There is a Ryder Cup team, a President’s Cup team, a Walker Cup team and for many golfers a scramble team.
Those are the teams for golfers, but behind the scenes at the courses they play there is also a team.
At Cleghorn Plantation in Rutherfordton, NC PGA Professional and General Manager Dave Long has built a team that has restored the course and returned Cleghorn to a must play course in the Upstate.
Going into his third year as GM, Long has assembled an effective staff that has produced wonderful playing conditions and a golfing atmosphere that is enjoyable and memorable.
“Over the last couple of years we have done some really great things to the course, but it has taken a little time for all of them to come together,” said Long.
Mother Nature has had a hand in slowing down some of the improvements that had been part of the plan for the course.
“Last year, we would get the greens in great shape, but the fairways would be a little behind. I think everything is on track this year to have the fairways and greens in excellent condition for the spring,” he said.
One of the major improvements has been the addition of a new maintenance program for the course.
Cleghorn Plantation is working in conjunction with Chris Simon and the Harrell’s Company.
“We are doing a wall to wall fertilizer spread this spring,” said Trevor Jolley, Cleghorn Plantation’s superintendent. “We have also done a specialized weed control to the fairways to maximise the 419 Bermuda and give us what we think are the best greens and fairways in Western North Carolina,” he added.
The course was designed by George Cobb and takes full advantage of the terrain to create wonderful views of the surrounding mountains.
Cleghorn Plantation plays like a mountain golf course without having to travel the extra hours to get up into the mountains.
The course is not surrounded by housing developments and has minimal frontage to area roads. It is course that can be a quiet getaway where golf is all the matters.
An outstanding golf course is only part of the improvements at Cleghorn. The course has stepped up its food and beverage services under the direction of Rita Whittemore.
“All of our food is prepared to order,” said Whittemore. “We have charcoal grilled burgers, a wide variety of soft drinks and beers and a daily lunch special,” she added.
Since the ownership change three years ago, the club membership has increased. Cleghorn Plantation is open to the public, but encourages membership for special values.
“Members enjoy playing in our special events,” said Customer Service Manager Marissa Adkins. “The annual Member-Guest tournament is always a great event. Club members receive Pro Shop discounts, reduced fees for guests and “Clubs for Cost” when they are buying new equipment,” she said.
Cleghorn also has special incentives for new members regardless of where they live. Any membership questions can be answered with a call to Adkins.
This year the Demo Day will be held on Saturday, April 16th. The session will feature the new 2016 Titleist clubs and a Titleist Fitting professional to help with club adjustments.
“Every pro knows to play your best you need your clubs to be fitted properly. The Demo Day will include a Trackman to get accurate feedback on individual’s club measurements,” said Long.
This is the only Titleist Demo Day in Western North Carolina.
The day is free, but Long asks that interested golfers call the Golf Shop to register. The number is 828-286-9117.
The course has been a favorite for small group getaways. While Cleghorn is capable of handling large outings it is smaller groups that can be accommodated almost any day of the week.
“Groups of 16 to 30 golfers can fit right into our schedule and still leave plenty of tee times for our members and other golfers,” said the pro.
One of the events at the club that has gained in popularity has been the monthly 2 Man Best Ball tournaments that are held on Saturdays.
The first one of the season will be played on March 19th. Golfers compete for pro shop prizes and points. A Fed/Ex Cup points system is used during the year leading up to a “Major” event in the fall to determine the season’s champion.
While Cleghorn Plantation is often considered a little off the usual path, the rest of the world has gotten much closer.
The course is comfortable drive from Greenville, Spartanburg, Asheville, Hendersonville and Charlotte.
The recent opening of the $100 million Tryon International Equestrian Center has brought many newcomers to the area.
“We have seen a number of people play golf and then go over to the Equestrian Center for their shows. It makes for a nice day trip,” said Long.
The Center is just 8 minutes from Cleghorn Plantation and features restaurants in addition to the equestrian events.
“If you have not played Cleghorn recently we would like to invite you to come out and play the course and see all the improvements to the fairways and greens,” said Long.
Tee times can be made online at http://www.cleghornplantation.com, or by calling the golf shop at 828-286-9117.