Lake Junaluska Golf Course to Host 100th Anniversary Kickoff Tournament

Two people putting on a green at Lake Junaluska.
Lake Junaluska

Lake Junaluska Golf Course will host a 100th Anniversary Kickoff Golf Tournament on Wednesday, April 24. The event will be the first in a series to celebrate the course’s centennial.

“We invite everyone who is a fan of the golf course or of Lake Junaluska to join us for this tournament to kickoff our year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Lake Junaluska Golf Course,” said Fred Edwards, director of golf operations. “The golf course has a rich history, and we hope this and upcoming events will bring back memories and feel like a family reunion by bringing people together who care about this place.”

The tournament begins at 1:00 pm with a shotgun start and will be a four-person, step-aside scramble format. The format has each member of a team hit a ball from the same place, with the team choosing the “best ball” of their shots to play from next. The player whose ball was selected “steps aside” and does not play the next shot.

The $35 per player registration fee for the tournament includes green fee, cart fee, one mulligan and a prize payout. In addition, Wilson Staff will host a Demo Day at the tournament, and each participant will receive three Wilson Staff balls in a tin case.

Edwards said historic photos and details about the golf course will be gathered throughout the year and shared as available at centennial events.

A golf course was part of the plans for Lake Junaluska as early as 1913, and the course opened at the west end of the lake in 1919. It quickly “became a very popular recreational feature of the Assembly,” wrote Bill Lowry, Lake Junaluska historian in “The Antechamber of Heaven: A History of Lake Junaluska Assembly.”

At that time, trains brought many of the lake’s summer guests to the area, and a boat often transported them across the lake to play golf, said Lowry. Initially the course was nine holes and used an old farmhouse for a clubhouse. The area was grazed by sheep and cattle until 1939 when bent grass was planted and grazing prohibited, said Lowry citing information from a 1996 report from Glenn Martin, a former associate executive director of Lake Junaluska.

Golf courses including the Augusta National Golf Club historically tried using sheep or cattle to keep the grass trim during periods of time such as World War II, said Edwards.

In the 1990s, the Lake Junaluska Golf Course expanded to 18 holes. Silt dredged from the lake was used to build tees and greens, said Lowry.

Updates to the golf course will continue into the future, said Edwards, who is particularly excited about how new maintenance programs have enhanced the quality of the course already.

Upcoming 100th anniversary events include the kickoff tournament on April 24; a Centennial Women’s Day on Wednesday, May 8; a celebration on the actual birthday of the golf course on Wednesday, July 24; and Centennial Wrap-up Golf Tournament on Saturday, Oct. 5.

Other upcoming golf events planned include a Memorial Day Golf Tournament on Monday, May 27; an Individual Par 3 tournament on Saturday, June 29; an Independence Day Closest-to-the-Pin Contest on Thursday, July 4; and Labor Day Golf Tournament on Monday, Sept. 2. For more information, visit www.lakejunaluska.com/golf.

Members of the community are asked to send memories or photos from the Lake Junaluska Golf Course in honor of the 100th anniversary to [email protected].

To register for the 100th Anniversary Kickoff Golf Tournament or learn more about upcoming events, call 828-456-5777 or email [email protected].