There are a bunch of prognosticators, organizations and committees in the golf industry reporting on how to attract new players to the game. Poised in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Cherokee Valley Course & Club’s new ownership has taken matters in their own hands by offering initiatives to keep existing golfers and getting new golfers on their course. Matt Jennings, PGA Director of Operations, and his family are the new vibrant owners and are moving the Club and Golf experiences to a whole new level.
Just a 20-minute drive from Greenville, South Carolina, named ‘the 4th Greatest Place in the USA to Retire’ by Fortune Magazine, the main attraction is still the P.B. Dye designed impeccably maintained 6,728-yard golf course as it winds up and down the hills with dramatic elevation changes and views found only in some of the finest mountain courses. The par 72, 18 hole layout has a slope/rating of 70.7/128 with four sets of tees for all to enjoy it.
The course is not for the faint of heart. It will test every shot in your arsenal but is also forgiving to wayward shots. Just when you think you are OB, the ball rolls down and back into the fairway like a gift from the golf-gods, allowing for a straight shot into the green. There are so many scenic holes, including the 16th, a par 4 with creeks bordering both sides of the fairway and a gorgeous waterfall, and the par 3, 8th that drops some 70 feet with a breathtaking view of Glassy Mountain in the distance. Awesome!
Here in Traveler’s Rest, South Carolina this golfing design jewel is just the beginning. From the moment you arrive at Cherokee Valley, you can feel the “fun vibe.” It is an elegant Southern-style club but certainly not stuffy. The whole sense of the place comes with a fun family experience and they do more than any other club in the Upstate to bring people together. From swimming in the resort-style pool, biking and hiking on the scenic trails, or working out in the fitness facility, if it involves fun they are all in.
As part of the club’s partnership with North Greenville University, Cherokee Valley members gain access to NGU’s Younts Wellness & Fitness Center, the campus’ workout facility, plus access to sporting and cultural events. Jennings says, “Our entire goal is to make this a dream club experience for families.”
So the kids can join in the fun there is a First Tee facility at the course. The North Greenville University’s men’s and women’s golf teams practice at the Cherokee Valley golf training facility and expansive practice range. There are indoor and outdoor practice facilities, Flightscope Launch Monitoring, and complete ‘Club & Bag Fitting’ available. Jennings and his professional staff are available for lessons. They also have a Fellowship of Christian Athletes Camp day every year to invite youth from the area to experience golf and fellowship.
Getting around the course: Cherokee Valley boasts the largest fleet of Finn Scooters east of the Mississippi. The two-wheel battery-powered “mini bikes” that carry the golf bag are perfect for hugging the curves of this hilly course. At a top speed of 20 mph, they also provide an ideal single-rider option for social distancing. Take it from me, the ride is phenomenal and cuts the time of an 18 hole round to inside 3 hours and works perfect in social distancing. Matt added, “We have golfers who drive from Atlanta just to enjoy riding the Finn Scooters while playing the course.”
Additionally, they have a new fleet of luxurious golf carts offering JBL mounted Bluetooth speakers to pair with a phone to listen to your favorite tunes while you play. The hills were alive with the sound of music! The E-Z-Go RXV carts with GPS also feature seats that are as comfortable as a couch.
The folks at Cherokee Valley also like to eat well. The food is excellently prepared and in plentiful servings–a step above what you find in a typical golf grill. Check out the beer-butt chicken salad sandwich which is smoked for over 3 hours– a sheer delight! Later this year they will be opening a full-service,”open-kitchen concept” restaurant called CORE 450, featuring a contemporary, casual theme with a diverse menu ranging from tapas and pizza to five-course meals. Executive Chef Todd Warden who studied under James Beard award-winning Chef Bob Kinkead, leads the CORE 450 culinary team.
Stay and Play options are available in The Cottages, conveniently located just a few steps from the golf shop and the first tee. Each Cottage has four separate bed-and-bath suites that offer panoramic views of the course and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The versatile Cottages can be rented as a one-bedroom suite or the entire house.
The owners have combined championship golf, fun ways to get around the course, delightful amenities, great food, practice facilities, and stay and play options-so what’s left. Price of course. Cherokee Valley is making golf affordable through a variety of membership opportunities. The daily fee is surprisingly low for the caliber of golf and amenities. It is no wonder they were recognized as one of ‘North America’s ‘Most Innovative’ Golf Courses by Golf Inc. Magazine. It’s a New Day, a New Way at a New Kind of Club.
To learn more about their golf packages, memberships and their instructional programs visit CherokeeValleyClub.com