Archives: August 2014

Wintergreen Resort Is Golf Heaven

Tee ShotIn the previous post we took a look at the wonderfully rich history of the Wintergreen Resort and a glimpse into how far it’s come. Now let’s take a moment to review the world-renowned golf courses of Devil’s Knob and Stoney Creek. I’ve taken the liberty to give you a hole-by-hole review of each one on both courses. So take a look then grab those clubs and show the golf world what you’re made of!

The Challenge of Devil’s Knob

When the legendary father and son design team of Ellis and Dan Maples began the build for Devil’s Knob, they were faced with the enormous task of pushing through over 1,000-acres of heavily wooded land that had several changes in elevation. Their persistence yielded one of the more beautiful and challenging golf courses you’ll ever come across. They call it “Devil’s Knob” for a reason. This is no easy go.

Front 9: (par 35 – 3,434 yds)

1 – Par 4: 411 yds. Downhill sweep from fairway. Tee shot must clear sloping mounds. Approach is open, but, with huge bunkers surrounding the green.

2 – Par 4: 392 yds. Dogleg left. Danger off tee are long traps aside the landing area. Green slopes back to front with three gaping bunkers and is less than 28 paces deep.

3 – Par 4: 520 yds. Extremely difficult hole. Elevated tee. Hard bank left with trees lining fairway. Shoot for accuracy, not distance. Slightly raised green that’s small and breaks back to front.

4Par 3: 160 yds. Slightly uphill and surrounded by trees. Plays well from the right level. Deceptive two-tiered green should be approached from below the hole.

5Par 5: 487 yds. Slightly uphill from tee to green. Accuracy is key as trees line fairway. Tempting to go for the green but cavernous bunkers front it. Green also runs hard to the front.

6Par 3: 194 yds. You’ll play every bit of it. One trip into the sand left or right and par won’t happen. Short approach will roll back off of the green.

7Par 5: 585 yds (longest hole of the course). Rocket blast off the tee to clear the pond then fairway doglegs left. Straight uphill from there. Sand on right, creek on left. Good luck!

8Par 3: 200 yds. Magnificent yet evil. Fronting lake. Deep sand. Slick putting green. Consistent breeze. This is beauty and the beast. Play very carefully.

9Par 4: 486 yds. Second most difficult hole. Dogleg right, uphill par 4. Requires long tee shot. Putting surface is two-tiered and 30-yards long. Par is difficult and birdie even less likely.

From the BunkerBack 9: (PAR 35 – 3,278 YDS)

10Par 5: 571 yds. Downhill from the tee then bends right with large landing area. Tricky second shot where creek crosses fairway. Greens only 20 paces deep. Be careful on this approach.

11Par 4: 392 yds. Uphill from the fairway. Tee accuracy is key to survive this monster. Hug the right of the fairway. Green is elevated and no sand but creek does wind this hole.

12Par 4: 354 yds. Plays straightaway and slightly uphill from tee to green. Be accurate as trees line fairway. Sand on both sides of green.

13Par 4: 380 yds. Uphill, dogleg left. Tee shot accuracy is key to a tight fairway. Rock formation on the right. Green is embraced by traps. Be conservative.

14Par 4: 374 yds. Highest point of course. Panoramic view of the Mountains. Enjoy, then focus. Large trees guard fairway left and right. Very narrow green. Party’s over.

15Par 3: 185 yds. Accuracy, accuracy, accuracy. Green is carved into a forest and is shallow. Putting surface falls abruptly. One miscalculation equals doom.

16Par 4: 410 yds. Downhill. Green is fronted by sand. Birdies available from the fairway. Driver off the tee may not be needed.

17Par 3: 185 yds. Downhill and played into an angry breeze. Three gaping bunkers surround the green with a creek also awaiting. Say a prayer first.

18Par 4: 430 yds. Manageable fairway but 20-yard bunker on the landing area corner. Uphill beast of a green that’s 34 paces long. Now that’s how you end a course!

The Luxury of Stoney Creek

Rees “Open Doctor” Jones had a vision for Stoney Creek and it was simple: to make it one of the more luxuriously designed courses in the world. That’s saying a mouthful considering this is the same renowned golf course architect that redesigned several PGA Tour stops. His mission was realized and to this day Stoney Creek is one of the most wonderful courses to play with three sets of lavish nine-holes awaiting you.

