Grandfather Golf & Country Club Completes Modernization Project
ASGCA Bobby Weed's Guidance Preserves & Enhances Ellis Maples Fame Layout
By Dave Daubert
Linville, N.C.--Grandfather Golf & Country Club is pleased to announce the successful completion of a three-year modernization project of its Championship Course by Bobby Weed Golf Design of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Situated northeast of Ashville in a scenic valley between two Smokey Mountain ridges, the Championship Course was originally designed by Ellis Maples in 1968 as one of America's first true mountain courses. Maples later designed a second course on-site named Mountain Springs, which was constructed in 1977 to monetize the remaining real estate development inside the gates of Grandfather.
Bobby Weed Golf Design has provided consulting services focused on short-term improvements and Master Plans to both golf courses for over a decade. Weed, a nearby seasonal resident, has tactically overseen these projects that have restored and improved upon Maples' originals.
"My past conversations with golf course architect Ed Seay-who mentored under Ellis Maples and served as the on-site project manager-assisted our firm in understanding Maples' true design objectives," said Weed. "Ed also revealed how challenging the golf course construction was in difficult mountain conditions. From those discussions, we have upheld their design philosophies, while improving upon the golf course's infrastructure, maintenance and aesthetics."
The following elements were included in Weed's enhancements, which took place during each fall and spring from 2019-2022.
Tees- A tee shift on hole 11 to the left expands the playing angle and sight line for drives. A new tee complex was built on hole 16 to add length and reduce the severity of the dog leg down a treacherous creek bed. Both changes influenced the "risk versus reward" strategy.
Bunkers- Fairway bunkers were methodically rebuilt on hols 8, 10, 11 and 18 for improved maintainability and visual contrast.
Infrastructure-As a seasonal club subject to above-average rainfall and harsh winters, it was of utmost importance to maximize drainage and playability. Diversion swales were reinstalled on the high sides of many holes to better contain surface runoff from encroaching onto the holes. Herringbone drainage systems were also installed in every fairway to enhance surface and subsurface drainage, as well as retain firm playing conditions. Both structures now convey water into a primary storm drain.
"On-going golf course infrastructure improvements are imperative to maintaining our high standards," said GM of Grandfather Golf & Country Club John Cunningham. "We are appreciative of Bobby Weed Golf Design for their long-term commitment and relationship to our club."
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About: Dave Daubert
David has been writing about golf since the turn of the century. He was Managing Editor at a regional golf magazine for 11 years, published in Canada, the IAGTO and a Staff Writer for The Georgia Golf Trail. His insightful perspective brings golf to life.