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Pushcart Mafia, Resorts Reopening and Golf in the New Normal News

If golf in the Carolinas was given a yellow flag in March and April, to borrow a NASCAR term, May and the months ahead are starting to look more and more like green.

More than 97% of golf courses are open in North and South Carolina, and across the U.S. the percentage of open courses has jumped from under 50% in early April to 95% as of May 17.

Hotels, vacation rentals and restaurants are beginning to reopen, and “destination” golf is experiencing a reboot after its abrupt CTL ALT DEL in March.

Here are a few news items and notes from the Old North and Palmetto States, as well as an update from Austin-based Walker Trolleys (as you’ve likely read, the pushcart category is blowing up of late).

Rumbling Bald Resort, Lake Lure, N.C.

At Rumbling Bald Resort, the Bald Mountain course has reopened for public and resort play; Dan Maples designed Apple Valley has closed while its greens are upgraded to Champion Bermuda grass.

Vacation rental condos and homes have also been allowed to “unlock their doors,” so to speak, and carefully and safely welcome late spring and early summer guests.

And while many golfers aren’t quite ready to return to the friendly skies, they’re not hesitating to jump in their respective vehicles for a golf buddy or couples road trip.

“We want golfers to get here, unplug, play 18 or 36 holes and shed the stress of the past couple months,” says Rumbling Bald General Manager Jeff Geisler. “Post round, they can relax with a cold beverage and a cigar on the deck of their vacation rental.”

We’re in the early stages of planning a media outing / overnight trip for the reopening of Apple Valley in late August or early September. Please email me at your earliest convenience if you’re interested in attending.

Pinehurst Resort, Pinehurst, N.C.

Pinehurst Resort officials recently announced the Carolina Hotel will reopen this Friday, May 22, and posted the Pinehurst Promise at its website detailing the measures and guidelines it’s taking to ensure guest and employee safety.

The resort is following the state’s phasing plan for reopening its lodging and dining, including the wildly popular Pinehurst Brewing Co. and recently opened North & South Bar in the reimagined Manor Inn.

Pinehurst’s 10 courses have remained open throughout the pandemic, providing members and guests with much needed exercise and enjoyment. As most of you know, walking isn’t just allowed at Pinehurst, it is encouraged.

Donald Ross’s famed No. 2 Course (restored by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw) and the reimagined No. 4 Course designed by Gil Hanse are both properly played on foot. Caddies are also available on No. 2, ideal for navigating the rigors of this storied U.S. Open venue.

The No. 1 and No. 3 courses – both designed by Ross, both under 6,100 yards – are two of the best walking tracks in the country. No. 3 was recently restored to its original Sandhills aesthetic by Kyle Franz and is chock-full of trademark Ross design characteristics.

Cherokee Valley Course and Club, Greenville, S.C.

Locally owned and operated, Cherokee Valley is getting closer to the grand opening of its destination restaurant and pub, CORE 450. This will be a game changer for a property that already features an 18-hole P.B. designed course, on-site cottages for stay-and-plays and arguably the best practice facility in the Upstate.

If you’re in the Carolinas or traveling along the I-85 corridor, I’d love to explore hosting you at Cherokee Valley. It’s location in the “Blue Ridge” region of Greenville County is only 1.5 hours from Rumbling Bald, for those who’d like to double-up.

Sea Pines Country Club, Hilton Head, S.C.

The word from “SPCC” is that former PGA Tour player and Champions Tour member Stephen Ames was at the club this week visiting his younger brother Robbie, who is the General Manager. Robbie caddied for Stephen on Tour for several years and was on his bag when the older Ames wone the PLAYERS in 2006.

If you are covering private clubs, golf-related real estate, or Hilton Head, don’t hesitate to contact me about visiting the club and playing The Club Course. Shameless plug, here’s a link to a story I wrote for Local Life Magazine back in March about Robbie and this beguiling Lowcountry layout.

Walker Trolleys, Austin

Wow, what a ride it has been for Walker Trolleys’ founder Brad Payne. He quit a biz dev job with Apple and moved to Austin just over a year ago to launch a start-up company via Kickstarter. The Cape model was well-received at the PGA Show back in January and the first round of production is nearly sold out.

The second round of production is underway, and we hope to have more flexibility, and availability, of media samples by the end of June. Reach out anytime if you’re interested in the Walker Trolleys story.

That’s all for now, stay safe and hope to see you on the back nine of this thing later this year.


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