Rumbling Bald (Resort) – Lake Lure, North Carolina

A few weeks back we took a trek up to play some mountain golf in western North Carolina. To be precise, the quaint rural town of Lake Lure in Rutherford County at a retreat named Rumbling Bald (set in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, located about 20 miles southeast of Ashville). At approximately 3,000 acres, Rumbling Bald offers a comprehensive list of resort activities and amenities for the entire family, including 36 holes of championship golf, racquet sports, spa, wellness center, swimming, boating, hiking, and over 150 extraordinary lodging rentals (GM Jeff Geisler revealed they no longer use the term “resort’ in their branding, to focus visitors more on the area and the surrounding community of Lake Lure). As the location for the 1987 movie “Dirty Dancing”, the area features stunning vistas overlooking the lake, and is within close proximity to the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge (pictured below) and Chimney Rock State Park.


Rumbling Bald’s two golf courses – Apple Valley and Rumbling Bald are ideal complements to each other, offering completely different challenges. Apple Valley is a bigger ballpark that offers ample room off the tee, but emphasizes strategy through proper angles on the approach to their new Champion Bermuda greens (featuring firm surfaces with subtle undulations). Rumbling Bald is a shorter layout that encourages and rewards shot-shaping and finesse to smaller more undulated Bentgrass greens.

Apple Valley

Apple Valley is routed through the Blue Ridge foothills, where Dan Maples designed the layout with a majority of the holes playing either level or downhill. AV is 6,800 yards from the tips with five sets of tees, and the forward tees play 4,617 yards.

According to Geisler, the area has endured it’s share of natural disasters – a 7,100-acre mountain wildfire six years ago and a flood in 2018 that wiped out bridges and roadways, but through the membership and property ownership group an $8.5 million five-year capital improvement budget was established to bring the destination and its courses back to their proper condition. Geisler and his team prioritized where to begin and new Champion Bermuda greens at Apple Valley was at the top of the list (the greens project was completed in the fall of ’20).

Although the pandemic has been tough on everyone, golf has thrived and Rumbling Bald has been no different – with the amount of rounds played way up over previous years. The Fall color season is a popular time of year for visitors.

Bald Mountain

Bald Mountain was designed by George Cobb protégé W.B. Lewis, and plays just over 6,300 yards, however, at no point during the round do you feel like the course is too short or a pushover. Lewis’ routing is quirky, interesting and fun – twisting its way through the hillsides, corridors of trees and lakes. The course offers the rare setup of five par 3 holes and five par 5s. In fact, the course starts and ends with very reachable par-5 holes in an attempt to get you in a blissful state of mind for the opening and closing parts of your journey.

According to Head of Golf Operations – Adam Bowles, Bald Mountain had become quite claustrophobic over the years with tree over-growth, and now with the removal and pruning work completed, corridors have been opened up for a more playable experience and healthier turf.

Rumbling Bald is committed to maintaining and improving its infrastructure and amenities to add value to and enhance the community for its members and guests.  Each year a considerable project list is developed to address the areas where improvements are necessary to maintain Rumbling Bald’s status as the premier Lake Lure community.

The Master Plan is a strategic initiative meant to provide a long-term, vibrant community for its members and guests to enjoy well into the future. 

Completed Projects:

  • Replacement of greens at Apple Valley Golf Course
  • Tree removal & pruning at Rumbling Bald & Apple Valley Golf Courses to improve playability
  • Installation of an access control system at the member marina
  • Creek bank stabilization & installation of a new bridge over Trout Stream near the Wellness Center
  • A paving study was completed to help guide annual road maintenance efforts
  • Fitness Center outfitted with new equipment
  • Replacement of rental pontoon boat fleet
  • New boardwalk and cabana deck
  • Game courts resurfacing

Future Initiatives (1-5 years):

  • Fiber optic infrastructure installation bringing a high-speed connection to every lot, projected completion 2023
  • Dredging of Bald Mountain Lake
  • The enclosure of the Lakeview Terrace patio, projected completion (TBD)
Lake Lure Flowering Bridge
Lake Lure
Legends on the Lake

Be sure to experience the fine cuisine at Rumbling Bald’s outstanding restaurants, including Legends on the Lake and The Gardens.

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