Report: Smoky renovation of picturesque Donald Ross track in North Carolina has residents concerned

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An extensive redesign and renovation of a Donald Ross-designed course in western North Carolina is drawing the ire of local residents who say thick smoke has been the result of piles of debris being burned.

Bobby Weed Golf Design said in June that renovation of Waynesville Inn & Golf Club included plans to reduce the facility from 27 holes to a better 18.

The original nine holes at Waynesville, which is near Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway, were designed by famed architect Ross and opened in 1926. Another 18 were added later.

Residents in the area told WLOS-TV that a pair of burn pits have created a thick layer of smoke in the mountainous region less than an hour west of Asheville.

But a fire marshal insisted the company is handling everything correctly.

“Folks are calling and complaining about the smoke and the ash,” Waynesville Fire Marshal Darrell Calhoun told the TV station. “They have a burn permit. They have a burn pit with berms on each side with an excavator. They’re doing everything to a T.”

According to earlier reporting by Golfweek, the resort’s master plans include a study on possibly adding a short course and Himalayan-style putting green. Other master plan highlights include addressing infrastructure and capital improvement needs, a hole-by-hole analysis, a full course restoration, introducing agronomic best practices and efficient budgeting.

The facility is owned by Raines Company, a hotel ownership group with multiple locations in the southeastern United States.

Waynesville
Waynesville

Bobby Weed will renovate the course at Waynesville Inn & Golf Club in western North Carolina. (Courtesy of Waynesville Inn & Golf Club)

The work was expected to last 16 to 24 months as the 111-room inn and accompanying mountainous course joins Raines’ boutique hotel division, Woven by Raines.