men, including winner Martin Kaymer, and one woman, Michelle Wie, broke par.

“Craig was so instrumental in our work at No. 2,” says Coore of Disher. “I’m not sure we could have accomplished what we did without him.”

Disher became the go-to source for aerial photos of historic courses and has been called upon by architects like Ron Forse, Gil Hanse, Kyle Franz, Jim Urbina and Davis Love Jr. Now 76, Disher is gratified that what began as a pleasant diversion ended up contributing so much to golf. “My research introduced me to some of the nicest people I’ve ever met and taken me to golf courses I never dreamed I would see,” he says. “If you are searching for something you think can’t be found, it probably can be.  PS

Pinehurst resident Bill Case is PineStraw’s history man. He can be reached at

The Omnivorous Reader

Overseeing the Evil and the Good

Wiley Cash’s new novel weaves a tale of mystery

By Stephen E. Smith

It will come as no surprise to anyone who’s read Wiley Cash’s previous bestselling novels — A Land More Kind Than Home, This Dark Road to Mercy and The Last Ballad — that his latest offering, When Ghosts Come Home, is a sophisticated, skillfully rendered mystery that focuses, despite being set in late October and early November 1984, on the personal, societal and racial conflicts that trouble Americans in the moment.

Cash, like most accomplished writers, is attuned to the environment from which he’s writing (even if the events he’s describing occurred decades ago), and he has, with good reason, consistently drawn on North Carolina as his setting of choice: He was born and raised in Gastonia, teaches at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, and lives in or around the Wilmington/Oak Island area, the region of the state that serves as the locale for his latest mystery.

The coastal setting may be familiar to many North Carolina readers, but the story that unfolds has nothing to do with a family outing at the beach. If the region suggests tranquility, it’s also the source for the grisly ingredients that make for a good whodunit, and Cash’s leap-frogging narrative continually moves forward with an economy of style and structural tension that’s a balance of the familiar with the unexpected. Despite numerous twists and turns, Cash is always the consummate craftsman; not a word or gesture or errant piece of information proves irrelevant.

This storytelling acumen has earned for Cash the status as one of our state’s literary celebrities, and his latest novel places him among such luminaries as Fred Chappell, Lee Smith, Jill McCorkle and Clyde Edgerton. If this suggests a degree of parochialism, it shouldn’t. Cash has earned national accolades aplenty. The Last Ballad was an American Library Association Book of the Year and received the Southern Book Prize, the Sir Walter Raleigh Award and the Weatherford Award — the list goes on and on.

Moreover, the characters he creates aren’t easy Southern stereotypes; they may live in an atmosphere troubled by shifting notions of race and social standing, and they are almost always dangerous to themselves and each other, but their view of the world is more comprehensive, more contemporary, than those of the usual Faulknerian rabble. If his characters exhibit anger, bigotry and violence — all in plentiful supply in the South — Cash never displays contempt for the foolish and unwashed, never sets himself up as arbiter. He simply oversees the evil and good, and allows his readers to make their final judgments based on their view of the available world.

The mystery opens with 63-year-old Winston Barnes, the Brunswick County sheriff and the novel’s protagonist, awakening to the roar of a low-flying aircraft approaching a little-used local airport on Oak Island. Barnes is at a crisis point in his life: His wife is being treated for cancer; his daughter’s marriage is failing after the loss of a child; he’s up for re-election in a few weeks — his prospects are less than promising; and he desperately needs the health insurance that comes with his job. He knows that the disturbance created by the aircraft is reason for concern, and that the publicity generated by his handling of any criminal activity on the island could be crucial to his re-election.

Cash’s strong sense of place is apparent when Barnes leaves home to investigate the downed aircraft, and his use of detail and small observations deftly and beautifully brings the moment into focus: “. . . Winston watched the light from the Caswell Beach lighthouse at the far eastern end of the island strafe the waterway in perfect increments. It flashed in his rearview mirror, and for a moment he could both see and feel its light in his eyes. . . . He had been at this exact spot on the bridge at night what must have been a million times over the years, and each time he felt like he was leaving the bright gleam of the lighthouse for the tiny spot of the beacon light, a light that was overwhelmed by the darkness of the mainland that waited for him in the woods across the water.”

