Saturday, July 13, 2024

Colonial Williamsburg Resorts Officially Breaks Ground on Par 3 Golf Course

 
 
Dignitaries break ground for “The Shoe,” the new nine-hole par 3 golf course slated to open in 2025 at Colonial Williamsburg Resorts. (Colonial Williamsburg Resorts)

WILLIAMSBURG — Colonial Williamsburg Resorts officially broke ground Tuesday morning on The Shoe, a new nine-hole par 3 course designed by award-winning golf architect Rees Jones that is slated to open in 2025.

In December 2022, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation officially closed the nine-hole Spotswood Course with plans to redevelop the property into residential housing. That plan met with opposition from the community, and those plans were later withdrawn by developer Frye Properties last June.

The Robert Trent Jones-designed Spotswood was underutilized and had become a strain on the Foundation’s ability to deliver its core educational mission, it said at the time. However, in March of this year, news emerged that Colonial Williamsburg Resorts would be building a par 3 course called “The Shoe” on the property.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation noted that short courses are becoming increasingly popular nationwide, with the National Golf Foundation reporting that 50% of new course openings in the United States over the last decade have been nine-hole layouts.

Foundation President and CEO Cliff Fleet addresses the crowd at the groundbreaking ceremony for “The Shoe,” the new nine-hole par 3 golf course slated to open in 2025 at Colonial Williamsburg Resorts. (Christopher Six/Stars and Stripes)

“When you think about the game today, many people want a shorter, more accessible, easy experience that will orient them into the game. Those who may be older … may want an experience that is a bit shorter, easier than it used to be,” explained Colonial Williamsburg Foundation President and CEO Cliff Fleet. “And so, what has become an increasingly accessible, important part of a golf asset, is a par 3 nine-hole course. There are many of these kinds of courses around the nation.”

“And we are blessed, thanks to the leadership people on this stage, that we are able to construct one of these golf courses for this community, which we know will be an asset, just as the Golden Horseshoe is,” he continued. “This is an incredible community with incredible support, and golf has long been in the fabric of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. And we’re blessed that this could be part of that future.”

 
A site plan for “The Shoe,” the new nine-hole par 3 golf course slated to open in 2025 at Colonial Williamsburg Resorts. (Colonial Williamsburg Resorts)

According to the foundation, the Jones-designed course will offer a smaller footprint featuring shorter play times and broader accessibility, allowing for quick outings with friends, active families who are pressed for time, and golfers stepping onto the greens for the first time. The new course will be shorter than the course it replaces, which featured two par 4 holes and one par 5.

Williamsburg Mayor Doug Pons addresses the crowd at the groundbreaking ceremony for “The Shoe,” the new nine-hole par 3 golf course slated to open in 2025 at Colonial Williamsburg Resorts. (Christopher Six/Stars and Stripes)

“What Colonial Williamsburg is doing here today will surely benefit them, but moreover, it will benefit the entire community. The design and compactness of this will be a major attraction to really attract customers to Williamsburg that maybe are not aware of all that we have to offer here,” said Williamsburg Mayor Doug Pons.

“I just want to compliment Colonial Williamsburg. For almost 100 years now, thinking about new product innovation and constantly reinventing themselves in ways that will make their product better make the experience for our customers better,” he added.

Fleet acknowledged the vision, drive and determination of Jim Thomas, a supporter of the project, for his help in bringing it to fruition.

Community leader Jim Thomas addresses the crowd at the groundbreaking ceremony for “The Shoe,” the new nine-hole par 3 golf course slated to open in 2025 at Colonial Williamsburg Resorts. (Christopher Six/Stars and Stripes)

“Oh, happy day for this groundbreaking, we’re all excited to finally have this happen,” said Thomas, who noted the design was inspired by The Hay in Pebble Beach and The Cradle in Pine Hurst. “I’m so pleased and thankful that Cliff was persuadable to change course and forget about residential development and do a par three course which is going to be world class. And Cliff not only has to be persuaded, but he has to persuade the Foundation Board, which he did.”

Thomas said the next challenge is how to develop the remainder of the property on the west side of S. England Street, expressing his interest in seeing the Foundation and William & Mary coming together to build a practice facility for the golf team. Still, for now, the focus is on the golf course and opening next year.

For more information about the course and to sign up for updates and invites, visit colonialwilliamsburghotels.com/golf/theshoe.

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