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September 2013 A Monthly Publication for Balsam Mountain Preserve Members

Observations Following Our Visit With Thad Layton of Palmer Design Group


n August we were visited by Thad Layton from the Palmer Design Group. The purpose of the meeting was to assess all the various aspects of the golf course and to receive feedback on what's going right and what needs improvement with the course now that it’s in its sixth season of play. While Thad didn’t work on the course during construction, he is very familiar with the design and overall was very complimentary on the course and its condition. According to Thad, “while most golf courses cover 200+ acres, they are judged primarily on the 7 acres that comprise their greens and bunkers. With that in mind, Brooks and his staff are doing a great job focusing their resources where they count. Overall I found the course to be in good condition...a 7 on a scale of 1-10”. We questioned Thad on how we go from a “7” to an “8” (and beyond). His thoughts: 1. Fairway Cultivation “The fairways had a great deal of thatch and didn’t drain very well. he recent rain events were most likely responsible for this but not the sole reason. Fairways need to be heavily cored and aerified to start improving drainage characteristics”. 2. Greens Cultivation “During my visit I found the greens to be weed free and have a high degree of uniformity. While not as fast as they could be, the greens had adequate speed in light of recent rain events”. Thad noted the current quality of the greens is one of the highlights of the course. Thad also suggested we continue to focus on punching and top dressing greens on a consistent schedule. 3. Roughs “The roughs looked good for the most part except for a few areas where the bent grass has migrated, creating a splotchy look”.

4. Bunkers Thad noted that “in general there is an overabundance of sand on the course. A number of bunkers could be reduced in size or completely eliminated to improve the golf experience while simultaneously reducing maintenance costs”. From the maintenance perspective, he commented that “aside from reducing the quantity of sand and softening some of the steep slopes, the bunker liners have exceeded their recommended life span”. 5. Allow The Growth Of More Natural Areas “In select out of play areas there are opportunities to naturalize the golf course by propagating tall fescues and other native plant materials. This would help “blend” the golf course into its surroundings a bit more by hiding the edges of the course”. We will take Thad’s comments and observations and begin to develop some short and long range action plans for the course. by Bruce Fine, General Manager

WELCOME NEW OWNERS Please join us in welcoming;

Dr. Michael and Dominique Toedt - Lot 89 - Whittier, NC Jeffrey and Jennifer Thomas - Lot 179 - United Kingdom Ed and Lisa Jorgenson - Lot 161 - Colleyville, Texas These three families bring our total dues paying membership to 131. When you consider that less than two years ago the membership roster numbered in the 90s, this is a truly extraordinary accomplishment. Balsam is growing and moving forward, that is undeniable! The Toedts were referred to Balsam by Brad Letts, which represents the 6th owner referral sale so far this year. Many thanks to Brad, Buddy and Cathy Wikle, Hance and Cathy Myers, and Andrew and Karen Manidis for your continued confidence in Balsam. If our owners become part of the solution, we will all benefit in tremendous ways! Discover more ways to enjoy your Membership. Explore the Balsam Mountain Member Website for an online directory, calendar of events and more.

SAVE THE DATE Karaoke Night Friday, September 20th Balsam Members can show off their singing skills at our first-ever Karaoke Night following Friday night’s theme buffet.

Details to follow.


ongratulations to Bill Minus for writing two resale lot contracts in August, each for over $300,000. Both of these resale lots were listings held by our in-house brokerage, and that now brings the number of lots valued at $300,000 or higher sold by our brokerage in the past year to four (two developer and two resale). As foreclosure inventory continues to decline, our in-house brokerage is committed to leading the way in helping to restore values on the mountain.

Let’s Talk Trust


s most of you know, this year we celebrated the 12th Anniversary of the Balsam Mountain Trust. Our Trust naturalists, Michael Skinner and Blair Ogburn, are two big reasons why Balsam Mountain Preserve stands alone as the premier conservation based community in the Southeast. As you can see from these photos, our Trust staff works hard to go beyond the traditional definition of conservation— they place emphasis on engaging people of all ages with nature, ensure that the conservation easement we have preserved today will continue to be protected by future generations, and have created a staggering collection of year round multi-generational programming for our members. Their commitment to their mission is extraordinary, and Balsam would certainly not be what it is today without their passion and dedication to preserving and enhancing this very special place. Happy Anniversary, Balsam Mountain Trust!

Adventure camp, Conner Colton ziplining and bridge walking in Highlands

Animal Campers this summer at Santa Land

Fun at Animal Camp!

