The Exponent Telegram
by Jim Fisher, METRO EDITOR
Bridgeport - (Friday, September 10, 2004)
With a little luck and good weather, area golfers will have two new courses to choose from by the summer of 2007.
Nationally acclaimed course designer Steve Burns of Burns Golf Design has been working on plans for 18-hole championship and nine-hole executive courses at Charles Pointe since February. While the hole layout was completed in about a month, the hilly terrain and topography unique to West Virginia has created some obstacles for Burns.
But it also makes for some exciting possibilities, he said.
"It’s kind of a mixed bag. It’s a difficult site to work with, which led to some delays in the design, but at the same time it can create more spectacular holes," Burns said. "I think we can have something here that’s as nice as anywhere."
With about a month of paperwork left, construction is slated to begin next spring or early summer. Allowing for an 18-month construction time and about six months of growing time, that puts the courses on track for a summer 2007 opening, said Mike Hager, spokesman for Genesis Partners, developers of Charles Pointe.
By then, the Wingate Hotel and a conference center hopefully will have been up and running for nearly two years, Hager said. The plan is to have some of the residential slots sold and built up by the time the courses open, Hager said.
Plans for Charles Pointe are progressing quite nicely, Hager said, thanks in no small part to the assistance of city leaders.
"The city has done a good job with the contractor as far as the infrastructure. I think they’re about 80 percent complete with that," Hager said.
Both courses will be open to the general public. The par 3 executive course was designed with youth golf in mind, particularly skill development, Hager said.
Burns said he was very pleased with the design, which includes numerous holes with tee boxes 100 feet or more above the fairways. One tee is 160 feet high, providing a spectacular view of the ridges and valleys, Burns said.
"I’d say definitely it was probably the most challenging so far," Burns said of the course design. "We’ve designed some with hilly spots in some places, but never one like this."