North Carolina resort opens 12-hole par-three course

  • Saddle

    A new 12-hole par-three course designed by Beau Welling, called The Saddle at GlenCove, has opened

  • Saddle

    The layout can be played with alternative routings or loops

  • Saddle

    “The Saddle will be an ideal place for people to fall in love with the game of golf,” says Welling

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

Old Edwards Hospitality Group has opened a new 12-hole par-three course designed by Beau Welling, called The Saddle at GlenCove, as part of its new GlenCove community development near Cashiers, North Carolina.

The architect was appointed following Old Edwards’ acquisition of the 160-acre Burt farm property adjacent to its 18-hole Tom Jackson-designed golf course, Old Edwards Club at Highlands Cove.

“Together, our intention was to create a new, innovative club that could be enjoyed by multiple generations for many years to come and built upon Old Edwards’ world-class reputation as well as impressive array of amenities around the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau,” said Welling. “Old Edwards wanted a unique golf experience to be the heart of the development.

“The Saddle was designed with the spirit of community in mind. From the outset, the goal was to create a truly relaxed and fun short course that would be enjoyable for all ages and skill levels — a golf experience that would be enjoyable for the multi-generational nature of Old Edwards’ members and guests. The result is an inviting and comfortable atmosphere for those new to the game as well as those skilled golfers who are looking to unwind in the stunning mountain setting.

“We worked hand-in-hand with the Old Edwards group to help develop the vision for the GlenCove community and the playing experience at The Saddle. The experience we have designed at The Saddle is something that I think is great for the game of golf.”

The course is 12 holes but can be played with alternative routings or loops for those that can’t manage to play a full round.

“We have emphasised the walking experience to make sure people are able to enjoy the beautiful setting, but more importantly to enjoy each other’s company on the course,” said Welling. “Golf is a social sport and we want the experience at The Saddle to reflect that fully. In that vein, groupings are not being limited to the traditional foursome to make rounds fun for families and groups of friends.

“We have increasingly seen the desire for ‘alternative’ golf courses and routings in many projects around the United States. We have been fortunate to work on a number of short courses lately, and many that have bucked the tradition of nine holes. We have done short courses with 10 holes, but when routing The Saddle, we went through numerous iterations to see what would provide the best possible golf experience as well as what would fit best with the natural canvas we were provided.”

Welling has drawn inspiration from the site’s history to shape holes in a classic way. For example, some holes include Redan and Biarritz-like features.

“The course emphasises accuracy from the tee in order to ensure you are in a position to score well,” said Welling. “On the other hand, though, there are few forced carries that will allow even the most novice of golfer to play each and every hole. Holes have extensive teeing grounds to provide the opportunity for players to choose the distance they wish to play from that further promotes a playable course for all skill levels. The green contours are significant in many places which will require creativity with approach shots, and most holes are surrounded by bentgrass approaches allowing for shots to be played on the ground.

“The spirit of The Saddle experience is meant to be very relaxed, fun, and family oriented,” continued Welling. “I am most excited to simply see people out there enjoying the course. We designed the course to be very playable so that The Saddle will be an ideal place for people to fall in love with the game of golf, but also to be enjoyed by serious golfers. I fully expect to see three or even four generations playing together at The Saddle and having fun. We wanted to make sure the experience would promote multiple generations coming together where parents and grandparents are able to introduce children and grandchildren to the game.”

Landscapes Unlimited began construction in October 2018 and completed work in September 2019. The construction firm was supported by Joe Titzer of Titzer Shaping and the team from Old Edwards, including director or operations Jerry West and course superintendent George Mason.

The course is floodlit, and the club has invested in a fleet of ClubCar Tempo Walk carts.

“In addition to the design of The Saddle, our team’s land planning division created the master plan for the entire GlenCove community,” said Welling.

“While creating Old Edwards’ newest resort-style community, our team carefully planned a variety of amenities focused on adventure and wellness and to complement the residential products, from cottages to mountain estates. Our overall hope with the community is to foster multi-generational experiences that look to bring family and friends together to take in the most beautiful mountain setting.”

A grand opening of The Saddle was held on 28 September with the course open to members during October, before closing for the winter season.