Our Head Golf Pro and PGA Professional Mark Ernst now has an exciting debut season with Bright’s Creek under his belt. We welcomed him to our mountain oasis last spring and what a joy it’s been having his exceptional leadership, clear vision, and 30+ years of golf expertise helping us to forge a bright future.
We recently had the chance to chat with Mark about our Tom Fazio-designed golf course, what’s in store for members this year, and even some pro secrets you definitely won’t want to miss.
Mark, you just wrapped up your first season at Bright’s Creek. What surprised you and what did you learn?
Yes and what an exceptional experience it’s been so far! I had the pleasure of meeting with our members throughout the season and I’m just so impressed. It’s truly inspiring to hear the passion in people’s voices when they talk about not only their love of golf, but also life here at Bright’s Creek. There’s a camaraderie and connection that’s palpable here. We’re lucky to get to enjoy such a beautiful property every day! Best of all, our new amenities at The Mill really enhance the overall experience and lifestyle here at Bright’s—and pair perfectly with golf, of course.
Tell us a little bit about what you have planned for the 2024 season. What can members and prospects get excited about?
Well, we’ve got a really exciting year ahead. Our team is currently finalizing plans for our Bright’s Creek signature events, which will be a big draw for our members and their guests. We’re also thinking a lot about how we can enhance the playability of the Bright’s Creek golf course while continuing to maintain the integrity of its original design. Our course was designed by the legendary golf course architect Mr. Tom Fazio and we actually just met with his son and Director of Business Development, Austin, to discuss some upcoming projects and exciting enhancements to our course while maintaining Mr. Fazio’s original vision.
In fact, we learned something really interesting! Our tree canopy grows about one foot per year, which creates a tighter playing window in some areas of the course. Finding ways to enhance the unique beauty of our course while trimming back some of the trees will get us back to the original design and intent of the course.
What are some behind-the-scenes fun facts about the Bright’s Creek golf course that most people wouldn’t know about?
We had a fantastic 2023 and experienced some really positive momentum! We saw an incredible 50% participation increase in our signature Member-Guest, The Creek Cup. Rounds of play were also up almost 20% last year.
We’re seeing some exciting interest in our golf program, not to mention more than fifteen homes under construction in our community this coming year! I can’t wait to be in the middle of it all and work with our leadership team and community members to create our best year yet.
What do you think makes the Bright’s Creek course so special?
I believe that Tom Fazio himself has even called this course one of his favorites in North Carolina so that alone is pretty spectacular. But I would say that the putting green complexes really fit the shot you’re going to play. You can see the unique contours of the green, which informs how to play each hole. Some holes even have multiple greens within a green, while longer holes are a little less contoured. We’re lucky to be able to enjoy such an interesting and thoughtfully designed course. It’s challenging yet welcoming for all player levels. Of course, our surrounding views of the Western North Carolina mountains are truly breathtaking and make a round just that much more special.
Tell us about what you think would draw new members to join the Bright’s Creek community.
There’s something for everyone here at Bright’s. It’s not just about golf, although our course and program are truly spectacular. Our new Lifestyle center The Mill recently opened, which features a state-of-the-art fitness center, a heated swimming pool, a two-lane bowling alley, and so much more. Plus, our on-site Equestrian Center is unmatched and celebrates the area’s rich equestrian culture. Not to mention our vast network of hiking trails, plus incredible views everywhere you turn. What’s not to love about life at Bright’s Creek?
Can you leave us with any pro insider tips or secrets for playing the Bright’s Creek golf course?
I would say, no matter what your eyes are telling you, always take one more club than you think on an uphill! Some holes don’t look as sloped as they actually are and I’m here to tell you it’s definitely uphill. That would be my insider advice for enjoying a great round with us!
Are you ready to experience your best life yet at Bright’s Creek? Come play a round of golf, explore our exceptional amenities, and see what awaits in our charming Mill Spring mountain community.
Contact our real estate team directly at (828) 600-5132 to start your journey today.