Swing for the Hills at Rumbling Bald

Rumbling Bald’s Apple Valley Golf Course
Rumbling Bald’s Apple Valley Course

Rumbling Bald General Manager Jeff Geisler can only shake his head when asked about the reopening of the resort’s Apple Valley Golf Course just three months after it closed for the installation of new Champion Bermuda greens in the summer of 2020.

“There was a time [in the spring] when we considered shuttering this project until next year, but our board and golf team held fast to our commitment of improving the golf product here every year,” Geisler said. “As it turns out, the timing was perfect.”

Perfect, in that golf has undergone a stunning resurgence amid the COVID-19 pandemic. More golf rounds were played across the U.S. in 2021 than any year since 2000 when Tiger [Woods] Mania was at its peak. The National Golf Foundation (NGF) is predicting another banner year ahead.

“Golf is outside, it’s easy to socially distance, and keeping flagsticks in the cups and removing rakes from bunkers minimizes touch points,” added Geisler. “Normally, play drops off in November, but we had one of our best late fall seasons ever. We expect demand to be strong this spring.” 

Apple Valley is Rumbling Bald’s marquee course, stretching to nearly 6,800 yards and featuring expansive views of Bald Mountain and the surrounding Lake Lure area. Architect Dan Maples estimated 75% of shots at Apple Valley are either level or downhill, virtually unheard of for a mountain course. Shimmering lakes adorn 12 holes, but water only occasionally comes into play.

Bald Mountain, at 6,300 yards, is renowned for its unique configuration of five par 5s and five par 3s. Movie buffs appreciate the 16th green, the backdrop of a scene from the movie “Dirty Dancing.” A protégé of golf course architect George Cobb, designer W.B. Lewis is known for his traditional approach to course design. This philosophy is reflected in Bald Mountain’s playability from tee to green.

Rumbling Bald has completed several other golf-focused enhancements across both courses over the past two years, including tree removal and replanting, upgraded landscape, and new E-Z-GO golf carts with USB ports, complimentary coolers, and bottled water.

For golfers in search of a spring getaway, the resort offers packages combining rounds at both courses with 150 sparkling clean vacation rental homes, condos, and studios. Ideal for social distancing, they feature golf course and mountain views.

Starting at $345 per person, the resort’s “Hole-in-One” package features a two-night stay, two rounds of golf on the Apple Valley and Bald Mountain courses, breakfast both days, and complimentary, unlimited range balls. Lodging options include the recently updated Apple Valley Studios and two- and four-bedroom Fairway Villas.

Rumbling Bald is rich with other outdoor activities, including scenic Lake Lure boat tours, boat rentals, tennis, pickleball, and hiking trails. It’s the perfect basecamp for exploring the natural wonders of Western North Carolina and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Article written by Dave Theoret. This post is adapted from our annual Welcome to Western North Carolina magazine. Click here to read more online, or click here to request your free copy.

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