Mickelson Finalizing Design for River Rock in North Carolina

Phil Mickelson is finishing up his design for the private River Rock Golf Club near Cashiers, N.C. The layout in the Blue Ridge Mountains will feature panoramic vistas, meandering streams and lush forests. River Rock will be built within a development that encompasses close to 4,000 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau of North Carolina.

"My commitment to golf is to creating the highest quality courses that are challenging, engaging and always provide a truly enjoyable experience each time they are played," said Mickelson, who this week is not far from the River Rock project, playing at the Tour Championship in Atlanta. "To do that, you need to find the most beautiful landscapes available, and develop dream destinations for golfers from around the world. We've done that in the mountains of North Carolina."

Still in the design phase, the River Rock course will boast the following characteristics:

* The first tee is only a few steps from the back door of the clubhouse, creating a "center stage" feel to the start of a round.

* The second hole is a 305-yard, par-3 from the tips, with a 65-foot drop to a green that sits on a knoll with 180-degree views of the nearby mountains.

* The 343-yard third hole is a drivable par-4. The 270-yard carry over a stream and ravine is helped considerably by the 104-foot drop from tee to green.

* The 15th and fourth fairways cross one another, a rarity in American golf.

The par-72 River Rock will measure approximately 7,100 yards at its maximum, with the yardage mitigated by downhill drops to several fairways and greens. Just six of the 18 holes will play uphill on a site that ranges from 2,250 to 4,250 feet above sea level. Among the more dramatic topographical features are a 114-foot descent on the fourth hole and an uphill of climb of 74 feet on the 11th.

Mickelson, who launched Phil Mickelson Design in January of 2007, incorporates redan-style green complexes and sharply sloped fairways throughout the course. He also had a hand in designing River Rock's large practice facility.

Although River Rock is the first project of Phil Mickelson Design, Mickelson is no stranger to crafting golf courses. The Lower Course at Whisper Rock, a desert-style design in Scottsdale, Ariz., is his debut work. Opened in 2001, Whisper Rock was ranked No. 67 on Golfweek Magazine's Top 100 Modern Courses (2006).

"I thoroughly enjoyed the creative experience at Whisper Rock and I'm really excited about continuing my work in course design on a wider scale," said Mickelson, who also will be involved with the residential master plan in and around River Rock's private course. "The properties we're involved with are magnificent golf development settings and the variety of locations and terrains offers a great challenge for our team. Phil Mickelson Design is ready to create communities where people can have the time of their lives."

The River Rock clubhouse is slated to open in fall 2009 along with a unique, 22-hole instructional short course, called King's Grant, designed by Mickelson's long-time swing consultant Rick Smith.

Owned and operated by Legasus of North Carolina, LLC, River Rock is only 75 minutes from Asheville and within three hours of Charlotte, Atlanta and Knoxville.