Putting For the WinTUCKAHOE: (Par 36 – 3,612 yds)

1 – Par 4: 473 yds. Downhill. Tee shot is key and must avoid lake on the right side. Play down left of fairway as it slopes toward the water hazard. Mounds left and right of putting surface.

2 – Par 4: 354 yds. Uphill. Dogleg right. Roller-coaster fairway. Bevy of traps on the right and the putting surface which also features bunkers front and right. Slick greens 34 paces deep.

3 – Par 5: 564 yds. High risk-reward hole. Downhill. Drive down the left to avoid the 50-yd bunker. Very welcoming green. The Creek runs front of green but still a sure birdie hole.

4 Par 3: 226 yds. Demands pinpoint accuracy. Sand lines the right. Wetlands on left. Raised and narrow putting surface falls left and rear.

5Par 4: 505 yds. Dogleg right. Trees, mounds, and marsh line the right of fairway with three bunkers on the left (deep). Careful off the tee here. Trouble awaits you.

6 Par 4: 350 yds. Going for green is possible but dangerous. Small green with trees down the right of fairway with thick rough sand on left. More sand and mounds also dare you.

7 Par 4: 391 yds. Downhill. Six bunkers down left and right of landing area. Small green with water on the right and huge bunker on the left. Don’t be a hero here.

8Par 3: 165 yds. Over water which brings wind into equation. Pin position dictates club selection here. Bunker left and deep bunker right. Back tee makes this terrifying yet fun.

9 – Par 5: 584 yds. Dogleg right. Littered with bunkers and mounds. Longest an Stoney Creek. Dozen plus traps line the fairway, play left to survive. Play smart and birdie is yours.

Monocan: (par 36 – 3,469 yds)

1 – Par 5: 570 yds. Dogleg left. Avoid bunkers both sides of fairway. Downhill second shot. Green embraced by several bunkers and Creek fronting it. Birdie nice, but, par is practical.

2 – Par 4: 370 yds. Dogleg left. No fairway bunkers. Creeks stretches the left of it. Raised putting surface. Treacherous bunker fronts it. May require extra stick to make it.

3 – Par 4: 446 yds. Dogleg right. Requires length and accuracy on tee shot. Trees flank right and bunkers guard left. Long putting surface w/ sand left and right. Beware center ridge.

4Par 4: 420 yds. Downhill. Tee shot must split trees and sand on the left and trees and mounds on right. Green is well-guarded. Sand on left, bunkers rear, lake on right. Whoa.

5Par 3: 171 yds. Carries over the lake. Bunkers and mounds guard rear of putting green that’s only 22 yards long. Par appears easy in three. Key word is “appears”.

6Par 4: 373 yds. Gorgeous backdrop of Blue Ridge Mountains. Trees right and left with bunker helps keep you focused off tee. More dual-side mounds and bunkers on approach.

7Par 4: 414 yds. Long shot off tee. Bunkers must be cleared at 200-250 yds. Green is accessible and 32 yds long but sand on both sides. Rolls back to front and is slick.

8Par 3: 180 yds. Uphill. Brook runs entire left of this hole. Bunkers on each side. Green is 26 yds and fairly flat. Extremely beautiful hope to play with trees surrounding it.

9Par 5: 525 yds. VERY intimidating on the tee shot. Tons of trees guard all the way to dogleg right. Don’t be tempted to take green in two. Threatening mounds await your gumption.

Size Up the PuttShamokin: (par 36 – 3,546 yds)

1 – Par 4: 442 yds. Dogleg right. Trees guard both sides of fairway. Bunkers on corner of dogleg. Clearing them presents opportunity to shoot for the undulating green.

2 – Par 4: 396 yds. Tight landing area makes for difficult drive. Bunkers and mounds line right and left shrink fairway to 20 paces. Very wide green but not deep w/ bunkers short and deep.

3 – Par 3: 181 yds. Creek winds down the left to eventually front the green. Great chance to reach home in one shot. Extremely small putting surface, though. Best tee shot needed here.

4Par 5: 578 yds. Dogleg left. Tight landing area with sand and trees on right. Mounding and more trees on left. Long green but plenty of sand. Massive hole. Shoot for par here.

5Par 4: 355 yds. Slight bend to the left. Fairway ends at 100 yds out. Small and undulating green. No fairway bunkers but putting surface guarded like Fort Knox. Luck be with you!

6Par 4: 416 yds. Large fairway with no hazards. Invitation to get very aggressive. With length must have accuracy, though. Approach across Creek. Very shallow putting surface.

