Hyland Hills

A new beginning and a few familiar faces at Hyland Golf Club, from left, Shann Bedford with  his daughter Hailey; Preston Reeves with his children Olivia and David; and Doug Thompson, Ricky Reeves and Ben Monroe. Ted Fitzgerald/The Pilot

Long known as an “everyman’s course,” Hyland Golf Club in Southern Pines has a new ownership team in place just as spring play begins hitting its sweet spot.

Business partners include Ricky Reeves and his son, Preston Reeves, and Shann Bedord, the latter two of which live here in Moore County. Tammy Lyne and Meridith McDonald of Keller Williams Realty in Southern Pines brokered the deal. According to the Moore County Register of Deeds, AKR Properties, LLC, paid $1.975 million in early March to the Burnette family.

“It has always been my dream to buy this golf course,” said Preston Reeves.

Formerly known as Hyland Hills, the Tom Jackson-designed course’s prominent location on U.S. 1 is often the first sign of Moore County’s famous golfing heritage for southbound tourists. At the peak of its popularity, there were 43,875 rounds played at Hyland Golf Club in one year.

But by the late 2000s, when the economic recession was at its worst, Hyland closed briefly before Bill Burnette stepped in. A businessman with a passion for the sport, he poured much needed investment into the course. Following his unexpected death last fall, his three adult daughters had to make a difficult choice: sell the course or keep it.

“The course was not listed on the real estate market. We inquired about it when their dad owned it and he was not interested in selling,” Preston Reeves said.

When he approached the sisters last February, they asked Reeves to give them a call again in the fall.

“They wanted to get their feet on the ground. They were smart about it and they kept Doug Thompson and Ben Monroe (Hyland’s key staff),” he added. “When we called back, we went back and forth about how to do it and agreed on a price.”

The deal closed on March 5.

“It’s all about the kids in the next generation. This is a family business,” said Ricky Reeves. “It has always been a good golf course. What we hope to do is not reinvent the wheel, but take it from a good golf course to a great golf course.”

Suitable for All

Hyland has long carried the distinction of being an everyman’s course because it is suitable for all handicaps and levels of golfer.

New business partners Preston Reeves and Shann Bedford, both veterans, met while working on a military contract in Alabama.

Bedford moved to Moore County in 2011 and recruited Reeves to join him in 2012. Both continue to work full-time outside the course’s operations.

General manager Doug Thompson is a bit of institution around Hyland. He first began working there in 1985 and has seen the facility go through economic highs and lows. He is joined by Ben Monroe, who he describes as the best golf superintendent in the business.

“The reason that has been an obtainable goal is because of Doug and Ben. Without them we could not do this,” Reeves said. “Together with my dad and Shann, we know the course is in good hands. We don’t have to be here to ensure everything is done right because Doug and Ben have been doing it right long before we got here.”

Recent work on the course includes improvement on the greens; removing trees that were throwing shade in difficult-to-contend-with areas; enhancing the cart paths and mowing patterns on the fairways; and buying new golf carts.

“We looked at steps that we could take to make the course more player-friendly and to speed up the pace of play,” Thompson said. “The new cart paths are more accommodating and the net result is you can play faster and don’t walk as much. It’s been a real harmonious move.”

Looking ahead, he anticipates being aggressive in an approach to improving course conditions.

“Our to-do list is never ending. There is something happening every day. We don’t want to take leaps, it is forward steps. What is good is everyone is yanking on the rope in the same direction,” he added.

Bedford said a great golf course means having the total package, from top conditions on the course to the partners plans to improve the clubhouse.

“Golf is about the entire experience. It is the scenery, more than the tee box to the greens, it is the views and the people that are playing along you,” he said. “We want people to come enjoy their time on the course and then relax in the clubhouse knowing that if anything changes here, it will only be for the better.”

Ricky Reeves agreed.

“We have a good thing here, and Hyland has a chance to be great,” he said. “The Good Lord willing, over the next 24 months we will once again be known as the best buy in this golf mecca for the dollar you can play. We are more than excited to get started.”

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