SHIFT CHANGE: Young entrepreneurs and families are making Moore County home as the area grows and its economy expands.

Author:Blake, Kathy
Position:IN THE SPOTLIGHT: MOORE COUNTY

When Tom Pashley was a child, he and his friends talked of wading through Rae's Creek near his Georgia neighborhood and following its trail through Augusta National to Amen Corner. The mystique of elite golf defined Pashley's surroundings. One of his buddies took lessons from Jack Nicklaus. Gary Player rented another friend's house during the 1978 Masters and left tees, balls and gloves behind. A career among golf's royalty was inevitable.

Pashley, 49, moved to Pinehurst in the late 1990s and, after a series of roles with its resort, became its president in 2014.

Like much of Moore County around it, Pinehurst Resort is becoming younger.

"We've definitely noticed the shift in demographics in Moore County. Younger families are moving to the area and adding a new vitality to the community," Pashley says. "In response to this trend, Pinehurst Country Club has successfully created new events and activities targeting families. But we've also added a wide variety of programming to appeal to a wide audience."

The resort's swimming facility added a kids' pool, water slide and game room in 2015. A new pub, The Deuce, is open behind the 18th green of Pinehurst No. 2. The Cradle, a new 9-hole short course, rests at the doorstep of the famous Resort Clubhouse.

A historic 1895 steam plant, once slated for demolition, and 1900s trolley that toted Pinehurst visitors from the Seaboard Railway Station are repurposed and thriving. Specialty businesses are opening. The resort has spa packages and wedding-reception venues.

Pashley and county leaders see the value of keeping one eye on history while moving forward.

"The Dedman family, owners of Pinehurst, consider themselves stewards of this national treasure," Pashley says. "They're intent to remain as relevant with today's generation of golfers as Pinehurst has been with each generation since 1990. While we celebrate Pinehurst's incredible history, we've rapidly evolved to offer new experiences and amenities."

The median age in the town of Pinehurst is 60.6; in Southern Pines, it's 50.7, and the county combined is 45. The northern town of Robbins checks in at 30.3 and Carthage, the county seat, is 38.1, according to public-data platform Data USA.

"The bottom line is most people in the state think of us as a retirement community," says Pat Corso, executive director of Moore County Partners in Progress economic-development group in Pinehurst, who has lived in Moore for 32 years. "And all of that is a key...

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