Bobby Weed Golf Design (“BWGD”) – retained by new ownership group Raines to return a western North Carolina gem to national prominence – announces the reopening of the Waynesville Inn & Golf Club. Weed’s creative repurposing plan has transformed 27 holes into an 18-hole resort facility, accompanied by a new wedge course, driving range, short game complex, lighted Himalayan putting green, golf cottages and numerous parcels for future development. The revived golf course debuts as the centerpiece of the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains resort.
“The Waynesville Inn & Golf Club’s new routing is compelling, memorable and avoids repetition,” said golf course designer, Bobby Weed. “Quality courses should have a rhythm of scoring opportunities and challenges. The design variety should also provide different hole shapes, distances and shot options for the player to discern. We accomplished these goals during our renovation.”
Located 30 miles west of Asheville, the Waynesville Inn & Golf Club was founded as Waynesville Country Club in 1926. The former dairy farm was converted into a nine-hole golf course and boutique Inn. Donald Ross designed this original “Carolina 9.” Two more nines were constructed in 1929 (“Dogwood”) and 1986 (“Blue Ridge”) as land became available.
In April 2021, Raines hired BWGD to repurpose the entire property. The goal was to build a best-fit 18-hole course, practice facilities and related hospitality services, while planning for future development opportunities with higher land value uses. The following elements were included:
BWGD respected the original front nine routing in the newly named “Ross Nine.” This picturesque, compact set of holes weaves across a valley floor, flanked by streams, evergreen and deciduous trees while surrounded by mountains.
Weed’s sympathetic restoration brought back many of Ross’ design intents. Yardage was added where possible, while maintaining the charm and playability of the former layout. The difficulty of the front nine remains reminiscent of the small greens, short-cut surrounds and bunkering that add interest and strategy in such a fashion that Mr. Ross would approve of for today’s play.
The par 35 is comprised of two par 3s, six par 4s and one par 5. Weed cleverly transformed the first tee box into a multi-use space. 11,000 square feet of tightly mown bentgrass lawn will serve as both a teeing ground and pristine outdoor event space adjacent to the resort.
The routing is well suited for walking. Greens and tees are close in proximity and strategically positioned for all skill levels. In-play areas (tees, fairways, greens) consist of bentgrass varieties. Turf-type tall fescues comprise the roughs. Mixtures of fine fescues on hillsides and out-of-play areas add contrast and frame the perimeter of the property.
The new back side, dubbed the “Weed Nine,” is a nine-hole composite layout that consolidates 18 holes from the “Dogwood” and “Blue Ridge” routings. The former holes not utilized were converted into practice areas and future residential development pods.
BWGD’s transformation of two nines into one allowed the firm to create a conspicuous, eye-catching set of mountainous holes with panoramic views. The Weed Nine’s par 36 offers three par 3s, 4s and 5s. With noticeably more rolling topography, greens were shaped with gentle slopes and falloffs to closely resemble the Ross Nine.
“In partnering with Bobby Weed Golf Design, we’ve been able to elevate this historic destination into a must-visit hub for golfers and guests alike,” said Grey Raines, co-managing partner of Raines. “By preserving the heart of this iconic design and incorporating top-notch amenities, we’ve created a venue that genuinely celebrates the stunning western North Carolina landscape.”
An out-and-back “Wedge Park” short course was tactically designed between the first and 18th hole fairways. Situated near the Inn, this design is great for short-game training, after-round play and family fun.
The practice area is highlighted by an 18,000-square-foot Himalayan putting course. Designed with moderate slopes, swales and plateaus, the free-range green offers fun entertainment during practice sessions and putting contests. It will be lighted for night use.
A new driving range, chipping and bunker complex were also constructed.
The 32-room Inn was overhauled with contemporary amenities that preserve the spirit of the original 1920s design. More lodging options are nestled in the revitalized 28-room Golfview and 12-room Brookside lodges.
Two expanded food and beverage offerings are available to members. Located upstairs and overlooking the first tee, The Grill will serve daily breakfast, lunch and dinners with locally sourced ingredients. The Watershed Tavern, named after Waynesville’s historic reservoir, features a rotating selection of wines, local brews and old-world favorites complemented by a seasonal menu.
The guest experience will further be enhanced with a new-look pro shop, lobby, fitness center, pool and areas for meetings and events.
A key element in the land plan, led by Weed and design associate Joey Graziani, was identifying a new 10-acre infill parcel within the development. On three acres, eight newly constructed four-bedroom, four-bathroom golf cottages will reside. These spacious cottages will be available to rent when not in use by private owners.
Along the 10th and 12th hole fairways, development parcels have been earmarked for future mountain bungalows and single-family homes.
“My wife, Leslie, has generational ties to Waynesville that date back over 100 years,” continued Weed. “As long-time seasonal residents, this was a dream come true to personally steer the club in a new direction for future generations.”
BWGD has extensive knowledge of preserving and improving Donald Ross designs. Other Ross layouts that the firm has restored include Linville GC, Myers Park CC, Palatka GC, Palma Ceia G&CC, Timuquana CC and the University of Florida’s Mark Bostick GC.
About Bobby Weed Golf Design
Bobby Weed Golf Design (“BWGD”) possesses some of the most innovative minds in golf. Weed has designed over 50 new courses and comprehensive renovations spanning from the “golden age” of design to the “modern era.” His work features a balance of visual appeal, sustainability and playability, all informed by an environmentally sensitive aesthetic and an exceptional hands-on approach.
His professional career began in the 1970s with an extended apprenticeship under Pete Dye, sparking a 40-year friendship with Mr. Dye. Hired in 1983 as the Golf Course Superintendent at TPC Sawgrass, Weed went on to become the PGA TOUR’s first in-house golf course designer. He was responsible for many of today’s best known TPC venues, which continue as host sites for prominent professional events. In 1994, Weed’s career reached new heights with the formation of his own design firm. Both his original and renovated courses are consistently ranked at the top of their respective design categories.
BWGD is also a leader in golf course repurposing – a means to update layouts through redesign and reallocation of partial acreage for higher value land uses. Repurposing allows for refined and durable golf course designs to be melded with a land plan that creates added value. BWGD has observed that full course conversions often meet stiff resistance, whereas partial conversions can unify stakeholders to produce unanimous approval votes. Repurposed and renovated golf courses are consistently proving that they can generate additional rounds and revenue.
Weed is a member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects. He is also a 40-plus year member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, was a former Certified Golf Course Superintendent and is a member of the Florida Turfgrass Association.
Design associate Joey Graziani was one of the industry’s first ASGCA Wadsworth Scholars. He oversees numerous aspects of the firm’s design, project management, hands-on shaping and finish work.
More information: bobbyweed.com, 904.910.2876