How hot is golf participation these days? Consider these words from Adam Bowles, director of golf operations at Rumbling Bald on Lake Lure, NC:
“The wave is high and hasn’t crashed… Since this past June we’ve had an endless supply of golfers. Like nothing we’ve ever seen before.”
Rumbling Bald has two outstanding mountain courses – Apple Valley and Bald Mountain – and is open for golf year round, which makes it an ideal choice for a family and buddy golf trip.
“Thirty-six holes in western North Carolina is pretty hard to come by,’’ Bowles said as he stood outside the Apple Valley clubhouse. “We’re proud of that fact.’’
Indeed, there is a lot to be proud of – golf and otherwise – at Rumbling Bald, a 2,900-acre resort overlooking Lure Lake in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains only about 60 minutes from Hendersonville, N.C. With Bald Mountain as a backdrop and Lake Lure as a centerpiece, Rumbling Bald is one of western Carolina’s more popular destinations for watersports and seasonal and year-round living.
The main road to and from Hendersonville winds through Chimney Rock State Park and the outdoors-centric towns of Chimney Rock and Lake Lure, each popular summer/fall destinations for boating, zip-lining and river rafting. The resort itself offers boat rentals, private sand beach, spa and fitness center, hiking trails, swimming pool and three restaurants. Don’t pass on dinner with a lake view at Legends on the Lake.
And then there is golf. Despite being sister courses, Apple Valley (6,756 yards, par 72) and Bald Mountain are contrasts in design, topography and even grasses. Each course is open to the public, as well as members. Guest lodging at Rumbling Bald includes more than 150 units that range from studios to condos to luxury homes.
Bald Mountain (6,300 yards, par 72), designed by George Cobb, is a tight, mountain layout that requires more precision than power to its bentgrass greens. Bald Mountain is one of only a handful of courses in the region that features five par-three holes and five par-five holes. It’s more of an “acquired taste’’ amongst golfers than is Apple Valley, but one that definitely is worth the effort. Regardless of score, you won’t be disappointed.
In contrast to Bald Mountain’s bentgrass greens and narrow corridors, Apple Valley, designed by Dan Maples, features bermudagrass greens, an plays more in the valley (hence the name) with wide fairways, big greens and some great views of Bald Mountain, particularly from the par-four, 11th hole.
The back nine of Apple Valley plays up Young’s Mountain and back down again. Like most of the par-fives on Apple Valley, the finishing hole sets up to a downhill fairway that invites players to blast away with a driver. The 18th (562 yards from the tips), par-five , features a green surrounded by bunkers and running along the right side of the fairways. Good luck getting to the green in two shots.
But regardless of the score, Apple Valley is a quintessential resort/members course. That is, one that you never get tired of playing.
And Rumbling Bald on Lake Lure is a place you never get tired of visiting.