Greensboro’s Grandover Resort stands as the culmination of developer Joseph Koury’s lifetime dream: An ideal Triad location midway along the East Coast, equal distance from Raleigh and Charlotte and a short drive to Pinehurst, along with the finest homes, and best golf courses at a sprawling resort hotel and spa, with a first-class conference center.
By: Brad King
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Rising elegantly above the foothills of Piedmont North Carolina, the Grandover Resort cuts a noble and remarkably memorable figure. Approaching the four-star resort hotel and its two world-class golf courses through the 1,500-acre master-planned community that includes an upscale office park and residential communities, visitors gain an immediate appreciation for legendary Greensboro developer Joseph Koury and his lifetime vision.
Koury invested every day and dollar of his 52-year career solely in Greensboro. His company built the city its mall, the convention center that bears his name and the largest hotel in the state — the downtown Sheraton Greensboro Hotel & Koury Convention Center, which is the largest hotel and convention facility between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta under one roof, containing nearly 1,000 guest rooms and 250,000 square feet of meeting space.
To Koury, Grandover would truly represent the grandest of all his projects as well as the culmination of everything he ever worked for: the most ideal location, the finest homes, the best golf courses — and a sprawling resort hotel and first-class conference center, with corporate meeting rooms to suit every need. All of this in a convenient regional destination, with exquisite guest rooms, a full complement of exciting recreational activities and uncompromising service.
Koury built his picturesque development in a perfect locale: the Tar Heel State’s “Corner Office.” Grandover is located dead center in the middle of the state, equal distance from Raleigh and Charlotte and a short drive to Pinehurst. Koury even set Grandover at the midway point of the East Coast from New York to Miami, and the same distance from the mountains to the coast — convenient to Interstates 40 and 85 in the middle of everything with bisecting highways coming in every direction.
Koury always sought quality. The wall coverings and carpet pattern in the restaurant at Grandover were his choices. The public areas of the Grandover evoke the old-world feel of a grand, European style castle. Visitors and guests enter the 247-room hotel through its circular front doors into an elegant lobby with a contrasting floor pattern of Italian travertine, Tasmanian gold limestone and black granite, combined with impressive Spanish marble columns. Chandeliers, lampposts and gilded ironwork further enhance the décor.
Koury conducted countless meetings with his golf course architects, Gary Panks and David Graham, to produce exactly what he envisioned — a true test of variety and diversity. “Let’s not tear the land apart,” Koury told the designers. “God created this land, let’s keep the integrity of the land as it is.”
Built amidst oaks, pine and dogwood covered hills, regularly providing stunning panoramas often with deer or fox in this golfer’s paradise, Grandover’s sterling duo of golf layouts serve up a seasonal blaze of color. Ideal complements for one another and thereby offering an extensive variety of golfing challenge, Grandover’s East and West Courses never fail to remind golfers that they are in the Carolinas, one of America’s favorite heartlands of the game.
The East Course, which opened in March 1996, features tree-lined fairways and offers the feeling of a nature preserve. Many of the East Course greens complexes were designed to provide a stadium effect. In 2011, the East Course added six new tee areas to stretch the total yardage to 7,250 from the championship tees.
The West Course opened one year after the East and was formed naturally by the North Carolina Piedmont region’s naturally rolling terrain and elevation changes. A links style layout flows away from the resort for opening nine holes and returns for the inward half, the West Course measures 6,800 yards from the championship tees.
The East Course concludes with one of most jaw-dropping holes in North Carolina, a par-5 that opens up over the final 250 yards with a view of the grand hotel to the right and water on the left side for a perfect risk-reward golf offering. The lake was there originally, but Koury suggested making a trio of lakes with waterfalls to provide additional character, providing a visually stunning setting to finish the day.
Not surprising considering its top-shelf amenities, Grandover has played host to numerous corporate and charity golf events over the years, as well as competitive events such as the 2012 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Golf Regional Championship, the 2012 Nationwide Tour Open Qualifier, and the 2011, 2014 and 2015 NCAA Division III Men’s Golf National Championships, and a 2015 Web.com Tour qualifier. In May, Methodist won its 11th NCAA Division III national title at the Grandover Resort, as it edged LaGrange by three strokes. The tournament will return to Grandover in 2018.
Grandover’s connection with Greensboro’s collegiate golf teams is strong: Guilford College has played in the national championship 20 times, winning in 2002 and 2005, while Greensboro College captured the D-III National Championship at Grandover in 2011. In 2013, Grandover Resort became the home course for UNC-G men’s golf and the new home to the UNC-G Bridgestone Golf Collegiate.
Grandover’s visionary, Joe Koury, died in March 1998, but Koury was able to enjoy the opening of the East and West Courses. Today, surely he would be proud of the finished product. A key setting along famed “Tobacco Road,” Grandover is home to the headquarters of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), along with the North Carolina Association of Realtors, a 75,000 square-foot finance division operation of Global Brands Group, and Technology Concepts and Design, Inc.
As Koury envisioned it, Grandover has always remained a truly grand resort.