Lake Lure, Champion Hills and Cherokee Valley Offer Superb Golf
Beat the Heat by Driving North into the Blue Ridge Mountains
The relentless heat and humidity of the Deep South’s summers makes golfers dream about cooler temperatures and drier air. A little drive up to the Blue Ridge mountains of to Cherokee Valley, Rumbling Bald and Champion Hills is a good way to beat the heat.
To get started just take the five-hour ride from Huntsville up to the booming city of Greenville, South Carolina.
Speaking of cool – Greenville is about the coolest town you’ll find these days. Formerly a textile town, Greenville has been transformed into an economic juggernaut underpinned by Southern culture, arts, shopping, dining and drinking.
En Route, Take in the Sights in Greenville, South Carolina
With its walkable downtown and Main Street anchored by the Reedy River waterfalls and park, Greenville has attractions for everyone. If you get famished or parched, there are over 1,000 eateries and 18 breweries to take care of you.
Heading farther north into the mountains through the town of Travelers Rest, it’s time to tee it up. The Cherokee Valley Course and Club is a semi-private full-service club in the heart of a handsome residential community.
Cherokee Valley is a home to a P. B. Dye design that serves as the home course for North Greenville University as well as members and public golfers. P. B. Dye, son of the late, legendary course architect Pete Dye, displays some of his father’s characteristic design challenges but a bit more benevolently.
“People always ask me what my design philosophy is,” P.B. said. “Well, did you have fun? Did you want to come back? That’s my philosophy. You have to design courses that are enjoyable for men and women or you’ll never have a happy couple play your golf course.”
Rumbling Bald Designed by Dan Maples and WB Lewis
From Traveler’s Rest in South Carolina, head north a few miles into North Carolina to Rumbling Bald resort on beautiful Lake Lure.
Lake Lure is a mountain lake framed by towering mountains, including famous Chimney Rock. The history of the town of Lake Lure traces back to 1902 when Dr Luscious B. Morse and his brothers Hiram and Asahel started buying up land, eventually owning over 8,000 acres.
By 1925 they had created the Carolina Mountain Power Company and then built a dam on the Broad River. flooding the valley (and the town of Buffalo) creating the 720-acre lake with 27 miles of shoreline.
Located on the north end of Lake Lure is the rambling Rumbling Bald Resort that is the perfect base for family enjoyment.
Rumbling Bald is rich with amenities and activities, including scenic Lake Lure boat tours, boat rentals, tennis, pickleball, a full-service spa and hiking trails. Families enjoy the Trout Stream Pool and Lazy River, winding its way through the outdoor pool area where guests relax under fan-cooled covered seating. It’s the perfect base camp for exploring the natural wonders of western North Carolina and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The resort also features two mighty fine resort golf courses, Apple Valley and Bald Mountain.
New Champion Bermuda Greens at the Bald Mountain Course
Rumbling Bald’s marquee course, Apple Valley, stretches to nearly 6,800 yards and features expansive views of Bald Mountain. Golf course architect Dan Maples estimated 75 percent of the shots at Apple Valley are either level or downhill, virtually unheard of for a mountain course. Shimmering mountain lakes adorn 12 holes, but water only occasionally comes into play.
New Champion Bermuda greens were installed on every hole in the summer of 2020, a superior ultradwarf turf that’s heat tolerant and easy to maintain in Rumbling Bald’s temperate climate. It has speeds up to two feet faster on the Stimpmeter than other ultradwarf turf cultivars. Noteworthy holes include the par-3 8th, featuring a stunning view of Bald Mountain, and the par-3 14th with its panorama of Young’s Mountain.
Bald Mountain, Rumbling Bald’s original W.B. Lewis-designed mountain-style golf course, re-opened on April 1, 2021, after undergoing a series of enhancements to beautify its surrounds, increase overall playability and restore its original shot values.
Throughout the 6,300-yard par-72 layout, tree canopy coverage was reduced, allowing for more sunlight to penetrate areas around tee boxes and green complexes. On several dogleg holes, tree lines were restored to their original borders, providing golfers more options on approach shots into greens. New turf was installed on several tee boxes and in fairways running up to green complexes.
The property’s 150 vacation rental homes, condos and studios are ideal for golf groups of various sizes and feature golf course and mountain views. In addition to golf, Rumbling Bald homeowners have access to an onsite spa and salon, wellness center, three restaurants, beach and lakefront swimming and water activities, and a 125-slip gated marina. Some of the best hiking east of the Mississippi is only minutes away, and day trip options to myriad quaint Blue Ridge Mountain towns abound.
Discovery Packages Available at Rumbling Bald
For those who’d like to sample life at Rumbling Bald before considering a move, discovery packages include golf, a tour of the property, a scenic boat tour of the lake, and lodging in the retreat’s Apple Valley Studios. Guests can also book larger villas and luxury mountain homes and explore Rumbling Bald at their own pace.
For more information on Rumbling Bald, visit here.
If you become completely enamored by the Carolina mountain beauty and climate and think you might want to plant some roots, then there is no better place than Champion Hills in Hendersonville, North Carolina.
At the heart of Champion Hills is one of architect Tom Fazio’s greatest creations. Opened in 1989 and located in a secluded, though not isolated, location up at 3,000 above sea level, the 6,510-yard Champion Hills Club offers a stunning site heavily forested in evergreens, maples, rhododendrons and mountain laurels intersected by streams and ravines.
Although there is over 200 feet of elevation change on the golf course, through Fazio’s mastery of design, only six shots play uphill. Champion Hills is stunningly beautiful and a fulfilling golf experience.
In setting out to design Champion Hills’ layout in the late 1980s, Fazio loves to tell the story of how his entire crew asked to work on the project. Normally they’d be spread out among several states, or even countries. But there was something about the setting that stirred their collective souls.
“As we are building the golf course, these views are showing up all over and the mountains,” Fazio says. “The quality of the golf is second to none. It’s hard to have a favorite hole because this property has a lot of variety to it. It has a lot of different angles, views, elevations, backdrops and settings. They all look different.”
Although Champion Hills is a well-established community that offers, in addition to golf, lighted tennis courts, a wellness center, a park with a playground and a picnic area, outdoor heated pool and hydro spa, bocce courts and regular community events, there is room for more.
If a second home, a retirement home, or a wonderful place to raise your children might be in your future, Champion Hills is well worth investigating. Contact email@example.com or visit here.
Wayne Mills is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America.