Experience The Maggie Valley Golf Club
Things can move slowly in the hollows of the North Carolina Mountains west of Asheville. It is a leisurely pace perhaps dictated by the low-lying clouds that patiently weave their way through the region’s peaks and valleys. The recurrent purplish and gray mist that oftentimes clings to the hills lends the Smoky Mountains its name.
The town of Maggie Valley is no exception to the area’s pleasingly modest pace. Progress has been measured. New hotels compete with, and are outnumbered by, 1950s-era motor inns and cottages. Maggie Valley’s main thoroughfare, Soco Road, features an eclectic mix of modern entertainment venues among aged huts selling sourwood honey. Upscale restaurants rub elbows with an only-in-these-parts business selling life-sized wooden bear carvings.
The local Maggie Valley Club had similarly moseyed along with patchwork updates and renovations – until modernization arrived with a quick vengeance in recent years. A new partnership purchased the club in 2000 and has transformed the facility into one of the best golf getaways in the Western Carolinas.
Forty-four upscale condominiums were built along the closing holes on the front nine. Significant updates were also made to the course itself, including extensive fairway drainage improvements, lengthened holes, rerouted cart paths and new tee boxes. The club relocated its driving range and built a much improved version. A short-game practice area was added. A new pool and an additional 33 high-end condominiums were erected on the site of the former driving range.
But those changes pale in comparison to the $6 million invested in a new clubhouse, which officially opened on Easter Weekend in 2007. Its stacked stone and wooden beam exterior architecture seamlessly blends into its Southern Appalachian surroundings. With the exception of the same address, there is little similar – even recognizable – to the previous facility.
Visitors returning after an absence of a few years often seem dumbstruck.
“They are in awe of what they see,” says General Manager Richard Brucki. “They are blown away by the transformation of the property as a whole. The clubhouse lends itself to the mountain flavor but also has all of the state-of-the-art technology needed to host banquets and business meetings. The new facility was built on the foundation of the old clubhouse. It is a unique and special blending of the old and new.”
The 18,000-square-foot structure houses casual and fine dining facilities with indoor and outdoor seating, well-appointed men’s and locker rooms, a fitness center, offices, meeting rooms with high tech equipment, stone fireplaces, plasma televisions and a new detached golf pro shop.
The course, opened in 1963, has always provided an entertaining challenge. The front nine was designed by Wilmore Bremmer on the bottomlands of the former Moody Farm. The mostly flat opening nine is a relaxing respite in comparison to the back nine, which gradually climbs into the foothills before plunging back down the mountain on the closing holes. Maggie Valley Club has long challenged the area’s best amateurs as regular host to the Western North Carolina Seniors Open and the Jane Marville Junior Championship.
Along with the physical changes, the Maggie Valley has also undergone some cultural alterations.
“We believe we have introduced a new level of recreation and entertainment for this area,” says Brucki. “We pride ourselves on our service. There are a lot of great physical facilities out there, but what separates us, with all the great assets we have, is our people. We work very hard to ingrain a level of service that starts with a core of courtesy and friendliness and hospitality.”
Maggie Valley Club offers an array of stay-and-play golf packages that include accommodations in the recently built upscale condominiums. Cottages and home sites are also available for purchase for those seeking more permanent digs.
Maggie Valley Club plays to a relatively short 6,466 yards from the back tees, but accomplished golfers should not be lulled into overconfidence. Proper club selection, particularly on the closing nine, is a top priority. The closing holes also feature sloping, quick rolling greens that require deft touch and accurate reads.
“The biggest thing is our golf course is in impeccable condition,” says Brucki. “The natural setting it is in makes it half sightseeing and half playing golf because of the views. Some are spectacular. It offers enough challenges for the accomplished golfer to keep them interested but it doesn’t hamper the high handicapper so that it’s no fun. It’s challenging, but forgiving. It’s as much fun for the 3-handicapper as the 33-handicapper.”
Off the golf course, there is no shortage of attractions in and around the area. Ghost Town in the Sky is a Maggie Valley tradition. The family theme park features a roller coaster, staged gunfights and live music shows. Maggie Valley has its fair share of shopping opportunities as does nearby Waynesville. Gaming is available on the nearby Cherokee Indian Reservation. Those interested in hiking and other outdoor pursuits can explore Smoky Mountain National Park. The bustling city of Asheville is approximately a 30-minute drive away.
Maggie Valley Club employs a full-time concierge who will help visitors enjoy the property as well as the surrounding area. “There is a lot more to offer,” says Brucki. “We have a long list of things we can help you get into – whitewater rafting, horseback riding, trout fishing, you name it.”
By Patrick Jones
By Patrick Jones
added: December 19, 2008
updated: January 2, 2009