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of The Highland Course. But plenty along the perimeter have enhanced the beauty and “golf experience” which follows a 360-degree route around the Dan River Gorge. That means no view is the same. It also meant trees had to be selective-


ly cleared to open up additional views through the years that stop golfers in their tracks. The first hole, a par-5, sets the tone.


A slightly uphill drive to a gap in some blasted rock takes you to a crest of a hill that opens up to a downhill second shot (which is reachable) and the first spec- tacular view of the Pinnacles of the Dan. “In the beginning you realize it’s a whole lot easier to take trees down then put them back up so we had to be careful,” Helms said. “You just have to go back year-after-year and look at it. You want to take them out in the winter and then look at it in the summer, so it’s not necessarily something you can do immediately, it takes time.” For example, this past winter, Helms was encouraged by others to take out a few trees on No. 7, which he initially balked at. But he relented and now from the tee box on a clear day a view of downtown Winston-Salem, more than 50 miles away, can be enjoyed. “Primland is about views – whether it’s from the lodge or cottages or the golf


course,” Steel said. “And we’ve got to keep those views open, which means clearing quite a few trees, but you are still going to have millions and millions and millions left. All you can see are trees if you look around.” Some of the drops into the gorge to


the Dan River measure 1,500 feet. “It’s like the Grand Canyon with


trees,” Alley said. “I think some of the trees cover up how vast and how deep that gorge is. When you are standing off of the back of No. 1 green and you look down you say, ‘wow, how did this form?”’


THE “WOW” FACTOR


Even though The Highland Course at Primland is a decade old, it attracts as many newcomers as repeat customers, many of whom are about to discover God’s gift to golf. The drive from many locations in the


Triad area is less than 90 minutes. “There is a lot of expectation there


because they are usually referred here by a friend who has had that wonderful experience, so there is a lot of pres- sure on us to make sure they get that same experience,” Alley said. “They are giddy; you can kind of tell the new guys from the old guys. They are asking questions about how many golf balls they are going to lose.


Helms said. The resort then opened its spa in


2010, its first tree house in 2011, two more tree houses in 2013 and the Pinnacle Cottages in 2015, giving Primland 65 units on property of varying size and price points. “A lot of our folks are avid golfers


and others are novice,” Helms said. “This course wasn’t originally designed for the novice, but they have a good time, they enjoy the views and we’re getting people interested in golf. A lot of people come up for some of our other activities, like the spa or shooting clays, and then see the golf course and say ‘that looks pretty good’ and take a lesson or hit balls on the range. That’s not a bad thing; introducing more people to the game.” There is occasionally talk of a second


golf course being built at the resort, Helms said.


There definitely is excitement before theygo out on the course.” Primland’s awards — both for the


golf course and the resort itself — are too numerous to list, but it is generally regarded as one of the top three resorts in the South.


Helms says “golf was really the evo- lution” that got the wheels moving to expand the resort to world-class status. “The golf course opened in 2006 and the lodge didn’t open until 2009. But once the lodge got here people saw the level of quality that was put into the golf course and the facility here,”


But how could you top The Highland


Course? “You are always going for that ‘Wow


Factor’ and I hear ‘Wow’ from our golfers quite often,” Helms said. “What I hear the most is how naturally beauti- ful the property is from season-to-season to the landscape to all the wildlife you see to the diversity in the plant species.” “Courses mature whether you like it or not, but it was a mature setting here anyway, even from Day One it looked quite settled,” added Steel. “People didn’t say, ‘Oh it looks like a new course.”’


14 TRIAD GOLF TODAY • JULY 2016


www.triadgolf.com


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