Progress appears to be being made on Tiger Woods’s first US course, part of the giant Cliffs Communities developments in North and South Carolina.
The course, part of the 3,300 acre Cliffs at High Carolina development, had been stalled by a legal challenge brought by the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of the Western North Carolina Alliance and Trout Unlimited. The case centred on the course’s impact on headwater trout streams – the original design included extensive underground piping of such streams.
An agreement reached between the developers and the Southern Environmental Law Center will see this impact reduced by almost half –from 3,132 linear feet of stream impacts to 1,655 linear feet.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Woods said that the routing changes required by the agreement meant the course would be slightly shorter, and some of the walks between holes would be longer, but that the course would still be walkable. “High Carolina remains a truly amazing golf course,” Woods said. “I’m looking forward to getting back there to check on construction.”
This is the second time in recent months that Cliffs Communities has settled a dispute with environmentalists. In July, construction restarted on the Gary Player-designed Cliffs at Mountain Park course, after adjustments to the course were made to address concerns raised in relation to the Saluda River that runs through the property (see GCA’s report).
“North Carolina’s mountain headwaters are so vital to aquatic life and downstream communities that they deserve the full protection of our laws,” said DJ Gerken, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center. “The redesign of the golf course significantly reduces the impact on our stream headwaters and ensures compensatory restoration to North Carolina for any unavoidable impacts to vital mountain streams.”
“We are pleased with the outcome, and we applaud The Cliffs for their willingness to work hard to address our concerns, said Western North Carolina Alliance executive director Julie Mayfield. “They were committed to reaching an agreement and made significant changes to the golf course to do so.”