Design Notes

Bobby Weed wows with Waynesville renovation in North Carolina

South Carolina’s Long Bay restores the greens at its Jack Nicklaus design; Fry/Straka team with Paul Azinger to create Florida’s Miakka

Ross Nine at Waynesville Inn & Golf Club.jpg

Bobby Weed Golf Design carefully balanced restoration and renovation in repurposing the 27-hole Waynesville Inn and Golf Club into an 18-hole resort facility. The result was the recent reopening of the western North Carolina routing that is set amid the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The project also included a new wedge course, driving range, short game complex, lighted Himalayan putting green, golf cottages and numerous parcels for future development.

“The Waynesville Inn and Golf Club’s new routing is compelling, memorable and avoids repetition," Bobby Weed said. “Quality courses should have a rhythm of scoring opportunities and challenges. The design variety should also provide different hole shapes, distances and shot options for the player to discern. We accomplished these goals during our renovation."

Located 30 miles west of Asheville, the Waynesville Inn and Golf Club was founded as Waynesville Country Club in 1926. The former dairy farm was converted into a nine-hole golf course and boutique inn. Donald Ross designed the original Carolina 9. Two more nines were constructed in 1929 (Dogwood) and 1986 (Blue Ridge) as land became available.

In April 2021, the club's new ownership group, Raines, hired Bobby Weed Golf Design to repurpose the entire property. The goal was to build a best-fit 18-hole course, practice facilities and related hospitality services, while planning for future development opportunities with higher land value uses. The following elements were included:

> The Ross Nine: BWGD respected the original front nine routing in the newly named Ross Nine. The picturesque, compact set of holes weaves across a valley floor, flanked by streams, evergreens and deciduous trees while surrounded by mountains.

Weed’s sympathetic restoration brought back many of Ross’ design intents. Yardage was added where possible, while maintaining the charm and playability of the former layout. The difficulty of the front nine remains reminiscent of the small greens, short-cut surrounds and bunkering that add interest and strategy in such a fashion that Ross would approve of for today’s play.

Weed cleverly transformed the first tee box of the par-35 Ross Nine into a multi-use space. Eleven thousand square feet of tightly mown bentgrass lawn will serve as both a teeing ground and outdoor event space adjacent to the resort.

The routing is well-suited for walking. Greens and tees are close in proximity and strategically positioned for all skill levels. In-play areas (tees, fairways, greens) consist of bentgrass varieties. Turf-type tall fescues comprise the roughs. Mixtures of fine fescues on hillsides and out-of-play areas add contrast and frame the perimeter of the property.

> The Weed Nine: The new back side is a nine-hole composite layout that consolidates 18 holes from the Dogwood and the Blue Ridge routings. The former holes not utilized were converted into practice areas and future residential development pods.

BWGD’s transformation of two nines into one allowed the firm to create a conspicuous, eye-catching set of mountainous holes with panoramic views. The par-36 Weed Nine features more rolling topography and greens shaped with gentle slopes and falloffs to closely resemble the Ross Nine.

> Wedge Park: An out-and-back Wedge Park short course was tactically designed between the first- and 18th-hole fairways. Situated near the Inn, this design is ideal for short-game training, after-round play and family fun.

> Practice Facilities: The practice area is highlighted by an 18,000-square-foot Himalayan putting course. Designed with moderate slopes, swales and plateaus, the free-range green offers fun entertainment during practice sessions and putting contests. It will be lighted for night use. A new driving range, chipping and bunker complex were also constructed.

> Resort Revival: The 32-room Inn was overhauled with contemporary amenities that preserve the spirit of the original 1920s design. More lodging options are nestled in the revitalized 28-room Golfview and 12-room Brookside lodges. The guest experience will further be enhanced with a new-look pro shop, lobby, fitness center, pool and areas for meetings and events.

> Repurposing: A key element in the land plan, led by Weed and design associate Joey Graziani, was identifying a new 10-acre infill parcel within the development. On three acres, eight newly constructed four-bedroom, four-bathroom golf cottages will reside. These cottages will be available to rent when not in use by private owners. Along the 10th and 12th hole fairways, development parcels have been earmarked for future mountain bungalows and single-family homes.

“My wife, Leslie, has generational ties to Waynesville that date back over 100 years,” Weed said. “As long-time seasonal residents, this was a dream come true to personally steer the club in a new direction for future generations.”

Bobby Weed Golf Design has extensive knowledge of preserving and improving Donald Ross designs. Other Ross layouts that the firm has restored include Linville Golf Club, Myers Park Country Club, Palatka Golf Club, Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club, Timaquana Country Club and the University of Florida’s Mark Bostick Golf Club.


Long Bay Golf Club, a Jack Nicklaus design in Myrtle Beach, S.C., reopened August 14 following a comprehensive greens restoration project. Founders Group International (FGI), Long Bay’s parent company, closed the course May 17 for an effort highlighted by the installation of TifEagle bermudagrass and the restoration of the layout’s greens to their original specifications. Prior to the project, Long Bay, which opened in 1988, had approximately 70,000 square feet of putting surface, a number that now stands at nearly 110,000 square feet.

