In honor of Champion Hills' 35th anniversary, legendary course designer Tom Fazio joined a special celebration at the club on September 23rd. Over 300 members and guests attended the event. During the celebration, Fazio spoke about the history of Champion Hills, its fascinating start, and the trials and tribulations of creating such a spectacular club. He regaled guests with stories about how he became involved in the development and the obstacles that were overcome to create his "mountain masterpiece."
Speaking to the members and guests in attendance, Fazio commented, "We're 35 years old, all the years of involvement, all the wonderful people, and I look forward to more! So many great parties here, so many wonderful times that have been so special. Thank you for being a part of this great club."
Fazio holds tremendous pride in the golf course we regularly play and relish. He considers Champion Hills to be one of his seminal designs, especially in western North Carolina.
"There are six holes on the course that play uphill and even those holes have downhill sections," Fazio says. "I didn't do anything crazy or that another modern architect wouldn't do with the resources and equipment that's available to us." Referencing the spectacular terrain, Fazio stated, "Champion Hills is a combination of just endless possibilities of great golf holes."
At Champion Hills, Fazio devised a brilliant routing through the heavily forested hills, deep ravines, and cool mountain streams of its Blue Ridge Mountain setting. He and his team pulled ridges into valleys and filled hollows to create "playing platforms," providing golfers with level lies amid 350 feet of elevation change. The result is one of the most playable mountain-style courses in the entire region.
When asked what his favorite hole at Champion Hills was, Fazio commented, "How can you not love the 9th hole? The setting, that view!" Polling members as to which hole they thought was the most challenging, it seemed a unanimous decision was the 6th hole. Fazio's response, "I'm going to give you a tip. This is going to be the best thing I can leave you with. When you go to play that golf hole, the next time you get to the tee, take your scorecard, look at it, and with a pencil where the little block that says 'Par 4', scratch that out and write down the number 5. You'll be surprised how differently you'll think about that hole. You'll think that's really not a hard golf shot at all!"
General Manager Alan Deck thanked the founding members in attendance: Mrs. Balentine, Mr. and Mrs. Chastain, Mrs. Covington, and Mrs. Robbins.
"Our thanks to you and all those who prepared and made last Saturday evening such a wonderful time for all of us!! Delicious food, attentive service and so many happy faces made it evident that we all were having a very special time!! We feel honored to be a part with all of you and wanted you to know how we appreciate all your efforts for us."
Balus and Margaret Chastain (founders)