Kris Spence is finishing up the restoration of one of two former courses at the club in Vass, N.C., with plans to open for play in August. The site’s revival comes after the club’s purchase by Atlantic National Capital, which bought the courses in 2021 for $3.57 million in a foreclosure auction.
A Greensboro (N.C.) golf architect is restoring a course that is expected to open later in the summer, the Triad Business Journal reported.
Kris Spence is finishing up the restoration of one of two former courses at Woodlake Country Club that winds around the former 1,200-acre Lake Surf in Vass, N.C., just outside Southern Pines, the Triad Business Journal reported.
Spence is best-known in the Carolinas for his renovations of several Donald Ross and Ellis Maples designs, including Sedgefield Country Club, Forsyth Country Club and Roaring Gap Club as well as Country Club of North Carolina’s Dogwood course (designed by Maples, a Ross protege).
Spence, who started the Woodlake project in August 2021, expects to have the restoration ready for an August opening (a soft opening may come a few weeks earlier), the Triad Business Journal reported.
The course, designed by Maples, opened in 1971. Spence said land that was home to a former Arnold Palmer company design will be “repurposed.”
The Maples layout closed in 2015. The Palmer course, built in 1995, closed in 2018. Since then, Spence told the Triad Business Journal, the clubhouse and golf courses have have been largely unmaintained.
Woodlake’s revival comes after the club’s purchase by Atlantic National Capital, which bought the courses in 2021 for $3.57 million in a foreclosure auction, the Triad Business Journal reported. Businessman Keith Allison, who has owned property around the course for more than 25 years, heads up the Fayetteville group.
Though the Woodlake routing will remain much the same after Spence’s work, the project is much more than a renovation.
When he started the project, Spence was greeted by a course in disrepair far beyond a dry lake, the Triad Business Journal reported. The former fairways were overgrown with native species 4-5 feet in height, and small trees had sprouted in some of the bunkers.
The dam creating Lake Surf was breached during Hurricane Matthew in 2016, and the water was drained, the Triad Business Journal reported.
A new irrigation system had to be installed. Spence said his team needed two full weeks to bush hog the property.
“It was a pretty incredible resurrection,” he said. “We’ve probably never had a project any bigger than this.”
The old Bermuda grass then began to reemerge after the clearing.
The approximately 2,000 homeowners of the Woodlake community won a court award of more than $160 million (unpaid) in damages from the former Woodlake owner, but still clamored for restoration of the lake and golf facility, the Triad Business Journal reported.
The state has awarded Allison $9.6 million to restore the dam. Spence said the lake remains dry but will be refilled after the course is completed.
Spence said the restored Maples course will be a par-72 layout measuring more than 7,300 yards.
The only major routing change is the 18th hole, where the former hole has been converted into 25 lakefront lots, the Triad Business Journal reported. The new final hole occupies the former first hole of the Palmer course, with reversed tees and green locations.