“We are so excited to welcome golfers back to Long Bay,” said Brandon Mensinger, Long Bay’s head pro. “Our new greens are in outstanding condition, and we have reclaimed more than 30,000 square feet of putting surface, dramatically increasing the number of pinnable areas on each green. We are ready to go and golfers can look forward to a smooth, fast roll this fall.”

TifEagle, due to its resistance to mutation and ability to produce an outstanding putting surface, has emerged as the grass of choice for many of Myrtle Beach’s premier courses, including the Grand Dunes Resort Course and Pawleys Plantation, the area’s other Nicklaus design.

In addition to the greens work, Long Bay also removed all the grass on the surrounding collars and resodded them with Tahoma 419, a hearty variety of bermudagrass that can withstand close mowing and is resistant to mutation.

The expansion of Long Bay’s greens increased the number of pinnable areas, maximizing the creativity of the Nicklaus design, and it will enhance course conditions over time, allowing the staff to distribute traffic across the entirety of each green complex.

Located along the North Strand, Long Bay has long been a favorite of traveling golfers. Nicklaus used fairway bunkers and mounding to frame a course that rewards both power and precision. At the heart of Long Bay’s appeal is a back nine that is among the area’s best. The short par-4 10th, featuring a fairway ringed by a waste bunker, the island green, par-3 13th and No. 18, a dramatic dogleg right that plays around a lake, were all ranked among Myrtle Beach’s top 100 holes, underscoring Long Bay’s appeal.

Construction is underway on Miakka Golf Club in southwest Florida, a private club along the banks of the scenic Myakka River, less than 30 miles southeast of Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport. The club shares ownership with and is adjacent to the acclaimed TerraNova Equestrian Center and The Estates at TerraNova community.

Miakka Golf Club’s vision is being led by Florida entrepreneur Steve Herrig, and the course is being designed by Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design in cooperation with celebrated PGA Tour player/turned broadcaster Paul Azinger, who lives in nearby Bradenton.

“This is one of the best natural sites for golf and one of the best teams we’ve ever been affiliated with,” said Jason Straka, principal of Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design. “The property has an incredible two miles of frontage along the Myakka River with hundreds of mature oak hammocks. Just the golf club and its facilities are being built on more than 1,100 acres. Miakka is going to be pure golf with no encroachments or distractions of any kind. The course will resemble the celebrated courses of the Australian Sandbelt, with wide turf corridors, no rough, and distinctive bunkers and natural-area hazards jutting into the line of play.”

The enthusiasm and high expectations for Miakka Golf Club’s future are shared by co-designer Azinger, as well. “I’m from here. This is my home, and it’s incredibly important to me,” said Azinger. “Steve and his team are absolutely committed to making Miakka Golf Club one of the very best private clubs in the world. He’s assembled an all-star team and will do whatever it takes to achieve that goal.”

Building upon Azinger’s comment, Dana Fry, Straka’s partner in Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design, points to the extraordinary lengths to which the development team has gone to ensure Miakka Golf Club provides its future members with unparalleled playing conditions.

“The entire 7,700-yard golf course will be sand capped with a proprietary blend of sand and Profile soil conditioner. Everything but the greens will be sodded. In addition, the entire course will have substantial underdrains to ensure fast and firm playing conditions year-round,” said Fry. “Recently, Miakka secured 1,600 acres of adjacent land and will be the first course in Florida with its own sod farm. This is where they’ll grow the Stadium and Lazer Zoysia grass that will be used on the fairways, tees, and green surrounds.”

When completed, Miakka Golf Club’s 18-hole championship course will wind its way through the gently rolling meadows and along the dense stands of mature trees lining the Myakka River, presenting players with a captivating selection of risk/reward challenges and shot-making opportunities. In addition, Miakka Golf Club will include a 12-hole, par-3 golf course, a 7-acre short game facility, a lighted putting course, and a distinctive performance center featuring a unique 360-degree practice facility.

Other amenities will accentuate the club’s friendly, relaxed ambiance and rustic, natural charm to encourage fun social interaction and strengthen the bonds of friendship among members. These will include an inviting clubhouse, an expansive patio, luxurious locker facilities for men and women, and a comfortably appointed dining room and bar. Adjacent to the clubhouse, the performance center will be fully integrated with the latest TrackMan technology to aid with instruction and clubfitting. It will also include an innovative putting lab as well as indoor and outdoor hitting stations. A fitness center will feature the latest equipment for strength, flexibility, cardio training, recovery, and rehabilitation. It will be designed to help every player, from members to PGA Tour professionals, maximize their athletic performance.

Surrounding the putting course will be a cluster of traditional cracker-style cabins to provide overnight accommodations for members and guests. Nearby, the Still will be a charming, informal gathering spot overlooking a 38-acre recreational pond. Here, members and guests will relax over a favorite snack or beverage while enjoying the activities and games, such as golf simulators, fire pit, bocce, horseshoes, and fishing.

The 12-hole par-3 course, the Still, and a selection of cabins are expected to open in 2024 with the championship course ready for play in early 2025. A limited number of local and national memberships will be offered by invitation only, ensuring members an intimate, golf-centered environment where tee times are not necessary.