New Course Coming to Roanoke County

If Lester George doesn’t encounter any further obstacles, the golf architect will be able to start work on a new course in Mount Pleasant, Va., by the end of the year or early 2005. In mid-September, the Richmond, Va.-based golf architect took a major step forward with the proposed Fountainhead Golf Club when the Roanoke County board of supervisors approved the project, repeating a vote the board members cast earlier in August.

The board voted to grant a rezoning and a special-use permit that will allow 250 acres of the 362-acre Saul farm off Pitzer Road to become a golf course. The layout will be split in half by Pitzer Road, with nine holes on each side of that thoroughfare. One of the big hang-ups in getting county approvals has been the housing component associated with Fountainhead. The remaining 112 acres are currently zoned for no more than 70 single-family homes, and county officials have refused to budge from that number.

But it now looks like all systems are go for Fountainhead Golf Club. The Saul Farm is owned by NBO Associates, a group comprised of Bonsack (Va.) resident Ronnie Brooks, his wife Brenda Saul Brooks, and six other partners. George Golf Design holds an option on the property. NBO has received several offers for the former farmland, with each around $2.9 million.

Roanoke County officials now feel that George’s golf course plan – with a limited number of residences around it – will be good for Mount Pleasant. A golf project on the Saul Farm property dates back to July 2001, when the Roanoke County Planning Commission recommended approval for a golf-housing project by developer Nathaniel Haile. At that time, the supervisors were concerned that 12 acres of the site on the north side of Pitzer Road were within the proposed I-73 corridor.

Both those and other issues have apparently been allayed. If all goes according to plan, golfers in the Mount Pleasant area will have a new place to play sometime in 2006. And they should be getting a fine golf course. Lester George is one of the nation’s hottest golf architects. Among his new courses in Virginia are Kinloch Golf Club in Goochland County and The Colonial in Williamsburg. In addition, George has designed Forest Hills Golf Resort in Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan, and Kincaid Lake State Park Golf Course in Falmouth, Ky.

George has also been very active in remodeling existing courses, with several in Virginia. These include Salisbury Country Club in Midlothian; James River Country Club in Newport News; The Country Club of Virginia’s James River, Tuckahoe Creek and Westhampton courses; the Country Club of Petersburg; and Cavalier Golf & Yacht Club in Virginia Beach.