7Par 3: 202 yds. Downhill. Trees surround the green including traps and a bunker. Pause to enjoy mountains in the backdrop (glorious). Now try to focus on the hole, if you can.

8Par 5: 355 yds. Dogleft left. Play left off the tee with a blast shot. Three bunkers guard cornier and two on the opposite side. Trees ensure hole narrows as you get closer. Fore!

9Par 4: 460 yds. A beast of a finisher. Bends HARD left. Trees and mounds line the fairway. Exceptionally tight landing area. Huge green, though. Sand is left and right. End strong.

After golf like that, who would ever want to leave Wintergreen Resort? Apparently not many as most who visit eventually call this home. Here’s to hoping this review gives you the edge you need over your neighbors. Now let’s get out there and have some Blue Ridge fun!

Until next time,

Brian

Report: Bigger is Better for National Home Buyers

US New Home ConstructionThe sluggish housing market over the last several years did not have an impact on Americans’ desire for bigger and fancier homes, according to a recent report from USA Today.

Evidently, demand continues to grow for these large estates, especially as the housing market across the nation improves.

This is a fascinating trend on the national housing market and one that is sure to impact both home buyers and sellers.

Americans Love to Own Large, Luxury Homes

The American Dream of owning a bigger and better home is still very much alive across the country.

In fact, as the recent USA Today article noted, many of today’s buyers still want a house that includes as many luxury amenities and features as they can think of – or at least afford.

This may include gourmet kitchens, deluxe bathrooms, spacious decks or screened-in porches.

While this is occurring, experts also note that homeownership rates have remained mostly stagnant. And income growth appears to be lagging behind the rising price of homes.

Meanwhile, the size of families and households continues to shrink, even though the houses themselves are getting bigger.

Experts say that this is because Americans still love the idea of owning a home that makes a statement about them, that demonstrates their status in society.

A Closer Look at This Housing Market Trend

Here is some relevant data on this housing market trend, based on US Census data:

  • The average square footage of newly built single-family homes in the U.S. jumped by nearly 57 percent, from 1,660 in 1973 to 2,598 square feet in 2013.
  • The Northeastern region of the country had the second-highest average square footage, which rose by 65 percent. Specifically, the square footage jumped from 1,959 to 2,636.
  • Meanwhile, the average number of people per household in the U.S. dropped from 3.01 in 1973 to 2.54 in 2013.
  • Specifically, families fell to 3.12 members from 3.48 during the same period of time.
  • As a result of the construction of larger homes, the average sales price of newly built single-family homes in the U.S. skyrocketed by 419 percent from $62,500 in 1978 to $324,500 in 2013.
  • Even if you consider inflation, that still quite a jump, experts say.
  • The Northeast is home to the highest average sales price, which increased by 646 percent from $63,000 in 1978 to $469,000 in 2013.
  • Between 2012 and 2013 alone, the average sales price of newly built single-family homes in the U.S. jumped by 20 percent: from $292,000 to $324,500.
  • Meanwhile, the U.S. homeownership rate continued to drop during the fourth quarter of 2013: from 65.4 during the fourth quarter of 2012 to 65.2 percent.

So What Do Home Owners Get With These Newly Built Homes?

A better question is: What don’t they get?

Here’s a breakdown of these new construction homes and what they offer to buyers:

  • Of the 569,000 homes built last year throughout the U.S., 188,000 (33 percent) contained three or more bathrooms.
  • Meanwhile, 251,000 (44 percent) of last year’s houses featured four or more bedrooms, which is the largest share since 1973..
  • Also, of the homes built last year, 301,000 (53 percent) came with a patio.
  • And 361,000 (63 percent) featured a porch.
  • Meanwhile 127,000 (22 percent) included a deck.
  • Another trend that experts are seeing is more finished basements for added space, according to the report.
  • These homes have mostly hovered around one and two stories, however, despite the increase in size. In fact, 233,000 (41 percent) of newly built homes last year were one story and 305,000 (54 percent) were two stories. Meanwhile, only 31,000 (5 percent) were three stories or more.

Follow Our Blog for More Valuable National Real Estate Data

Check back here soon for more pertinent information on the housing market and how it may impact you as a buyer or seller.

We’ve made it our goal to help you stay informed as you navigate the market. After all, the better informed you are, the better prepared you are for securing a successful outcome on the housing market.

