SPIRIT OF STANLY: FORE! Two courses continue county’s golfing legacy
Published 2:39 pm Friday, April 8, 2022
(Editor’s Note: This is one of several stories featured in the March 27, 2022, issue of The Stanly News & Press, which included a special section called Spirit of Stanly.)
The sport of golf has a longstanding relationship with Stanly County, from the earliest days of the sport to its newest versions.
From the days of the Stanly County Country Club and Mountain Brook Golf Course to the current courses and forms, golf has experienced a boom in recent years.
The sport which developed on the links in Scotland is still played today on the courses of Piney Point and Red Bridge.
Piney Point Golf Club, at 48688 Piney Point Road, Norwood, offers the traditional golfing experience with many new features.
The course was constructed in 1964 as part of a federal grant program which allowed towns with populations of 2,500 or smaller to turn farmland into recreational areas. Local leaders, including Kermit L. Young and Robert L. Isenhour, helped lead a group to secure memberships and the loans necessary to build the club.
Charlotte’s J. Porter Gibson designed the Piney Point course on 165 acres of land for 375 charter members to enjoy. The club included a swimming pool.
“Basically, (Piney Point) was creating recreational activity for the people in the community at a reasonable price, and I think we’ve tried to do that ever since,” head golf pro Dave VanDeventer said.
Today, the greens have been updated twice, and are considered one of the club’s best features on the golf side. Updated last in 2016, the hybrid grass Bermuda greens provide a quality surface for play throughout the year.
VanDeventer, who next year will celebrate 40 years of working at Piney Point, said the golf course is player-friendly.
“You can hit it and find it for the most part, and golfers like that,” VanDeventer said. “Players can spray (the ball) from one fairway to another and still find it.”
Piney Point’s pro also said most golfers can hit the driver on more holes on the Norwood course than others in the area.
Membership for the club is around 280, but the semi-private course gets a number of players from the surrounding counties.
Piney Point also has a number of youth programs including a junior PGA team which competes in tournaments over the summer months against teams from other area courses.
The clubhouse at Piney Point features a snack bar with hot grilled items and a fully stocked pro shop.
Red Bridge Golf Club is the newest of the county’s golf courses and offers a true golf challenge to golfers of all skill levels.
The property, at 6801 Gatehouse Road in Locust, stretches across the Stanly and Cabarrus county borders. It is only 25 minutes away from downtown Charlotte via the four-lane N.C. Highway 24-27.
With a length of more than 6,700 yards, ending with an 18th hole which plays 639 yards from the black tees, Red Bridge gives golfers a scenic experience and a challenge to tee it high and let it fly.
The course was designed by a David Postlethwait, a protégé of famed designer Pete Dye, in 2009.
Mark Davis, general manager for Red Bridge, said the course is not nearly as long as many modern championships courses.
“It’s a good test of golf,” he said. “I would rate it as a harder golf course than most for sure.”
Some of the holes, Davis said, require placement off the tee, so the course can play longer than its actual yardage.
Davis said the course has a unique topography and has plenty of elevation changes, but what sets it apart from other courses are the greens.
“(The greens) are very defined and undulated, and our green speeds are good,” Davis said.
The semi-private course’s location has benefited from the four-lane road to Charlotte, according to Davis. The course gets many golfers from Stanly and Cabarrus during the week and the traffic from Mecklenburg picks up on weekends.