Brook Valley Country Club marks its fiftieth anniversary by celebrating royal beginnings, Maples golf course architecture and celebrity contests
In 1760, a tract of land in Greenville, N.C., now occupied by Brook Valley Country Club, became part of a royal grant bestowed by King Charles to a family who later sold the property to another family, the Brooks. They maintained the land for centuries before selling the large tract for development. Brook Valley reflects the family name, and today a copy of the royal charter adorns the club’s front walls.
Ellis Maples, who worked under and learned from Donald Ross, designed the Brook Valley golf course. Brook Valley’s rich history includes an exhibition match between legends Sam Snead and Ben Hogan. Reynolds May - one of the development’s original investors and a promoter - was friendly with many of the world’s best golfers at the time. After helping develop the golf course, he established the Reynolds May Tournament that featured many top professionals. The trophy from that event still resides at the club, bearing names of many great champions - including a young Curtis Strange, who captured the inaugural event at Brook Valley, as well as 2012 U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson.
Today, Brook Valley’s future appears bright following the club’s 2015 purchase by McConnell Golf. The golf course and practice area were renovated under the tutelage of renowned Greensboro-based golf course architect Kris Spence whose work included bunkering and one green modification (No. 2), along with significant tree removal and the relocation of a number of cart paths. Spence called Brook Valley an “out of the box” design for Maples, mostly due to its intricate cross bunkering.
“We have brought the Ellis Maples bunkering back, as well as adding a few bunkers to modernize the golf course,” Spence says. “Brook Valley is a very nice mix of golf holes with a lot of variety. The par-5s, in particular, are some of the best three-shooters I’ve seen. It’s not long, but it is a great membership golf course.”
The difference is noticeable. PGA Tour professional Will MacKenzie grew up in Greenville and regularly played Brook Valley. “Everyone always said Brook Valley was the best layout in Greenville” says MacKenzie. “It’s definitely got some of the best rolling terrain we have in Greenville. Brook Valley’s golf course was always a step above the others (in the area) in shot quality and feel, how the golf course was routed. But it needed to be restored. McConnell Golf came just in time.”
Watch History Unfold
Don’t leave it to your imagination, catch a smile and wave from Sam Snead and Ben Hogan via YouTube.com/McConnellGolf.