As I pulled into the parking lot at Wolf Laurel Country Club, I was met by Head Golf Professional/General Manager, Bobby Anglin. I introduced myself and we discussed the purpose of my visit and what to expect on the course. He smiled, handed me a scorecard and a booklet of local rules and Golf Pro tips. As I headed out the door, I could hear him snickering and as I headed to the first tee, I understood why!
Bobby grew up in the area; even played for and captained the Mars Hill University golf team. He has been a Class A member of the PGA of America since 2006 and General Manager at Wolf Laurel Country Club since 2013. He had a pretty good idea of how I would fare at Wolf Laurel especially after he heard about my issue with heights. Hence the amusement!
Being from Florida, mountain golf is a very different experience, especially for someone with an acute fear of heights. Driving on some of the cart paths is scary enough, let alone a high, elevated tee box. This is exemplified by Wolf Laurel Country Club’s signature par three, Number 6, with a tee to green elevation drop of over 200 feet. On the card, the hole plays 213 yards but when I used my slope adjusted rangefinder, I came up with a number south of 140 yards. Although the ride down the mountain was as challenging as the hole, the fact that I could tell my friends about the 213-yard 9-iron I hit was good compensation.
Let’s start with a little history of the Wolf Laurel community, Wolf Laurel Resort and Wolf Laurel Country Club. Wolf Laurel is a gated community of over 5,000 acres located just off I-26. The land was purchased by the Bald Mountain Development Corporation from the David Buck estate, Raleigh English and H. Lee and David McDaris. The resort is mostly surrounded by The Pisgah National Forest with 2 entrances to the Appalachian Trail. Recently, a 750-acre nature land preserve trust adjoins the property. The original development plans called for a golf course and ski slopes, all of which still exist today. Wolf Laurel derives its name from the abundance of mountain laurel that could be found in the area and for the large packs of grey wolves that roamed the area. Unfortunately – or fortunately for residents – the wolves have been extinct since the 1930’s.
Wolf Laurel Resort provides year-round recreational activities including horseback riding, tennis, heated swimming pool, hiking trails, stocked trout pond with numerous creeks, event pavilions, children’s programs, and golf in the warmer months, During the winter you’ll find eighty acres of ski slopes and tubing that are perfect for the cold weather enthusiast.
Wolf Laurel Country Club is an award-winning mountain golf course located atop one of the highest ridges in all of Western North Carolina and was designed by W.B. Lewis in 1965. This 18-hole championship mountain course overlooks Bald Mountain and winds through the Wolf Laurel Resort. It is one of the highest golf courses east of the Rockies with an average green elevation on the front nine of 4,546 feet and 4,054 feet on the back nine. All told, Wolf Laurel Country Club incorporates more than 1,000 feet of elevation change. With mature forests surrounding the course, no parallel fairways and the mountains as a backdrop, you’ll enjoy both a secluded and a challenging round of golf.
From the back tees, the course plays 6,214 yards. It may not be the longest course in the area but with a course rating of 70.2 and a slope of 132, it will provide a challenge. Ladies typically play from 4,312 yards (65.2/122). There are four sets of tees as well as a “Combo” yardage for men on the scorecard. Other than the aforementioned 6th hole, the most memorable for me was Number 8, a 366-yard hole. You start with a blind tee shot up a hill, but what you don’t know is that the green sits at the bottom of the hill you just hit up, about 115 feet below. The grounds crew leaves the fairway longer than usual on the backside of the hill, otherwise you’d be able to drive the green. Just think, a 213 yard 9-iron and a 366-yard drive, all in the same round!
Members come from all over the area to enjoy everything Wolf Laurel Country Club has to offer. The Club is located 27 miles north from Asheville, NC and only 29 miles south of the Tri-Cities – Johnson City, Bristol and Kingsport, TN.
In addition to offering fantastic golf, Wolf Laurel is also a favorite destination for nature lovers who escape to its elevation for some of the coolest temperatures in the south. It makes golfing, hiking and horseback riding much more enjoyable.
The Clubhouse at Wolf Laurel Country Club is a beehive of activity. The main dining room overlooks Big Bald Mountain, the third highest peak in the Appalachians. Step outside onto the deck and the view only gets better, with some of the most dramatic and panoramic vistas in all of North Carolina.
The lounge and dining room have recently undergone a total makeover and are the perfect place to sit back and relax after a round of golf. Wolf Laurel features a full menu during the summer and fall seasons, created by the hands of Executive Chef Jacob Pacetti. Pacetti and his talented staff create such culinary delights as Jerk Chicken Wingettes, served with a honey lime mango dipping sauce and sprinkled with tri colored diced peppers. Looking for something a little bit lighter? Try their Peach Salad; bourbon grilled peaches, crispy pancetta and bleu cheese served over an arugula and spring mix and served with a lemon and poppy seed dressing. Entrees include Tennessee Grass Fed Beef Wellington, topped with a whole grain mustard and honey cream sauce. It’s topped with shredded tobacco onions and served with rosemary and truffle au gratin potatoes and herb roasted carrots. Simply delicious.
Desserts are an exciting experience all their own. Pastry Chef Gabby Ferguson has taken everyday foods such as meatball sandwiches, tacos, even the peanut butter and jelly sandwich and reincarnated them into desserts using truffles, angel food cake and mousse. They are definitely picture worthy and taste every bit as good as they look. You can’t go wrong with anything on the Wolf Laurel menus.
You don’t need to live at Wolf Laurel to become a member of the club. As a Golf Member, you will be entitled to enjoy unlimited use of the golf facilities and privileges to reserve tee times. There are no green fees, just a nominal cart fee. In addition, member have full use of the Club’s dining room, lounge, social and fitness facilities. Other membership services are available including golf club storage, golf handicap service and lessons.
A Social Equity Membership entitles the member to enjoy all of the dining, lounge, social and fitness facilities the Club has to offer as well as five rounds of golf each year with the required cart and greens fees. Activities within the Club include bridge, Mah Jongg, bunco and a book club.
Wolf Laurel Country Club has a habit of making events such as family reunions, weddings, charity events, golf tournaments, and business seminars a memorable experience. The Club’s professional and friendly service coupled with great food is sure to please everyone. Whether your plans include a golf outing or tournament, reception, or a lunch or dinner business seminar, the staff strives to make each event unique and can easily customize it so that your guests will enjoy and appreciate what you’ve done.
To learn more about what Wolf Laurel Country Club has to offer, give them a call at 828.680.9772 or visit them online at www.wolflaurelcountryclub.com.