2008 Private Preview: Into the Woods
Fans of Tiger Woods are familiar with the grainy home movies and taped television
appearances that testify to the then-youngster’s penchant for the game of golf.
Less well known is his early interest in golf course design. At the age of 11,
Woods entered a hole-design contest sponsored by Golf Digest. However, in
what has proven to be a rare occurrence in his career, he failed to make it past
the first round.
Now 31, Woods is following the lead of past PGA Tour stars by
launching a career in golf course design. His first project, Al Ruwaya, is
scheduled to open in Dubai in September 2009. But this August, Woods announced
his plans to build a course on U.S. soil, at the Cliffs Communities in the
Carolinas, where the golfer’s love of competition will be put to the test.
At the Cliffs, Woods will join an elite group of
designers—including Jack Nicklaus and Tom Fazio—who have fashioned seven courses
that are spread across North Carolina and South Carolina in a like number of
private communities. "The Cliffs is a perfect fit for my first American design,"
says Woods. "Seeing what they have created with some of the world’s best
designers is very inspiring. I am looking forward to adding my own style to the
Woods’ course, the Cliffs at High Carolina, will play along the
slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains, 15 miles east of Asheville, N.C., in the
hamlet of Swannanoa. "High Carolina will be a 3,000-acre community, 4,000 feet
above sea level, with 50-mile views," says Scott Beville, president of sales and
marketing for the Cliffs Communities. Despite the hilly topography, Woods plans
to design a course that does not require carts. "A walking course with a
southern exposure is what he wants to create," says Beville. "And Tiger is going
to be very hands-on."
Given Woods’ intensity on the golf course, it is not surprising
that he would have a hands-on approach to design. His passion and
competitiveness—and the template with which he has to work at the Cliffs—suggest
that High Carolina could be as exciting and demanding as the designer
The Cliffs Communities