In the Shadow of Cold Mountain
In early 1968 Fred Tingle, an executive with the Butterick Corporation in Manhattan, purchased 550 acres in Western North Carolina with dreams of building a nine hole golf course and retiring among the mountains nature had provided and the fairways he would create. The land was the former site of the Springdale Farm and had, in the early 60’s, been a girls camp connected with Columbia University. The camp kids spent their summers harvesting vegetables, milking cows, collecting eggs and hiking the trails of the Blue Ridge Mountains and tubing the cool waters of the Pigeon River. Fred’s daughters had attended the camp and when he heard the land was for sale he caught a vision. But he caught it too late, someone else had snatched up the land with plans of their own. But plans and dreams of any size rarely go smoothly and in no time the land was back up for sale, this time in receivership. Fred didn’t dally again and with some savings and a dream he bought the land at auction, on the courthouse steps in Waynesville, North Carolina.
After building nine holes Fred and his wife Eunice felt it was only half complete. In 1972 a second nine was opened featuring a wicked par four that would become a steady inducer of nervous breakdowns. After the second nine was complete, according to Fred, he and Eunice stood around and waited for customers to show up, none did. Cruso North Carolina was not exactly brimming with golfers so it was clear golfers were going to have to be enticed from up and down the east coast. A few cabins were built and a tiny sixteenth of a page ad was placed in Golf Digest with the heading “GOLF IN THE MOUNTAINS”. The response was slow but steady and soon Fred and Eunice realized they were going to have to feed these guests. A small restaurant was constructed and instead of hiring chefs and maitre d’s the Tingle’s reached out to the local moms and grandmas to prepare gravy and biscuits in the morning and hearty meals like chicken pot pie and mountain trout in the evenings. People slowly came. They drove down from Canada and the Great Lakes in the spring and fall and up from Florida and the heat of the south in the summer. They golfed, they ate, then they golfed and ate some more. They told their friends and they came too. Before long a nine hole dream was a full fledged golf resort.
Over the years Fred could be seen in his trademark blue blazer and driving cap checking the course or sipping a beer at the bar while Eunice was out in the flower beds planting impatiens, begonias, pansies and petunias. The extended Springdale family, people like Claud, Rose, Mike, Vicky – welcomed guests and provided a special mix of Southern Hospitality and quality service. When not changing golf cart tires Claud would be in garden, tending the vegetables that would be served that evening or trimming the 5 acres of Christmas trees planted for staff and guests. Rose would be at the front desk welcoming golfers from all over the country, often with a “Welcome Back” or sometimes a “Hush Up” if they were particularly excited.
Time may not stand still but it does pass slower in some places. Fred passed away in 2005 but Eunice Tingle still owns and operates the resort with the same love and commitment to guests she has displayed for over 40 years. Claud is still in the garden and Rose is still behind the counter. Mike’s still checking the greens and Vicky’s still doing the numbers. Golfers are still golfing and eating and golfing and eating some more. And the Spasm is still causing nervous breakdowns and swearing fits. Join us this season up in the mountains of western North Carolina and discover this special land that began as a dream and became a labor of love.
Rooted in History
The Springdale farm supplied milk, eggs and vegetables to the school and camp.