Playing Golf In The Piedmont
Lonnie Poole Golf Course at N.C. State
The name Lonnie Poole does not grab the same recognition in golf circles as, say, Arnold Palmer; however, golfers in the Raleigh area are soon to be uttering both names with regularity.
Poole, the founder and chairman of Waste Industries and a graduate of North Carolina State University in the late 1950s, donated $3 million for the naming rights to his alma mater’s new golf course. Designed by Palmer, the Lonnie Poole Golf Course at N.C. State opened for public play in March 2009.
Academic motivations were a prime driver for the new layout. The course will serve as an on-site research location for the university’s nationally recognized Turfgrass Management degree program. It will also house N.C. State’s Professional Golf Management program, an academic and playing discipline that prepares PGA-sanctioned golf professionals.
Richard Sykes, the golf coach at N.C. State for more than 35 years who has coached PGA Tour standouts including Carl Pettersson and Tim Clark on his Wolfpack teams, also finally gets a home layout to call his own. N.C. State was one of the few remaining large universities without its own campus course.
N.C. State graduates Brandon Johnson and Erik Larsen serve as lead architects with the Arnold Palmer Design Company. Both have played significant roles in the design of the par-71, 7,210-yard course.
There is an additional strong Wolfpack tie-in with the Lonnie Poole Golf Course. College basketballs fans likely recall North Carolina State Coach Jim Valvano’s “Cardiac Pack” capturing an unlikely national championship in 1983. Valvano lost his battle against cancer in 1993, but his inspirational story has provided hope to countless others fighting the disease.
The Lonnie Poole Golf Course will be the new home for Jimmy V Celebrity Golf Classic for Cancer Research. The event is set for August 2009. Valvano’s V Foundation, created prior to his death from bone cancer, has raised more than $80 million for cancer research.
By Patrick Jones
By Patrick Jones
added: January 16, 2009
updated: February 5, 2010