One of the many reasons we live in the Carolinas, and that golfers from throughout the U.S. love to visit here: there really is no off season. Sure, January brings highs in the 40s and 50s and even the occasional dusting of snow.
But with more than 220 days of sunshine, it never lasts long. And the first signs of spring appear in late February as Eastern redbuds and cherry trees bloom.
So yes, have-clubs-will travel types, teeing it up year-round in the Old North State is definitely “a thing.”
This year, Rumbling Bald is readying for a particularly exciting and eventful “peak” golf season getting underway in just a couple months. And there are so many powerful tailwinds propelling the $84 billion industry and great game ahead. Participation has normalized around 24 million golfers according to the National Golf Foundation.
More and more Millennials and Gen-Xers are picking up the game, replacing members of the Baby Boomer and Silent Generations who are aging out. Junior golf is as popular as ever, with 2.5 million young golfers hitting the fairways in 2019.
And refreshingly, the motto at golf courses and clubs throughout the U.S. has shifted from “survive and advance” to “innovate and prosper.”
“In 2020, we want golfers to get here, unplug, relax and repeat,” says General Manager Jeff Geisler. “They’ll be hard-pressed not to shed the stress of today’s hectic pace of life while playing Apple Valley or Bald Mountain and enjoying a drink or cigar on a deck afterward.”
We couldn’t agree more. And here are three reasons to get excited about the golf season ahead at Rumbling Bald.
1. Apple Valley Gets New Greens
Designed by noted golf course architect and Pinehurst native Dan Maples, Apple Valley will start its transition from its original bentgrass greens to smooth-rolling Champion Bermuda in June. Champion was chosen for its superior performance profile, heat tolerance and maintainability. It has speeds up to two feet faster than other ultradwarf cultivars as measured by stimpmeter. “We provide our golfers with the best possible experiences and Champion Bermuda checked all the boxes,” says Geisler. “Dan Maples’ layout and routing at Apple Valley is so pure from tee to green that smooth, true rolling Champion greens are the perfect fit.” Apple Valley is in elite company with its conversion from bentgrass to Champion Bermuda.
Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, site of the 2017 PGA Championship, and Pinehurst No. 2, host of the 1999, 2005, 2014 and 2024 U.S. Opens, have undergone the transition in recent years.
“We did our homework and Champion Bermuda came out ahead by a longshot,” says Rumbling Bald Director of Golf Course Maintenance Matt Lovell, CGCS. “We’re excited to see golfers’ reactions and receive their feedback once the conversion is complete this summer.”
Rumbling Bald’s marquee course, Apple Valley stretches to nearly 6,800 yards and features expansive views of Bald Mountain and the surrounding Lake Lure area.
Maples estimated 75% of shots at Apple Valley are either level or downhill, virtually unheard for a mountain course. Shimmering mountain lakes adorn 12 holes, but water only occasionally comes into play.
Apple Valley is open March 9 through May and will close in early June for the conversion to Champion Bermuda. It is scheduled to reopen in late August.
2. Mountain Golf at Bald Mountain
In addition to Apple Valley, golfers enjoy Bald Mountain, the resort’s original 18-hole mountain-style course. Designed by George Cobb protégé W.B. Lewis, Bald Mountain is a 6,300-yard shotmaker’s venue conveniently located next to lodging and amenities.
Bald Mountain, at 6,300 yards, is renowned for its unique configuration of five par 5s and five par 3s. Movie buffs appreciate the 16th green, the backdrop of a scene from the movie “Dirty Dancing.”
A protégé of golf course architect George Cobb, Lewis is known for his traditional approach to course design. This philosophy is reflected in Bald Mountain’s playability from tee to green.
“Bald Mountain feels and plays like a mountain course, whereas Apple Valley plays more like a traditional layout that happens to be in the mountains,” says Director of Golf Operations Adam Bowles.
3. Buddy Trips Done Right
Rumbling Bald’s 150 vacation rental homes, condos and studios are ideal for golf groups of various sizes and feature golf course and mountain views.
Post round, golfers can relax at Legends on the Lake, casual dining on shores of Lake Lure, or grab a hearty sandwich and cold drink at Pinnacle Southern Kitchen at the Apple Valley clubhouse.
For groups who want to branch out into other experiences, the resort is rich with amenities and activities, including scenic Lake Lure boat tours, boat rentals, tennis, pickleball, a full-service spa and hiking trails.
It’s the perfect basecamp for exploring the natural wonders of western North Carolina and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Be on the lookout as we roll-out new golf packages and promotions this spring. Until then, the Rumbling Bald golf team is at the ready help you design a custom golf experience. Simply call 828.694.3072 or click the “Contact Us” button below.