As a young man, Cash took in those same sights on mornings when he drove to catch the ferry to Bald Head Island, where he worked as a lifeguard. “. . . when Sheriff Winston Barnes leaves home in the pre-dawn hours to drive to the airstrip to explore the sound he heard, he drives past dark, shuttered businesses, some of them closed for the off-season and others of them simply closed for the night,” Cash revealed in a recent pandemic/email interview. “I made this same drive every morning before dawn during the summer of 1998 when I was 20 and my parents had first moved to Oak Island. . . . I had to leave my parents’ house to catch the ferry to make it to a shift that began at 7 a.m. It was summer, and the island was incredibly busy, but I was always struck by how those pre-dawn hours were so still and haunting. We’d only recently moved to the island, and everything about it, especially at that early hour, felt strange and haunting. I was observing as an outsider because I didnt belong to it, and neither does Winston.”

When he arrives at the airstrip, Barnes discovers an abandoned DC-3 with its cargo hold empty. Not far from the plane, he happens upon the body of a local Black man, Rodney Bellamy, who has been shot in the chest. From these simple clues the mystery wholly unfolds, and the elements in this straightforward block of information play out in the novel’s action from beginning to end.

The essential characters are quickly introduced — Colleen, Barnes’ daughter; Jay, Rodney Bellamy’s teenage brother-in-law; Ed Bellamy, Rodney’s father and a former Marine sharpshooter; Deputy Billy Englehart, a furtive white supremacist; Bradley Frye, Barnes’ opponent in the upcoming election and the obvious antagonist; and FBI agents Roundtree, Rollins and Grooms, who have ostensibly been assigned to investigate any drug connections with the case. Add to these a cast of cameo characters who agitate the subplots and there’s much to consider by way of human imperfection — race, class, jealously, betrayal, old animosities, personal history — all of it churning up a jumble of possible suspects.

When Cash digs deep into his characters, he reveals the secrets that shape their prejudices, and the straightforward structure of the traditional mystery assumes a vaguely parabolic intent. Set in a time when, believe it or not, racial attitudes were less obvious, readers will sense that Cash is addressing the present racial tensions that plague America. This is no more apparent than in a scene that plays out between Barnes and Vicki, a long-time receptionist at the sheriff’s office. She’d received a deputy’s report concerning Klan members who have been cruising a Black neighborhood brandishing weapons and a Confederate flag, but she’d failed to pass this information on to Barnes, and he’s forced to confront her.

“She hesitated. Winston looked into her eyes, imagined her mind tossing around words and phrases she’d grown up hearing, long-held beliefs that she insisted on holding against Black men like Ed Bellamy and his dead son. Asking her to work against suspicions and beliefs so deeply held as to seem intrinsic to life was like asking Vicki to attempt the impossible task of separating her skin from her own skeleton.”

This epiphany must be similar to what many Americans have experienced in recent years. In a country divided against itself, we are suddenly forced to confront the frightening truth that underlies the attitudes and beliefs of once-trusted friends and acquaintances. 

“The awakening that Winston has to his secretary’s racial and cultural attitudes reflects the experiences that many of us — primarily white folks — have had over the past several years,” says Cash. “There was a time — especially in the South in the 1980s — when political and cultural attitudes were much more implicit, especially with Ronald Reagan sweeping 49 states in the 1984 election. But the past several years have caused those attitudes to become much more explicit, from the politics of vaccines and masks to carrying tiki torches when protesting the removal of monuments to storming the U.S. Capitol to overthrow American democracy. The attitudes and beliefs that were once below the surface have now become markedly apparent. Whether on social media or T-shirts or hats, we’re besieged by markers of political beliefs and cultural attitudes that align with or conflict with our own. And we’re not one bit interested in investigating the roots of our beliefs; we’re much more invested in ferreting out those who don’t agree with us.”

When Ghosts Come Home is a mystery that’s compelling in its suspense and topical intrigues. Cash creates a wealth of fully dimensional characters, and he permeates the novel with a melancholy that will leave readers wondering about an open-ended denouement that invites them, via a gentle authorial nudge, to participate in fleshing out the novel’s most brutal and unexpected consequence, an act of dehumanizing violence and betrayal that could only occur in the frightening world in which we now find ourselves.

When Ghosts Come Home will be in bookstores on Sept. 21. Wiley Cash will read from his novel and sign books at The Country Bookshop at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept 25.  PS

Stephen E. Smith is a retired professor and the author of seven books of poetry and prose. He’s the recipient of the Poetry Northwest Young Poet’s Prize, the Zoe Kincaid Brockman Prize for poetry and four North Carolina Press Awards.



