The future looks bright at the U.S. Open

Two recent graduates are getting hands-on experience at Pinehurst No. 2


Riley Forbes and Jacob Golub
Riley Forbes and Jacob Golub are getting the internship experience of a lifetime working at Pinehurst No. 2 during the U.S. Open. Photo by Howard Richman

Jacob Golub and Riley Forbes both graduated in May. Judging by their whereabouts this week, each of them will move on to bigger and better things rather quickly.

Right now, Golub and Forbes are planted in the center of the golfing universe: Pinehurst Course No. 2 in Pinehurst, N.C., site of the 124th U.S. Open June 13-16. Golub is in his second season as intern here. He graduated last month from Virginia Tech. Forbes started her internship at Pinehurst after graduating from Cox Mill High School in Concord, N.C. Not a bad way to begin the summer.

“Honestly, it’s special to be here because there is so much history,” says Golub. “What a great experience it is to be part of a major championship.”

Golub is among those who graduated high school in 2020, during the early stages of COVID-19. It certainly put a crimp in graduation that in pre-pandemic years was held in person at the university of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va. “It was a drive-in graduation. The parents and grandparents got in the car. We drove and I got out of the car (at Bush Gardens Williamsburg) and shook the principal’s hand. I got back in the car and went home,” he says.

In any case, Golub proved he was going places. He took business classes at Virginia Tech, eventually landed a job on the maintenance team at Goldenshoe Golf Club in Williamsburg, and altered his future by enrolling in Virginia Tech’s Agricultural Technology program, where he exceled. Golub was named the 2024 Agricultural Technology Outstanding Senior Award winner for Landscape & Turf Management. The award is given to individuals who exhibit superb academic performance in addition to excellence outside the classroom during their time in the AT program. Golub also was president of the Virginia Tech Turfgrass Club and competed for the school in GCSAA’s Collegiate Turf Bowl during the 2024 GCSAA Conference and Trade Show in Phoenix.

One week after graduating with a 3.9 grade-point average, Golub was in the thick of things at Pinehurst No. 2 working for GCSAA Class A superintendent John Jeffreys, who says, “He’s even keeled. Steady. Polite. Asks great questions, like why we are doing certain things, specific, detailed questions. He wants to help. To have a whole season of experience before entering his second season with a U.S. Open coming is very valuable.”

Forbes, meanwhile, showed that she can handle what is thrown her way. Tiger Woods saw it, too. Earlier this week, Forbes was preparing to mow the No. 7 green during a practice round when she encountered an issue with her mower, so Jeffreys arrived on the scene. The pair tested a new mower as Woods and playing partners Patrick Cantlay and Keegan Bradley observed. Jeffreys asked her, “Did you ever believe you’d be mowing a green with Tiger Woods watching?” As the mower issue as solved, onlookers included a sea of patrons, not to mention Woods’ son, Charlie, who was accompanying his father inside the ropes.

Forbes’ response to the commotion? “Interesting. But cool,” she says, noting that it felt like being swarmed by paparazzi.

She gets the golf thing; Forbes plays the game. In fact, her high school team placed second in the state tournament her freshman year. The sport is one reason why she has continued to pursue a career in golf, including working on the crew at The Peninsula Club in Cornelius, N.C. “I like the energy. It’s fun out there,” she says.

Forbes’ friends have been intrigued by her golf passion. “Most girls don’t do this. It’s women empowerment,” Forbes says.

As for the next steps in the lives of Golub and Forbes, stay tuned. “I’m kind of an open book,” says Golub, who has had conversations with Jeffreys about his post-U.S. Open plans. In Forbes’ case, she’s headed to North Carolina State University to study turfgrass management and business. When Jeffreys was quizzed about the chances whether she could make a difference someday in the industry, he says, “100 percent.”

Bottom line: Keep an eye on these two who are all over it at Pinehurst No. 2.

Howard Richman is GCM’s associate editor.