By James McAfee
Long Cove developers believe they have come up with a solution to the problem many golfers have of not having the time to enjoy the game because of work and/or taking care of a family.
It’s the 17-acre Proving Grounds, an innovative blend between a quality practice facility and a family-friendly short par-3 course designed by Architect Tripp Davis that is part of a second home residential community built on six miles of pristine shoreline on Cedar Creek Lake on land that once was used for coal mining.
Dan McNamara, developer of Long Cove, indicated that the design drew inspiration from professional practice facilities where players can re-create every shot that they might encounter. “We wanted a low pressure environment where a father could actually enjoy teaching a daughter to play or a whole family could enjoy the game on a summer evening in bare feet with a cocktail.” he added.
The plan is to operate it as a practice facility, with a 40-yard wide, 340-yard long range and a full complement of greens, bunkers and water conditions, allowing players to work on all phases of the game in the morning. With nine greens on the outside edges, it then can be converted into to a walking-only short course, played either clockwise or counter clockwise in a 9-hole sequence with holes averaging 125 yards, for the afternoon and evening. The small greens that fall off on the front and back put the emphasis on accuracy. Instead of traditional tee boxes, players play from designated fairway areas. With limited play for owners and guests only, golfers can make up their own par 4s or even par 5s, too, when no one else is out playing.
“The goal in designing this course was to provide a kid-centric environment, but also something that is challenging for an experienced golfer if played the right way,” Davis said. “Angles have been set up to play very easily or very difficult, all depending upon the way the ball is played.”
McNamara at first envisioned a 18-hole course and residential community on the lines of The Vaquero Club back in 2006 and three holes of a Davis design along with the range was finished in 2007. Looking at the economical feasibility and talking with potential customers changed that plan.
Kelsey indicated the guys would get excited at first hearing about the possible 18-hole course, but the wives quickly expressed concerns, saying things like ‘if that happens, you’d be out playing with the guys and I would be at home with the kids.” So McNamara decided to retrofit what had already been done and had Davis back to come up with a different option.
“We are confident we made the right decision,” Kelsey added, especially after hearing words of encouragement from touring professional Hunter Mahan when he visited.
Long Cove offers special home sites for waterside cottages, lake front homes and family compounds. Besides the golf, other amenities include a boat valet and concierge, a swim club, a fishing and canoeing pond, hiking and biking trails, fire pits, tennis courts, a fitness center and an amphitheater. There’s no restaurant, but outdoor cooking areas are set up by caters on the weekends. www.long-cove.com