There’s a buzz going around the mountains about the great changes at Springdale Country Club at Cold Mountain in Canton. Golfers know that in 2018, Springdale was sold to Springdale Golf Partners, LLC, resulting in the appointment of a new general manager and PGA pro, Buddy Lawrence, and a round of golf course renovations.
A little history
Fred Tingle had a vision of a nine-hole golf course in the mountains when he bought the Springdale Farm in Canton in 1968. He added nine more holes in 1972.
Springdale is known for rolling hills, mountain creeks and the drop-dead scenery of Cold Mountain. It’s a 6,800-yard course to “challenge every club in your bag.” The wickedly difficult par-four hole, known as “The Spasm,” is a challenging hole that everyone will tell you is tough.
The front nine holes roll through the picturesque valley of the east fork of the Pigeon River and the back nine, which are up to an elevation of 3,200-feet, offer mountain views, including the famous Cold Mountain.
Tingle passed away in 2005 and his wife, Eunice, and son, Stephen, sold the resort to the father and son duo, Zan and Lex West, of Springdale Golf Partners, LLC in 2018.
Enter new vision
The West family has enjoyed the Springdale area of Canton for many years. Zan has a summer home in the Springdale area and Lex spent summers here when he was in college.
“They are wonderful people,” Lawrence said. “The upgrades to Springdale are all about their passion for the area and the Springdale community.”
The Wests hired Lawrence, a seasoned veteran of golf course management, as general manager. Lawrence has 30 years’ experience in all phases the golf business. He’s a Class A PGA pro, and has served as head golf pro, general manager and golf course superintendent in past for golf communities. Plus, he has a NC real estate broker license.
In recent years, most in the golf community know that upkeep to the Springdale course had been lacking, prior the new ownership.
Enter new ownership and a seasoned general manager — and great things started happening. During last winter, work was done on drainage and renovation of 28 bunkers.
This winter, Lawrence said that they will do a complete irrigation renovation on the course.
“We’re taking the proper agronomy steps to get ‘the bones healthy,’” Lawrence said. “We’re building upon what Mother Nature gave us here — we’re not moving a lot of dirt. Mother Nature had this property laid out for us.”
Springdale Country Club has seen great success since the new ownership and management have come on site.
“Our play has doubled since new management,” Lawrence said.
Local golfers agree that the refreshed course is great for play.
“The upgrades to the course were long overdue, but the changes are wonderful,” said Maggie Valley resident Tommy Finger.
“The difference between two years ago and now is phenomenal,” added WNC summer resident Fred Barruth.
The same business increase is true for the popular ‘Stay and Play’ all-inclusive packages during season.
“Stay and Play has doubled, and we’re getting reservations left and right,” Lawrence said.
Springdale has lodging options on site, many overlooking the golf course, including Golf Watch Villas, Forest Homes, Country Cabins and unique Tree Houses.
Customer service is as important as the golf course renovations. Springdale now employs a staff of 40 people.
When guests check-in for a Stay and Play package, they are given a golf cart for the duration, so they don’t have to deal with cars while they are on property.
Guests enjoy a country-style buffet breakfast and dinners, served family-style, at the Cold Mountain Restaurant. The Rocky Face Tavern is a casual bar and grill, with a veranda overlooking hole #9. The Snack Shack is open during the day.
Springdale does not have a chef, but rather, “really good cooks, who make really good food,” Lawrence said.
Locals are welcome to dine at Springdale. Check the event calendar online for dining times and entertainment.
Youth golf is important. Springdale has a junior league scholarship program; is organizing free junior golfer clinics; and allows children to play for free with an accompanying adult after 3 p.m.
Extensive planning is going on now for Springdale Country Club to achieve its vision as a “Boutique Mountain Resort.”
“We are meeting with land planners, and the vision should be on paper in the next three months,” Lawrence said. “We want to retain mountain hospitality, but be a boutique mountain resort.”
Part of the process is going through ‘charrette’ intensive planning sessions. On the horizon, Lawrence envisions Springdale hosting an amateur golf tournament, where younger players “can cut their teeth” in tournament play.
In the near-term, fall foliage events are the works for when the golf season ends Oct. 15. As WNC folks know, the scenery in the Springdale area is wonderful. The resort is close to the Blue Ridge Parkway and some of the best leaf peeping in WNC.
To the locals
Springdale at Cold Mountain is taking bookings for group events of up to 40 people in its restaurants, including private parties, small business meetings and Christmas parties.
The golf resort is open to public play and offers memberships. Springdale welcomes locals to dine and play.
“We are building our vision,” Lawrence said. “We want our members to be happy, we want the Stay and Play guests to be happy and we want public players to be happy.”
Folks can expect more exciting developments at Springdale in the future.
“We’re looking at an action-packed tournament season next year,” Lawrence said. “We plan to host an open tournament in spring and fall.”
No doubt, Lawrence will realize his vision of a community-supported amateur tournament in the not-too-distant future.
Springdale at Cold Mountain is at 200 Golfwatch Road, Canton (entrance on U.S. 276 in the Cruso area). Call Springdale Country Club at 828-235-8451 or visit www.springdalegolf.com.