As part of a transformation that began in 2010, Stoney Creek Golf Club in Whitsett, N.C., about 12 miles east of Greensboro, started shifting toward becoming a private facility in 2014.
That stint, however, was brief. And over the past year, after the course switched back to a semi-private club, Stoney Creek has experienced a fair share of success with its doors opened once again for public play.
The pinnacle of that transition came earlier this year, when Stoney Creek came in at No. 99 in the North Carolina Golf Panel’s “Top 100 Courses for 2017” and No. 33 among “Top 50 Courses You Can Play.”
“We had been there previously,” said John Kolls, Stoney Creek’s director of golf, “and to be able to get back on the list is quite an accomplishment and a testament, I think, to our superintendent, Cory Smith, and his staff and just really getting the golf course healthy again.”
Stoney Creek was designed by architect Tom Jackson and opened in 1992. According to Kolls, some of Jackson’s signature green conturing is still evident. However, the course has changed drastically since the 2010 renovation.
The reconstruction of the bent grass greens highlighted one of the most pronounced changes, which also included rebuilt bunkers.
“When you have good green complexes, in terms of a challenge for the better player but also fair for the maybe not so accomplished golfer, it comes down to the subtle breaks,” Kolls said. “I think these greens and the way they’re contoured have a lot of subtle breaks to them around the hole.
“You have to play it a few times to really get the idea of how those greens are moving.”
Perhaps the most obvious difference following the renovation was the course’s shift from a par-72 to a par-71. That decrease came after the 14th hole, previously a par-4 that Kolls said was penal off the tee, was converted into a 190-yard par-3.
However, that wasn’t the only change made regarding tee boxes.
During the renovation, Stoney Creek increased its amount of tees to six sets, making the course more friendly for less skilled golfers. The course measures 4,618 yards from the forward gold tees and 6,934 from the back tees.
“We’ve got a lot of ladies who play here and really just speak very highly of how fair it is from those (green) tees (, which stretch 5,323 yards),” Kolls said. “I think if you’re somebody who is not as experienced, it’s a less intimidating golf course from that angle because there are so many different tee boxes that you can choose from.”
Stoney Creek’s crowning jewel might be the Weaver Learning Center that was added during the renovation. Adjacent to the driving range, it’s a covered, climate-controlled structure that features heaters and fans that help make it a great place to practice, no matter the weather.
“I think the practice facility is as good as anywhere in the area,” Kolls said. “So if you enjoy practicing and like to work on your game, we would certainly fit the bill for that.”
For an adult to play 18 holes at Stoney Creek with a cart, it costs $39 Monday-Thursday and $49 Friday-Sunday and on holidays. And if you’re looking for somewhere to host a golf outing, Stoney Creek offers intriguing packages for corporate and group events.
“When you’re here, you’re going to be well taken care of,” Kolls said, “and everybody who works here is going to make a special effort to make it a special day for you and hopefully one you can remember.”