On Labor Day weekend over 150 members, staff, family and friends gathered in the early morning fog as a kilted figure emerged over a hill with the sound of bagpipes playing the old tune “Flowers of Scotland.”
A LABOR OF LOVE.
This was quite a surreal backdrop as the dedication began announcing the much-anticipated opening of all 18 holes of golf at Old Toccoa Farm, which happens to be the only golf course in Blue Ridge and all of Fannin County. The initial 9 holes of golf have been a highly regarded gem, since they opened in 2015, but now, those holes combined with the new nine, are already creating quite a buzz.
“In only our second weekend of having 18 holes open, we saw our average number of weekend rounds go from 150 to over 310,” says Kevin Hermetz, one of the Old Toccoa Farm managing partners. “Many of those rounds were comprised of larger groups that came to play from Atlanta, Nashville, Florida, Chattanooga, Dalton and Birmingham.” The host of one of the groups, who lives in Nashville, but has a second home in Blue Ridge, remarked, “I brought 12 guys to play Old Toccoa Farm both Friday
& Saturday and next month I am going to bring 12 more.” “There is not another course in the area that is like it,” he added.
Blue Ridge has always been a popular spot for groups to gather, but now a first-class 18-hole golf course can be part of the draw. “Each weekend it is common to see groups come to Blue Ridge for guys and girls’ weekends, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and most recently, fantasy football draft weekends, but now we are seeing golf at Old Toccoa Farm being part of the experience,” says Hermetz. His business partner, Peter Knutzen, agrees, adding, “for the past 10 years, more and more people have discovered Blue Ridge and the understated lifestyle and activities offered here, and now, Old Toccoa Farm adds yet another reason to visit and live here – a world class 18-hole golf course and a community that offers a true sense of place.”
However, it is important to note, that in addition to the resort and guest play, there are over 230 resident and non-resident members, who have already discovered what Old Toccoa Farm has to offer. For example, once a month on a Sunday afternoon, one of the more popular events is the Nine & Dine golf outing, or as some now call it, the “Nine, Wine & Dine.” It is a very non-competitive 9 holes of golf whereby, two couples play a best ball format, and compete against the other foursomes. It is a great way to get to know each other while playing golf and maybe enjoying a cool beverage. And if you are new to golf, this is entry level golf at its finest. Afterwards, everyone meets at a shady spot down by the river to share dinner and some pleasant conversation.
Speaking of entry level golf, Old Toccoa Farm has been offering a series of ladies’ beginner golf clinics that has been very popular. Led by teaching pro, Bill Tramontozzi, these clinics allow ladies that are new to golf, or trying to get their game back, a group format to learn the basics and meet other ladies at the same skill level. “After just a few clinics, I am already seeing ladies that did not know each other before, become friends and get out and play 9 holes together. Now they are even going home and asking their husbands to join them,” says Bill.
There is both a men’s and women’s golf association, that coordinate tournaments throughout the year, sometimes using a themed format, such as the women’s Daffodils & Dames or the men’s Craft Beer Open to create a fun and different golf experience. In addition, there are the upcoming Member/Member, Member/Guest and Club Championship tournaments.
While there is plenty of excitement about the new golf holes, there are also many more fun activities to do at Old Toccoa Farm. A good number of the members regularly participate in the Sunday morning yoga classes taught by Ashlee Lofton at Yoga over Blue Ridge on a quiet spot near the river. “Practicing yoga outside is a whole different experience than practicing in a studio, especially at a place like Old Toccoa Farm along the river, where the water ripples and the birds chirp, making it the perfect place to relax,” Ashlee recently commented. And yoga is not just for the ladies, many of the participants are men, both veterans and first timers.
With over 4,300 feet of Toccoa River frontage, Old Toccoa Farm is the perfect place to wet a line to try and land that elusive trophy rainbow trout or maybe a native brown, as the number of “honey holes” that run up and down the river seem limitless. Or if you prefer, have one of our kayaking partners pick you up and take you near the Blue Ridge Dam for a peaceful afternoon float the ends right near the Old Toccoa Farm front gate.
The Old Toccoa Farm Trail Association has begun work on a nearly 3.5 mile stretch of walking trails that runs through some of the most beautiful parts of the property, whether the Overlook Trail or the trail through the Valley of the Ferns. A morning walk in the mist, or a shady afternoon stroll to beat the heat always seems to come with some adventure. Turkey, deer, rabbits, red headed woodpeckers, hawks and turtles are just some of the wildlife you will routinely encounter as you take your walk. There are also many beautiful varieties of plant life that will catch your eye. Wild azaleas, dogwoods, mountain laurel, ferns and of course many types of colorful mushrooms, some edible and some not so edible, make the scene. Earlier this summer, there was much excitement when it was discovered that Old Toccoa Farm has a bountiful supply of Chanterelle mushrooms. Several ladies would routinely put on their boots and gloves to forage the beautiful forests along the walking trails to seek out this edible, fragrant variety. The jury is still out as to whether their popularity is because of the taste, or the fact that they can cost as much as $60 dollars a pound!
The magnificent golf course and other activities listed above are a big part of the reason there has been an uptick in real estate sales and new home construction at Old Toccoa Farm. With 10 custom homes completed, 3 new homes now under construction, and 13 additional homes coming out of design review that will be under construction this fall through early spring, it is apparent that the lifestyle and great group of members at Old Toccoa Farm are a big part of the draw.
As the only gated community in Blue Ridge with 24/7 manned security at the entrance to welcome our members and guests, it is truly a new way of living in Blue Ridge. In fact, the three most recent lot sales were to existing members who already owned homes in the Blue Ridge area, but have chosen to sell them and build in Old Toccoa Farm. That is a trend that is likely to continue as people try and simplify their lives, which is something the convenience of Old Toccoa Farm certainly offers.
In addition to custom homes, work is underway to design and build a series a of small cottages that can be owner occupied or owned and rented to the growing number of couples that want an authentic mountain experience without having to stay in a hotel or rent a large home. ACLM
To learn more about the developer of Old Toccoa Farm:
Developer – OTF Holdings, LLC – 404.277.4980
Real Estate Sales – 706.946.4663
Membership Information – 4706.946.4663 Golf Tee Times – 706.946.4653
Visit their website: oldtoccoafarm.com
Photos by: Squareframe Media, squareframemedia.com,
Jerry Mucklow Photography, jerrymucklow.com