Golf legends collaborate with The Greenbrier Sporting Club to design exclusive new course
Golf icons Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Lee Trevino are collaborating for the first time on one golf course design-an unprecedented architectural achievement in the history of building golf courses. This proposed mountain course, with dramatic elevation changes and spectacular vistas overlooking the historic Oakhurst Links course, will be the centerpiece of Oakhurst, the newest neighborhood planned for The Greenbrier Sporting Club Subdivision.
Jim Justice, owner of The Greenbrier, has brought together these four golf legends to jointly design a championship mountaintop golf course in the future Oakhurst development. His goal is to one day host a major championship, perhaps even a U.S. Open. On top of this ambitious goal, Justice hopes to service the members and honor the legacies of these four icons. The project, which is anticipated to include a modest private ski facility, will break ground in the next month, with the opening of the course scheduled for fall 2016.
“We’ve been friends and competitors for a long time, but most of all, we have all loved the game for a long time and I think that’s what’s important,” said Jack Nicklaus, who redesigned The Greenbrier resort’s Greenbrier Course in 1977. “So our goal is to create something unique at Oakhurst. I think having all of our ideas of how the game should be played combined into one golf course positioned right next to Oakhurst Links, where the game has its origins in our country, will be something very special and we will have fun doing it.”
“Jack, Arnold, Lee and I have been competing around the world on Tour for more than 50 years, and to be collaborating on this design at this stage of our lives is very special and exciting,” Gary Player said. “We all visited the beautiful site recently, and I have no doubt that together we will fulfill Jim Justice’s lofty goals for this project on not only the golf course but in creating jobs and supporting charities as well.”
“I have a particular soft spot in my heart for The Greenbrier-I was invited to play in the Sam Snead Festival, an unofficial pro-am at the resort, in 1955 which was my first year on Tour,” Arnold Palmer said. “Now, I’m looking forward to spending whatever time it takes to do a job for Jim Justice and The Greenbrier that will be an enduring and memorable contribution to golf. Jim wants the course to be a U.S. Open venue by 2023 and that’s our goal, too.”
“No four guys with those credentials have ever built a golf course together,” said Lee Trevino, The Greenbrier’s Golf Pro Emeritus. “It’ll be a unique challenge, but we’ll get it done. I’m OK with it, because all of my holes are going to be short par 3s, dogleg right. All joking aside, there’s no question in my mind that with this new golf course, The Greenbrier Sporting Club will be the greatest Sporting Club on earth.”
In addition to the new 7,500-yard, 18-hole mountaintop championship golf course, other planned amenities for the Oakhurst neighborhood and for future use by members of The Greenbrier Sporting Club include a clubhouse; dining facilities; a pro shop; an outdoor pool; ski and snowboard facilities; and fishing, hiking and biking areas.
The existing historic 9-hole Oakhurst Links course-the oldest golf club in America-will also be incorporated into this new planned neighborhood as part of The Greenbrier Sporting Club. Built in 1884 and purchased by The Greenbrier resort in 2012, Oakhurst Links is a 30-acre course, museum and clubhouse listed on the National Register of Historic Places and located just a few miles north of The Greenbrier. Conventional golf clubs are not used at Oakhurst. Golfers-often dressed in period golf attire-play with hickory-shafted clubs and hit gutta-percha balls off tees fashioned from sand and water, the way it was done more than 130 years ago.
Upon purchase of a membership in The Greenbrier Sporting Club, Inc., the private equity club and residential community set amidst the 10,000-acre estate of The Greenbrier, residents of The Greenbrier Sporting Club Subdivision also will have use and access to exclusive Club amenities and activities. Membership also provides access to more than 55 activities at The Greenbrier resort.
“It’s not often you are truly in the midst of history being made,” said Jim Justice, owner of The Greenbrier. “The collaboration of the four icons-Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Lee Trevino-is, without question, an incredible event to be happening in our great state of West Virginia. Additionally, bringing leaders of business from around the globe and an array of celebrities will bring added attention to our great state, along with business opportunities that result in jobs for our people.”