Bergin takes to the mountains for Highlands Falls redesign

  • Highlands

    Bill Bergin is progressing with a renovation of the golf course at Highlands Falls (tenth hole pictured)

  • Highlands

    The short par-three fifteenth at the North Carolina club

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

Bill Bergin is progressing with a renovation of the golf course at Highlands Falls Country Club in North Carolina.

Work will cover all existing course features, plus additional tees and extensive drainage. Bergin has also discovered opportunities to further “integrate golf into this incredible mountain setting”.

Bill Amick originally designed a nine-hole course for the club in 1962 and over the following decade it was expanded, renovated and redesigned by several developers and architects. In 1979, Joe Lee designed a new routing, which exists today.

“The course’s routing is finessed across a diverse landscape that includes either a pond or stream on thirteen holes,” said Bergin. “While rock outcroppings, rhododendron and hemlock trees abound, the most significant feature and golf hole is undeniably the diminutive par-three fifteenth. Its tiny putting surface is benched on a rock ledge that is nearly underneath a 100-foot waterfall fed by the headwaters of the Cullasaja River. Playing from 80 to 125 yards, this may be one of golf’s most unforgettable holes.”

Highlands Falls is one of three mountain projects in close succession for Bergin; he recently completed work at McLemore Club alongside Rees Jones (see the October 2019 issue of GCA) and is also in construction at Waterfall Club in the mountains of northeast Georgia, overlooking Lake Burton.

This article first appeared in the January 2020 issue of Golf Course Architecture. For a printed subscription or free digital edition, please visit our subscriptions page.