Tiger Woods to Design First American Course In North Carolina

Tiger Woods has been hired to design an 18-hole course in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the North Carolina-South Carolina border. The project was announced by golf's No. 1-ranked player and Jim Anthony, founder and president of The Cliffs Communities, in Travelers Rest, S.C.

Woods' only previous foray into golf design is a new course under construction in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. That layout is expected to open for play in late 2009.

Woods, who now has 13 career major titles in his burgeoning resume, is seeking to catch Jack Nicklaus's all-time record of 18. But the Golden Bear, with 258 courses to his credit, is way ahead of him in the golf-architecture trade. "I always wanted to be in the design business," Woods said Tuesday. "He's done over 200. I'll do only one or two at any time."

In addition to Woods's private golf course, the 5,000-acre Cliffs Valley development in Swannanoa, N.C., will feature hundreds of homes, various recreational amenities and other facilities. Woods said he will have a home at the community, one of several in the Carolinas developed by Anthony, who said of Woods, "I don't believe there's any golfer that has more desire," Anthony said. "He takes us to another level."

The newest Cliffs Community will be located at 4,000 feet elevation. "I really can't mess this up," Woods said. "It's an amazing piece of property."

Unlike the Dubai course, which required considerable earthmoving during the shaping process, the Cliffs' site is bowl-shaped and rolling, with views of seven mountain ranges. "It's just sitting there," Woods said of the property. "All you have to do is put a golf course on it."

Woods said his latest design will be amenable to walking. "Jim and I both have an interest in fitness," Woods said. "Obesity and diabetes is an epidemic in the country. We want something to encourage physical fitness. We'll have a complex of about five tees on every hole, and we'll have no more than a 5% grade on any hole so we'll have a course everyone can walk."

Unlike Nicklaus, who crafted many courses for his trademark left-to-right fade, Woods said he won't design the new course to match his game, except that his will have a drive-able par-4. "On the longer holes," Woods said, "the fairways will be wider for the tee shot. The shorter par-4s will be narrow."