The Zimlich offspring/posse!

Adventure Campers getting ready to zipline in Highlands, NC, Grace, Laney and Mary Margaret. Live auction moment!

BMP landowner David Dickson prepares for his Wild Mushroom Trust Talk. Thirteen folks turned out to learn about how David and Melody survived eating (expertly identified) wild fungi!

Dave Walters, Trust auctioneer, with Rob Howard and Janie Stratigos

Blair sits at the Skull ID game table, Members guess animal ID based on the skull and win prizes. Winners were Cynthia Gallinger, the Danna Nichols family, and Peter Manidis.

don’t miss These incredible hike experiences this month with the TRUST.

Saturday, September 7th, 9:00am—2:00pm BOOTS AND BEER HIKE Join Michael for a hike to Deep Creek. Afterwards you’ll stop in Bryson City to sample some of the local micro-brew and enjoy lunch at the Filling Station in Bryson City. Michael is the designated driver. Meet at the Nature Center. Saturday, September 14th, 10:00am—1:00pm BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY HIKE Take an offsite excursion with a Trust naturalist to enjoy the sights of nature along a Blue Ridge Parkway Nature Trail. Saturday, September 21st, 9:00am—3:00pm GORGES STATE PARK HIKE Join Michael for the always popular hike to some of the most beautiful water falls in the region. Bring the usual stuff for hiking and, bring swimming attire. If you’ve not been on this hike you’ll not be disappointed. Meet at the Nature Center. Saturday, September 28th, 9:00am—4:00pm GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS HIKE take a long guided nature hike with a Trust Naturalist in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Michaux’s Mix-Up, A Superb Example of Life on the Preserve


f you haven’t figured it out, the title of this column is a play on words. Namely, that the very common Turk’s cap lily (Lilium superbum) – one of the showiest, and, because of its very colorful and statuesque nature, one of the easiest to find and identify wildflowers on the Preserve – has a smaller cousin in the Michaux’s lily (Lilium michauxii). This plant is very rare on the Preserve and is hard to find in general around western North Carolina unless you know where to look. Michaux’s lilies have fewer blooms per plant than the Turk’s cap and have rounder, more ovate leaves which differ from the Turk’s cap which have more lance-like leaves. But the easiest way to tell them apart is by looking into the base of the bloom by turning it slightly up. Be careful not to break the bloom while doing this. Look where the petals and the ‘stems’ of the stigma and stamens meet, at the base of the whole bloom, look for a green 5-pointed star shape. If present the plant is a Turk’s cap; if not present, it is a Michaux’s. Consider yourself lucky as finding these is often just a matter of luck and then, observation to determine if you indeed have the rarer of the two lilies. Either way, they are both stunning examples of the diversity of life you have on the Preserve. Happy flower hunting! Oh, and when you find a Michaux’s lily, send us a picture. by Michael Skinner, Trust Executive Director

While the Turk’s-cap lily is very common on the Preserve in the summer, the equally showy Michaux’s lily is rare and is often mistaken for the Turk’s –cap. The easiest way to tell them apart is turn the flower up to see inside to the base of the petals. Here, if the flower has a green star-shape at the very base of the petals it is a Turk’s cap lily. Photo by M. Skinner

Balsam Mountain Preserve Presents

The 7th Annual

Member Guest Tournament Register Today!

Thursday, October 10th—Saturday, October 12th

Tournament Format (5) nine-hole matches

Schedule of Events Thursday Practice Round and Opening Reception at the Boarding House Friday 8:30am Shotgun, (3) nine-hole matches Saturday 8:30am Shotgun, (2) nine-hole matches and Shoot-Out. Dinner and Award Presentation at the Boarding House.

Tournament fee is $800 per team. Sign-up by calling the Golf Professional Shop at 828.631.1009.

Tournament Results 1-Day Member-Member/Guest Results

Peter Futrell, Dave Sparks, Skip Hauser, Rod Hanlon, Dan Connell, and Michael Fulbright on the 8th green.

1st Place Steve Neubeiser & Bill Shoupe 2nd Place Rod Hanlon & Skip Hauser

Member-Member Guest Champions Steve Neubeiser and Bill Shoupe.

Jim Kistler, Sam Belfore, Mike Summerford, and David Kitchens on the 16th Fairway.

Men’s Club Championship Results Club Champion Mills Ariail

Club Champion Mills Ariail with his adorable two boys!

