Don Padgett was hired as Pinehurst Resort director of golf in 1987 by then resort president, Pat Corso, and ClubCorp of America. “We needed a lot of things in that hire,” Corso said many years later. “We needed a mentor for a very young staff and I needed a mentor. That's exactly what we got with Padge.”
Padgett's influence and reputation with the USGA and other national golf organizations enabled Pinehurst to attract professional tournaments once again. The PGA of America staged the Club Professional Championship there in 1988 and the USGA brought the U.S. Women's Amateur the following year. The PGA returned in 1990 and 1991 with staging of The Tour Championship. The USGA returned in 1994 with the U.S. Senior Open and Pinehurst was established as a fitting test for championship golf. The successful staging of the U.S. Men's Open in 1999 and 2005 validated that reputation, along with Padgett's legacy. He was inducted into the Carolinas PGA Hall of Fame in 1998 and named a Living Legend by the PGA of America.
Don Padgett was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 2006.