Nine-hole par-three course to open at The Greenbrier resort

  • Greenbrier

    The nine-hole Ashford course at The Greenbrier Sporting Club will open in August

  • Greenbrier

    The resort’s director of golf maintenance, Kelly Shumate, referred to historical photography for the design concept

  • Greenbrier

    The course honours Golden Age architects with template hole designs

Toby Ingleton
By Toby Ingleton

A new nine-hole par-three course at The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia, USA, will open in August.

The Ashford short course at The Greenbrier Sporting Club, the resort’s private club and residential community, will be a walking-only loop of holes ranging from 56 to 112 yards. It is intended to provide a relaxed family environment that will be entertaining for golfers of all abilities.

The holes pay tribute to Golden Age architects including CB Macdonald, who designed the resort’s Old White course in 1914, and Seth Raynor, who designed the resort’s second course, The Greenbrier, in 1924.

GCA spoke with the resort’s director of golf course maintenance, Kelly Shumate, who explained how he was tasked with designing the course following extensive flooding on the property in 2016. “After the floods, we huddled around and decided to take the opportunity to make some improvements. We did some land planning and identified a piece of property adjacent to the Sporting Club would be ideal for a short course.

“The resort has a tradition of old school golf with a rich, deep history, and I wanted to create something fun and unique that would honour the Golden Age architects that I admire and have studied.”

Shumate referred to historical photography of the golf courses at the resort and noted the close connection between greens and the next hole’s tees. “Greens and tees were connected by short mown grass, which is so visually appealing and enjoyable for golfers to experience, as well as helping to play in a shorter space of time.”

This approach complemented the resort’s desire to make the short course walking-only, and a fun and flexible alternative to a traditional 18-hole round.

The land turned out to be well suited for the template hole concept. “The idea was to move as little dirt as possible,” explained Shumate. “The Redan was sitting there almost, and it was kind of the same for the Punchbowl.”

Read more: The Ashford course hole-by-hole descriptions on The Greenbrier’s website

“Walter Travis believed that around greens you should be able to play almost any club in your bag,” said Shumate. “We have all kinds of knolls and knobs in the green surrounds.”

Shumate estimated that two golfers could easily complete the nine holes in 45 minutes, maybe less. “And the idea is you can kind of drop a ball anywhere and have fun – hopefully it will encourage more people to play.”

The Ashford course, which will be open to members of The Greenbrier Sporting Club and resort guests, is named in honour of Army Colonel Bailey K. Ashford, a physician who served at the Greenbrier during World War II when the resort, known in 1942-46 as Ashford General Hospital, treated sick and wounded US troops.