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But the assistant professional at Foxfire Resort is more excited about what he's seeing happen at this 36-hole complex than anything else he's witnessed during his career.
"There are a lot of positive things happening here," Riggsbee said. "The turnaround since Avestra has taken over is amazing."
Avestra is the golf management company that is now operating both Foxfire Resort and the Country Club of Whispering Pines. According to Avestra senior vice president Howard Cannon, that turnaround is going to change the perception and the reality at both properties.
But on this day, Cannon, like Riggsbee, was talking about Foxfire, the two-course complex in western Moore County that has always had great potential but has often found itself in trouble financially.
Those troubles have never stemmed from the golf courses, as the Gene Hamm-designed layouts are highly regarded. The problems have come from the development aspect, where previous owners have either made serious mistakes or were interested only in siphoning off profits for other ventures.
Those days are done, according to Cannon.
"Avestra owns both Foxfire and Whispering Pines," Cannon said. "This operation is doing very well right now and Whispering Pines is coming around."
A quick survey of the two Foxfire courses finds them in tremendous condition.
"That's the work of our superintendent, Brook Vickery," Cannon said. "He's got a masterpiece here."
Avestra bought Foxfire a little more than three years ago and purchased Whispering Pines from the members a year and a half ago. Multiple changes have been made at both properties, both in personnel and operation.
"We manage what we own," Cannon said. "When people come by and see the things we're doing, they're impressed. We've picked up about 100 members at Foxfire in the past year.
"Foxfire is a golf club, not a country club. And when you pull in the parking lot here, there's going to be someone to help you from the time you park your car."
Although emphasizing that it's not a country club, Cannon doesn't want to give the impression that the approximately 240 members are being neglected.
"We try to keep our members happy and busy," he said. "We have cookouts on Wednesdays with wine after nine, and we feature socials twice a month. We like for people to mingle. We have a nine-hole golf outing every week at 5:30, and everybody is welcome. Even non-members can play for $20."
"We realize that there are a lot of people in Moore County who can't afford to be members at a place like Pinewild, but would like to have their own course. We want them to come out and see what we have."
Cannon is a 60-year-old native of Rockingham who began his career in golf in 1967 at Richmond Pines Country Club. He has worked at several other golf facilities, including a recent stint at Sea Trail in Sunset Beach.
"We like people and we like golf," he said, "and we're making great strides here. Foxfire is kind of a hidden gem because it hasn't reached its potential, but there's no doubt in my mind that this can be the next great resort in Moore County."
There are no plans to make Foxfire a private facility and outside play, especially package golf, is being actively pursued.
"Our rounds were up by 10,000 last year," Cannon said, "and we're gong to be breaking ground on several condominiums in the next couple of months. We're building 57 units on the lake and behind the tee on the second hole of the Grey Course. We've got a lot of land, and our plan is eventually to build 250 condos.
"Nobody -- unless you're a Forest Creek -- can survive now without guest play. We had 55,000 rounds last year and ninety percent of our rounds are from out of state. As of the middle of July, we've had 30,000 rounds this year. My projection for 2006 is 60,000 rounds for both courses.
"We think that's a good number for two courses. With one course, you can play 44,000 rounds a year, but when are you going to be able to work on it?"
There is still some sentiment from "old-timers" in the area who recall the original Foxfire course before an additional 18 holes were built and intermingled with the original layout to create the two existing courses. Cannon, who is familiar with the property from the days before it was developed, understands the nostalgia and plans to take advantage of it.
""We're going to shut down 18 holes for a week and just play the original layout," he said. "We're calling it the "Old Course," and it's going to be a great experience."
But this doesn't mean he doesn't like the courses as they play now.
"We have two beautiful courses here," he said, "and bringing them back to a state of excellence hasn't been hard. It's just that a lot of people remember when this was a grape vineyard and peach orchard. Woody Davis used to hunt here and he loved it so much he bought it."
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