For golfers who visit or live in the mountains of Western North Carolina, there are many options when choosing a golf course for your next round. A search of golf courses in the Canton area lists more than 10 public and municipal facilities within 20 miles; add in private clubs and that number increases significantly. There’s one facility that I am particularly familiar with and it’s a must-play whenever I’m in the area: Springdale Resort.
Springdale has been around for more than 50 years and continues to impress golfers. The course was originally designed by Joseph Holmes and in 2018, noted golf course architect Ron Garl did some work for course owner Lex West that included a new irrigation system, upgrades to bunkers, and improvements to cart paths.
The West family also made several other investments in the resort including a new welcome center and clubhouse, the Rocky Face Tavern – a 7,000-sq ft bar and restaurant with an outdoor fireplace, heated pool and hot tub, a fitness center, and a new teen center. The new clubhouse recently reopened and won Golf Inc.’s “New Public Clubhouse of the Year” Award for 2022.
Whether you’re an accomplished, low-handicap golfer or are just new to the game, Springdale is a course that can be enjoyed by anyone. It’s located at the base of Cold Mountain and is a golf resort that combines the extraordinary beauty of the awe-inspiring natural landscape with the hospitality and simple comforts you’d expect at a golf resort.
The course itself is a one-of-a-kind golf experience, with rolling, mountainous terrain, hidden hazards, and plush greens. It’s one of the best-maintained courses in the area, as the members will attest to. There are a few blind shots out here. One significant blind shot is on the third hole. It’s a par 3 that plays slightly uphill, and you can’t see the hole from the tee box. You can see the pin, so pay attention to the GPS on the cart for further details.
No. 4 is a risk-reward par 4 that plays downhill and is shorter than the 336 yards stated on the scorecard. Longball hitters may be tempted to go for the green off the tee but beware of the pond in front on the left side as well as the two bunkers by the green. Your best bet is to hit something less than a driver off the tee, leave a manageable approach distance, and make birdie that way.
As you play the first few holes, you may be saying to yourself, “I thought this was a mountain golf course.” So far, it’s been relatively flat with a few exceptions such as the tee shot on three and a couple of elevated tee boxes. The sixth is the first hole where you start to see some major elevation changes. It’s a dogleg left par 4 that plays slightly uphill, maybe half club to club longer. The green is influenced by the mountain and what you think may be an uphill putt that breaks right is exactly the opposite.
The front nine finishes with a 454-yard par 5, dogleg left. If you can catch the downhill slope on the left side, not only have you crushed your drive, but you’ll leave yourself in a good position for the next shot and an opportunity to go for the green. A good drive could leave you inside the 200-yard marker with an approach shot that plays slightly downhill into a green protected on the right side by a bunker. Beware of the creek that crosses about 50 yards in front of the green.
The back nine starts with a dogleg left 511-yard par 5 and will be a three-shot hole for most players. You’ll hit your tee shot from the elevated tee box downhill to the fairway and then back uphill on your layup and approach shots. Watch out for the creek that crosses the fairway just in front of the cart path. The green slopes slightly from left to right with a large deep bunker in front.
The 13th hole is called The Spasm; it’s Springdale’s signature hole and comes with a warning that it may be hazardous to your mental health. From the White Tees The Spasm plays 422 yards; move up to the Golds and it becomes a 335-yard hole. Not only will you save 87 yards, but you may also preserve some of that mental health you were warned about. Trees line the right side of this challenging par 4 that doglegs to the right and to complicate matters there’s a creek that runs down the right side as well. Hit your tee shot over the bunker at the corner of the dogleg and you’ll still have a long approach shot into a slightly elevated green with more sand on the right. Anything left may find a downhill slope and leave a tough up and down.
The Spasm is followed up by another 400-yard par 4 and requires an accurate tee shot between two giant oak trees. A good drive to the top of the hill will leave a manageable approach shot into a green fronted on either side by sand. If you can somehow catch the downslope, not only will you make your second shot considerably shorter, but you may also hit the longest drive of your life.
The 16th hole is a 449-yard par 4 that should be called Son of Spasm (or Father of Spasm, depending upon how you look at it.) It does play downhill so you’ve got that going for you! Trees line the right side, and there’s a fairway bunker on the right. Your approach shot plays downhill into a green that slopes back left to front right. Just to add a little intrigue to this long par 4, that creek you’ve encountered a few times crosses the fairway just in front of the green.
No. 18 is a great finishing hole. It’s a dogleg right, par 5, with trees on the right side off the tee. There’s a creek that crosses the fairway about 300 yards from the White Tees. Your tee shot plays downhill and if you can avoid the creek and wetlands on your layup shot, you’ll be left with an uphill approach shot into the green flanked on either side in front with bunkers and a beautiful view of the new clubhouse.
Springdale Resort is one of those courses that never plays the same way twice. That’s why it’s a good idea to look into one of their stay-and-play packages if you plan on being in the area and want to play some challenging golf.
Springdale offers guests a variety of accommodations including villas, cottages, forest homes, and treehouses. Each villa is equipped with four queen beds, two full baths, a kitchen, a living area, and a large deck overlooking the Great Smokey Mountains. Cottages are two-bedroom, two-bath units and forest homes are multi-level townhomes that are perfect for the entire family.
Need more rooms? Springdale’s Treehouse Village is made up of six round houses that can accommodate up to 36 people. It’s the perfect destination for a corporate team-building event. With so many courses in the area that allow public play, their rentals make for a great base. You will have complete access to their course and amenities, and they can also help you arrange rounds at other area courses.