Carolina Panthers to Purchase Waterford Golf Club
By Dave Daubert
What goes together better than the NFL and Golf? The National Football League won the numbers game at CBS, so the PGA TOUR decided to squeeze the FedEx Cup playoffs back to August so they could still get big bucks from the television rights before the NFL season kicked in. It is all about the money.
Now, the Carolina Panthers have made an agreement to buy a public golf course near their new headquarters they are planning in Rock Hill, South Carolina, viewing it as an opportunity to create stronger ties with the local community. Waterford Golf Club is about two miles from their future home in a region where the population has more than doubled since 2000. Panthers Chief Operating Officer Mark Hart says the team envisions making Waterford, an 18-hole Hale Irwin design that opened in 1997 about 25 miles from downtown Charlotte, an even greater community amenity.
"Anything we do we're going to try to improve it over its current state," Hart said. "It's already a great asset, a great course and a great layout. If we can do something in conjunction with the development on the new site and give it a Panthers brand and make it even better for the community, that's something that we look forward to trying."
The Panthers aren't just looking at relocating their headquarters from Charlotte and building a small practice facility in the Rock Hill area of York County, S.C. The team is eyeing a development similar to what the Dallas Cowboys have done in Frisco, Texas, with plans that include a hotel with conference space, a sports medicine facility, offices, shopping, restaurants and a residential component. There will be a 10,000-seat indoor practice
facility along with six or more outdoor practice fields.
Waterford Golf Club would likely be another community component in the Panthers move into the area, a potentially strong connection to the community rather than an amenity for the team itself.
Waterford Golf Club is an 18-hole, par 72 Championship course molded by Mother Nature and refined by 3 time US Open winner Hale Irwin that reaches out to 6,940 yards from the back tees. Nestled amongst dense hardwoods and rolling terrain, the layout is a tranquil journey with water from lakes and creeks coming into play on 16 of the 18 holes. Waterford is a true shotmaker's course with large undulating Bermuda min-verde greens that can challenge even the best of players when approaching from the Bermuda fairways. Currently owned by Pinnacle Golf Properties of Charlotte, Waterford has banquet and dining facilities with indoor and patio seating and a golf shop. The practice facility includes a driving range, large putting practice green, short game practice area and practice bunker.
Ty Lefler, Waterford's general manager and head professional, is among those thrilled about the potential new ownership, having been a Panther's season-ticker holder for the past four years. "I can't find a negative," says Lefler. "Everybody here is very excited and upbeat about what is coming."
Revised: 11/19/2019 - Article Viewed 17,223 Times
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About: Dave Daubert
David has been writing about golf since the turn of the century. He was Managing Editor at a regional golf magazine for 11 years, published in Canada, the IAGTO and a Staff Writer for The Georgia Golf Trail. His insightful perspective brings golf to life.