Senior Gross Champion Steve Gambill Net Champion Skip Hauser Super Senior Net Champion Jim Kistler An injured Mike Frey serves as a forecaddie (you should see the other guy)

Dave Sparks hits his approach on Hole #6.

3-Time defending Club Champion Michael Fulbright hits his approach to the Par 5 12th Hole.

Sam Belfore holes out for eagle on #12!

Conner Colton is all smiles as he prepares to take off on a zipline!

Conner Colton, Age 10 Submitted by Blair Ogburn Boca Raton, FL

send us your photos! This photo was so good, we couldn’t resist giving it its own page! If you’ve captured a great moment send it to us at

Recipe of the Month

guacamole 1 tablespoon butter 1 cup corn 2 large avocados, diced 1/4 cup cotija (or feta) 2 tablespoons lime juice 1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced 1/4 cup onion, finely diced 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the corn, toss and let it sit cooking until charred, about 6-10 minutes, mix it up and let it char again, about 6-10 minutes, and remove from heat. Meanwhile, prepare the remaining ingredients. Mix everything and enjoy!

Add 1/4 cup diced tomatoes and two strips of cooked and crumbled bacon for even more flavor!

From the heartland

Friday, October 18th

Singer, Songwriter, Troubadour


alsam Mountain is proud to bring you a dinner show with Dana Cooper at the Boarding House on October 18th. A true poet of song, Cooper engages and inspires audiences around the world with his quick wit, insightful stories and commanding presence. He has performed on Austin City Limits, Mountain Stage and the Kerrville Folk Festival and his songs have been recorded by top-notch artists such as bluegrass star Claire Lynch; Irish vocalist Maura O’Connell; and luminary songwriters Pierce Pettis and Susan Werner. Cooper has become an integral figure in the Music City songwriting community collaborating with renowned writers such as Tom Kimmel, Sally Barris, Kim Carnes and Don Henry and has been invited to participate in songwriting workshops from Belfast to Copenhagen to Austin. His prolific endeavors have resulted in 20 albums, many of them critically acclaimed. His mixture of flat-picking, finger-picking and percussive strumming style is legend among other guitarists. Dana Cooper continues to tour the United States and Europe gaining new fans wherever he goes.

Space is Limited!

RSVP to Member Services at 828.631.1000.

He’s clever, deep, crafty, poetic, melodic, ironic, and hilarious— in short, the best.

Club Hours of Operation Pro Shop: Open 7:30am to 6:00pm, closed Tuesdays. Tee times begin at 8:00am. Practice Park: Open 7:30am to 6:30pm, closed Tuesdays. Trail Rides: By Reservation Only. Pavilion: Open 24 hours. Fitness Center: Open 24 hours. Pool: Open 24 hours. Tennis Courts: Open 24 hours. Turnhouse: Open 11:00am to 3:00pm, closed Tuesdays. The Boarding House Restaurant: Light Continental Breakfast: Mon – Thurs, 8am – 10am Breakfast: Fri – Sun, 8am – 10am Brunch: Sunday 11:30am—2:00pm Lunch: Wed – Mon, 11:30am – 2pm Dinner: Wed – Sun, 6:30pm – 8:30pm *Reservations Requested

Club Staff and Contact Information Administration: 828.631.1040 Bruce Fine: General Manager Tina Jones: Business Manager Member Services: 828.631.1000 Amy Coggins: Manager Balsam Care (Maintenance & Cabins): 828.631.1000 Pro Shop: 828.631.1009 Drew Marshall: Head Golf Pro Activities: 828.631.1063 Stables: 828.631.1066 Natalie Altendorf: Stable Manager Security / Main Gate: 828.631.1011 Main Gate Emergency: 828.508.0116 Sales: 828.631.1001 Joe Dellinger: Bill Minus: Jamie Aquino:

Sales Executive Sales Executive Marketing Manager RIDGE Lines Editor

Nature Center / Balsam Mountain Trust: 828.631.1060 Michael Skinner: Executive Director Blair Ogburn: Sr. Naturalist Dawn Williams Tox: Administrator

The Reserve at Lake Keowee The Nature Center: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily

Contact Balsam Member Services at 828.631.1000 for all Activities and Reservations.

Grand Harbor Golf & Yacht Club Contact Balsam Member Services at 828.631.1000 for all Activities and Reservations.

Balsam Mountain Preserve | 81 Preserve Road | Sylva, NC 28779 866.452.3456

RIDGELines | September 2013  

A monthly newsletter on the events and happenings at Balsam Mountain Preserve.

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