First Friday

The bluegrass band Fireside Collective performs on the First Bank Stage at Sunrise Square to benefit the Sunrise Theater, 250 N.W. Broad St., Southern Pines, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 3. There will be food trucks, refreshments and beer from Southern Pines Brewery. No furry friends or rolling, walking or crawling coolers, please. For more information call (910) 692-3611 or go to

Flutterby Festival

Celebrate butterflies and all God’s pollinators at the Flutterby Festival at the Village Arboretum in Pinehurst on Sept. 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Educational activities include presentations on the lifecycle, migration and plight of the monarch butterfly. Feed and befriend hundreds of monarchs in the Magical Monarch Butterfly Tent. You can even tag and release a monarch for its flight to Mexico. For more info go to

Sweet on Songs

The Sandhills Repertory Theatre presents America’s Sweethearts, the intricate harmony and dance moves of a dazzling trio of women, in three performances at the Bradshaw Performing Arts Center, Owens Auditorium, 3395 Airport Road, Pinehurst. The musical selections include ’50s pop, jazz and Broadway hits. Opening night is Friday, Sept. 3, at 7:30 p.m., followed by a performance on Saturday, Sept. 4, at 7:30 p.m., and a final matinee on Sunday, Sept. 5, at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at

100 Years and Counting

The Sandhills Woman’s Exchange opens for the fall season — and the beginning of its 100th year celebration — with its traditional lunch offerings on Wednesday, Sept. 8, at 15 Azalea Road, Pinehurst. The gift shop opens at 10 a.m. and lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For information call (910) 295-4677 or visit

Outdoor Flicks

It’s like the drive-in, except you’re on foot. The Sunrise Theater will show The Princess Bride outdoors on Sunrise Square at 8 p.m. on Sept. 10 and again on Sept. 11 at the same time. Tickets are $10. In the event of inclement weather, the movie will be shown inside the theater, 250 N.W. Broad St. Bring lawn chairs or blankets, but leave the food and pets at home, please. For additional info call (910) 692-3611 or go to As an encore, Southern Pines Recreation & Parks will show Frozen 2 at the Downtown Park, Southern Pines, on Friday, Sept. 17. For additional information call (910) 692-7376. 

Fall’s in the Air

Enjoy a late September evening on the grounds of the Weymouth Center with music by Stone Dolls, supper catered by Scott’s Table and beers from the Southern Pines Brewing Company, on Wednesday, Sept. 29, from 5 – 7 p.m. at the Weymouth Center for Arts & Humanities, 555 E. Connecticut Ave., Southern Pines. For additional information go to or

Pig o’ My Heart

The Pinehurst Barbecue Festival, presented by Pinehurst Resort, US Foods and Business North Carolina, will spice up the village of Pinehurst on Labor Day weekend from Sept. 3 through Sept. 5. There are four main events: Music on Magnolia; “Q” School Grilling Classes; Bourbon & Bites; and the Ed Mitchell Pitmaster Invitational. Individual tickets are available or you can go “Whole Hog” and swallow the lot. For more information visit or go to Get saucy.

Doin’ the Charleston

Experience the art, architecture and cuisine of the low country in a four-day celebration of Southern elegance presented by the Arts Council of Moore County. The week’s events open with an exploration of the unique architecture of Charleston, South Carolina, featuring Charleston architects Christopher Liberatos and Jenny Bevan, along with artists Jill Hooper and Patrick Webb, at the Sunrise Theater at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 28. That’s followed by a low country cooking presentation by acclaimed author Nathalie Dupree and Sandhills Community College’s Angela Webb at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 29, at SCC’s Little Hall. There will be a low country luncheon at 195 on Thursday, Sept. 30. The cost is $55 per person, and all proceeds benefit the Arts Council’s children’s arts program. The week wraps up with a presentation and book signing by Dupree at 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 1, in the Moore Montessori Community School auditorium and, at 6 p.m. that evening, the Campbell House will host a gallery opening featuring the artworks of Evelyn Dempsey, Mark Horton, Carol Ezell-Gilson and Ron Rocz. In addition to the above events, all free with the exception of the luncheon, acclaimed children’s author Kelly Starling Lyons will be visiting Moore County schools on Thursday, Sept. 30. For more information call (910) 692-2787.