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Perfect Pitch

As he recovers from knee surgery, Tiger Woods unveils the design for the Cliffs at High Carolina, his first architectural effort in the U.S.

By: Tom Cunneff

Tiger Woods has done everything from impersonating Caddyshack's Carl Spackler to bouncing a ball off a wedge for 30 seconds in order to sell the products with which he is associated.

At the announcement for the routing of his first U.S. layout, the Cliffs at High Carolina near Asheville, N.C., Woods added to his repertoire of sales techniques by going folksy.

“I want to make sure that you guys who become members, who become part of the Cliffs community, that y'all have a great time,” said Woods.

“I said 'y'all.' How am I doing? Long way from SoCal [Southern California].”

Seated under a giant tent on a stage surrounded by potted plants with Cliffs founder Jim Anthony, Woods turned on the charm in front of hundreds of prospective homeowners who potentially would be the first to play the 7,500-yard course.

Woods worked on 28 different routings to get the mix of holes just right while also ensuring that every hole would have a southern exposure so the course could be playable year-round despite the 4,000-foot elevation.

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, High Carolina sits on a meadow and has no steep elevation changes, making it walkable. The design features a good mix of holes like the drivable par-4 14th with its horizon green and the stout 498-yard par-4 finishing hole.

Woods also made sure the routing took advantage of the phenomenal views.

“I grew up in SoCal. We have smog,” joked Woods. “So to see 50 miles is pretty amazing. You have such an amazing variety of shots holes with views.”

Several site visits also helped Woods with his rehabilitation from the knee surgery he underwent days after winning the U.S. Open in June. He and Anthony, a noted outdoorsman, went on long strolls around the property.

“One walk here, Tiger put down 22,000 steps ,” said Anthony. “And to show you his enthusiasm, he just had his operation on his knee, and we've got this big group of boulders out here, and so Tiger's climbing up on these boulders, and jumping from one to the other. I'm thinking the whole time, he's going to fall off, and I see the headlines: 'Tiger re-injures knee on a High Carolina rock pile.'”

Construction will begin in early 2009 with an anticipated opening in the fall of 2010. Woods anticipates a course that will not only be challenging for himself, but will also be friendly enough for members and property owners.

“The golf course will have the feel of an old parkland course with classic bunkers and green complexes accessible to running shots,” said Woods. “I enjoy creating a lot of options for players, allowing them to think their way around the course, and High Carolina will definitely be a reflection of that.”

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