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The genuine traditions of golf haven’t changed much down through the years and remain relevant today: Respect the game, Respect the course, and Respect each other. At Highlands Falls we do all three every day.
 

“Highlands  Falls is a dramatic thrill-ride through 18 holes of fun, each featuring a fair test over,around or through one of the distinctive features of the mountain. And you’ll love #15.”

 

 
 

 
 

 
The par-3 15th hole, perched on a rock ledge nearly underneath the 100-foot waterfall is created by the headwaters of the Cullasaja River above. It is this hole that Ron Whitten, Golf Digest Senior Editor of Architecture, described as “the most memorable par three in golf”.

Our mountain setting is the canvas on which players experience 6,300 yards of manicured playing surfaces rollicking up and down over 250 vertical feet of elevation change, exploiting the dramatic features of the land in his layout. It is a compelling journey of excitement and reward, as well as a thrill of anticipation of what grand panoramic view might be presented around the next bend.

In 2020, Bill Bergin, ASCGA, and his team at Bergin Golf Designs elevated the golf experience at Highlands Falls to an even higher level. While keeping to the original playing corridors, he has fashioned a new experience based on the design strategies of golden age architects.

“Highlands Falls is blessed with beauty and, while the original course took advantage of the diverse landscape, we discovered even more opportunities to integrate golf into its incredible mountain setting,” commented Bergin. “Rock outcroppings, rhododendron and hemlock trees abound, as the routing of the course is finessed across a diverse landscape that includes either a pond or stream on thirteen of the eighteen holes. Our goal was to position Highlands Falls as a premier facility in Western North Carolina. We have accomplished that and more.”

Bergin’s plan shifted greens and reduced the amount of sand around the greens to greater use of the ground game, which allows a wider range of skills to enjoy the course. The installation of miles of pipe, hundreds of catch basins and extensive sand capping on the fairways ensures our award-winning superintendent, Fred Gehrisch, can maintain firm fairways, a condition seldom seen in mountain golf course.

The restyled layout has many risk-reward options and half-par holes that require you to commit to strategy. At Highlands Falls, canny high handicap players can match or better their handicaps easier than grip-it-and-rip-it low-handicap players. With firm conditions and collection areas around greens mowed to fairway height, missing a green does not necessarily take the putter out of play. A clever chip or putt from off the green allows players, no matter their skill level,  to save a score.

All of which is to say, if you like golf, and you like fun, you’ll really like golf at Highlands Falls.