Have a Blast Is At The Blue Ridge Mountain Music Festival

Banjo and BluegrassAre you ready for an entire afternoon of great bluegrass music? Of course you are! Coming soon to The Wintergreen Resort (VA) is the 9th Annual Blue Ridge Mountain Music Festival for another year of wonderful music and good times. For those that have attended the previous events, you can attest to the terrific fun had by all. This is truly the spirit of Virginia: good music, good people, and good times.

 

Be Sure to Wear Your Dancing Shoes

The natural beauty of the Virginia Piedmont serves as a gorgeous backdrop for some of the best acts in bluegrass and Americana at this year’s Festival. Hold on to your hats because this year’s performers are set to raise the bar even higher from last year. Performers will include:

For more information about each act be sure to click on their name above. Renowned for their talents, they’ll be sure to add even more life to an already lively event!

Rockin’ Good Fun!

Come on out and join us for an entire afternoon of fun in the Virginia Piedmont sun. The event details are as follows:

  • Event Date: Friday, August 16, 2014
  • Event Time: Noon – 7pm
  • Cost: $25 for Adults, $10 for Students, FREE for Children 6 years of age or younger
  • Where: Salem Stadium

Tickets for the event can be purchased the day of the Festival at the Dunlop Pavilion Ticket Booth. So let’s all get out, get together, and have some bluegrass fun!

Until we meet,

Brian

 

The Glory of Wintergreen Resort

Putting for the BirdieFounded in the late 1960s, Wintergreen Resort has become the realized plan of an early group of investors that saw the great potential for the area. Nestled serenely in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Resort has slowly developed into a haven for those looking to escape the ills of city life. It’s development over time has been nothing short of phenomenal.

With eight ski slopes and many chair lifts already in operation, the Wintergreen Development Inc. was founded in 1975 and shortly afterwards in 1976 began the construction of the famed Devil’s Knob Golf Course. With the renowned Ellis and Dan Maples responsible for the design and build of the Course, it was destined for greatness.

In 1978, the Mountain Tennis Center followed with the Mountain Inn and Conference Center on its heels in 1980. The year 1984 saw the Wintergarden spa open its doors for the first time. A year later the Wildflower Park was given tribute by the former first lady Lady Bird Johnson to preserve the native plants and then came 1988. That’s the year all 18 holes of gorgeous Stoney Creek were unveiled. Designed by the incomparable Rees “Open Doctor” Jones, this Course was built to spoil all comers.

The World Knows This Is the Place To Be

With so much beauty and fun to be had here at Wintergreen Resort, it’s no wonder it has become and has seemingly always been one of the more coveted places in the world to be. As more and more discover the luxuries here, the awards and renowned events continue to flood in. Here are just a few at a glance:

Awards Won: 

  • Rated four stars by Golf Digest – Best Places to Play 
  • Best Golf Resort (Platinum) – Blue Ridge Country Magazine (2013)
  • Named runner-up for Best New Resort Courses – Golf Digest (1990) 
  • Awarded Best Golf Courses in the Mid Atlantic – Washington Post 
  • Ranked #9 – Best Course Near You by Golf Magazine (2008)

Key Events Held: 

  • Lewis Chitengwa Memorial Championship (2003-04)
  • Virginia State Junior Amateur Championship (2006) 
  • Virginia Women Team Matches (2008) 
  • Virginia Mid-Amateur Championships (2008)
  • Women’s Eastern Amateur Championship (2009) 
  • VSGA Amateur Championship Qualifier (2011)

If you haven’t yet experienced all that Wintergreen Resort has to offer, it is definitely time you treat yourself to its spoils. After all, you deserve it, right?

Until next time,

Brian

Home Improvements That Pay Off When Selling Your Home

Home RemodelingNot all home remodeling projects are created equal – especially when you’re trying to get the biggest bang for your buck when it comes time to sell your property.

So before you spend thousands of dollars on that home remodeling project you’ve been dreaming about, make sure that you’re armed with the facts first.

Today, we’re going to tell you which of the most common home renovation projects are worth the investment, and which ones you’re better off doing without. The answers may surprise you.

Roofs and New Siding: Not Very Glamorous but Quite Impactful

Remodeling Magazine reports that you’re more likely to recoup your investment on such features as your roof or your siding than you are on bathroom or kitchen remodels.

In fact, siding replacement recouped 92.8 percent of its investment while roof replacements recouped 90 percent or more at resale.

