Greer Industries in West Virginia was established as a steel company back in 1917, subsequently diversifying into mining, aggregates and publishing.
At the end of the 1990s, CEO John Raese and executive vice-president Bob Gwynne decided the best short term use for a large parcel of company owned land was to develop it as a golf course – one that they would design themselves with the help of their specialist engineers and construction crews.
Veteran professionals Johnny Pott and Dow Finsterwald were also consulted and they would drop in occasionally to offer advice and encouragement as the fairways were carved from a hilly, forested limestone landscape.
The initial 9-hole course opened in 2004, followed a full five years later by an additional nine holes to complete an 18-hole layout that, in the words of the club, offers “pure golf for purists” with no carts or cart paths and no homes visible from anywhere on the course.Pikewood National Golf Club is set up with two sets of tees; the 7,588-yard Championship markers (par 72 rated at 79.3 with a Slope of 155) and the 6,725-yard Regular tees (par 72 rated at 75.6 with a Slope of 151) – now those figures let you know that this is a seriously difficult golf course for really serious golfers.
The State of West Virginia possesses one of America’s most difficult golf courses. With a slope rating of 147 and a course rating of 75.1 from the member’s tees (I won’t even bother mentioning the metrics from the championship tees), this layout will leave you out of breath.
The genius of the property is that world famous architects didn’t create it. It was created by the owners of the land who had travelled the world playing golf and decided to exercise their imagination. With Golf Digest rating the course at #45 in America, I was eager to travel to Morgantown, West Virginia, to see for myself. The names of the holes at Pikewood National sparked great curiosity and I subsequently learned that they were influenced by the owners’ friends based on their experiences throughout their respective golfing adventures. You can’t help but smile when playing holes called Hagge’s Knocker, Beaver and Cypress Pint. Click the link to read Fergal’s full report on Pikewood National.