PGA Tour golfer and North Carolina native Davis Love III has played the greatest courses in the world. But it’s the Home of American Golf® that holds a special place in his heart.

Q: What is your first memory of this area?
A: Well, my dad worked in Pinehurst as an instructor, so I saw it as a kid. I remember the weather most of all, how nice it was all the time. I was born in Charlotte, and I remember going to Pinehurst and seeing how perfect everything was. The Carolina Hotel, all the courses and the folks who took care of you—I have fond memories of it all.

Q: Why is it such a special place for golfers?
A: First of all, the courses. There are so many to choose from. And Pinehurst, that’s Donald Ross’ home. The whole area has grown up around golf, not just tournaments. It’s a great place to play, with great places to eat, like the Pine Crest Inn. It’s just a special place.

Q: So when you’re playing golf here, is that business or pleasure for you?
A: Both, I guess. When I’m here it’s usually for the [U.S.] Open, and that’s strictly business. But other times, when I’m with family or friends, it’s very easy for me to unwind and relax. After all these years, it feels like home.

Q: It sounds like the Sandhills experience has stayed with you your whole life.
A: It really has. I think one of the biggest reasons I ended up at [the University of North Carolina at] Chapel Hill was becauseI spent so much time in the Sandhills in the summers, and I learned how good the golf was. [Pinehurst] No. 2 is No. 2, but you could go down there and still play a lot of other great golf courses. They’re all good. . . . It’s such a neat place. It never leaves you.

Both as a Tour player and now also as a course designer, 1997 PGA Championship winner Davis Love III has left his mark on his home state.