Roof replacement appears to be most important to buyers in the east, with home owners recouping an average 96.3 percent of the cost. In the Midwest, that average return was around 71.1 percent.

That’s because home buyers care more about the overall structure of the home than they do about an aesthetically pleasing kitchen.

What’s more, a recently replaced roof or new siding tells buyers that their maintenance costs are going to be low to non-existent for the first few years. And it’s impossible to understate how important that is to buyers.

Kitchens: A Sound Investment or Not?

The consensus is unanimous: Kitchen remodels are an excellent way to spend your home renovation dollars – but only if you don’t spend too much out the gate.

In fact, minor kitchen remodels (in the ballpark of $15,000 or less) returned 92.9 percent of the investment. That number dropped off on bigger remodeling projects in the kitchen.

Some features to focus on in the kitchen include all wood cabinets, commercial-looking appliances, stone floors and stone counter tops.

How About Bathrooms?

Bathrooms are also a fantastic place to invest your home remodeling dollars. Often, home owners are pleasantly surprised to discover that they get a 100 percent plus return on their investment.

For instance, a $9,400 bathroom remodel in Baltimore recently recouped 182 percent of its cost at resale.

Some features that you may want to focus on during a bathroom remodel include floor-to-ceiling steam showers and walk-in showers.

And if you only have one bathroom in your home, spend your money on adding a second bathroom instead of remodeling the only bathroom you have.

Don’t Forget To Consider Your Home’s Curb Appeal!

People often focus their remodeling dollars on the inside of the home but the exterior is just as important – if not more so.

After all, a potential home buyer will form an opinion about your home before they ever step foot inside.

Perhaps that’s why adding siding is such a sound investment when you look at the return you could get at resale.

Another way to make sure your home has adequate curb appeal is by adding a front porch or other architectural features to make your home more inviting.

Give Buyers Extra Room to Grow

Finally, consider adding another room to your home during a remodeling project.

We’ve already talked about the benefits of adding a bathroom. But the same principles hold true for other room additions as well.

In fact, for every 1,000 square feet added to a home, your sales price will increase by more than 30 percent, according a 2005 National Association of Realtors study.

One caveat to this rule: Don’t add so much extra space that your home becomes the most expensive home in the neighborhood. That’s a sure way to turn off home buyers.

Just a Few More General Notes About Home Remodels

RS1551_shutterstock_983846-lprRegardless of what type of project you select, remember that the following factors will also help determine your return on investment:

  • The Value of Your Home
  • The Value of the Homes in Your Neighborhood
  • The Housing Market You’re Located In
  • How Soon You Sell Your Home After the Home Improvement Project
  • The Quality of the Home Improvement Project

Your #1 Resource for Real Estate Trends and News

Hopefully you learned something today about home remodeling projects and how much they really benefit you as a prospective home seller.

Make sure to follow our blog to receive the latest updates on real estate trends like these and how they may impact you.

Have a great day!

The Glory of the Blue Ridge Tunnel

Blue Ridge TunnelThe Blue Ridge Tunnel is one of the most historic and beautiful landmarks in the State of Virginia and has continued to impress throughout the generations. Originally completed in 1858, at the time it was the world’s longest tunnel stretching a then massive 4,273 feet and was intended for trains to pass from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Ohio River Valley.

To this day, the Virginia Blue Ridge Tunnel is hailed as an unbelievable feat of engineering and remains a major attraction of the area. In 1976 it was deemed a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers and it sits 700 feet under the crest of the Blue Ridge at Rockfish Gap.

Celebrate the Essence of Virginian History

Come out and join us along with local author and Affiliate Fellow at the Virginia Center for Humanities, Mary E. Lyons, to talk about her new book “The Blue Ridge Tunnel:  A Remarkable Engineering Feat in Antebellum Virginia”.  This wonderful writing follows three Irish families as they persist through the elements and social handicaps to help construct Crozet’s renowned tunnel as well as their own slice of the American dream.

  • Deadline for Sign-Up: August 1.
  • Event Date: Friday, August 8, 2014
  • Event Time: 2:00pm – 4:00pm
  • Cost: FREE for Members of The Nature Foundation, $5 for Non-Members.
  • Where: The Nature Foundation at Wintergreen (3421 Wintergreen Dr. Roseland, VA, 22967)

I look forward to seeing you all there as we come together to appreciate The Blue Ridge Tunnel and all that it stands for: hard work, perseverance, and the true essence of America.

Until we meet,

Brian