History of Old Chatham
Old Chatham Golf Club was established in 1999 by a group of prominent local leaders seeking to create a centrally located yet secluded sanctuary for pure golf. After locating a 400 acre property marked by rolling hills and pine and oak forest, the Club engaged legendary architect Rees Jones and his firm to design a fair yet challenging course respectful of the land and golf’s traditions. They responded with a beautiful course featuring wide corridors separated by native forest, offering each group of golfers a feeling of privacy amid spaciousness.
Old Chatham was designed to be an enjoyable, yet challenging layout for members of every age and ability level. The existing terrain required minimal land movement apart from elevating some teeing areas. The resulting gently rolling topography allows for exceptional flexibility in length while retaining the strategic interest of the holes. Extensive and deep bunkering, especially greenside, and firm, fast greens provide the championship challenge.
From a design and strategy perspective, Rees Jones achieved at Old Chatham the rare accomplishment of complete visibility from tee to green on nearly every hole. Before hitting the tee shot, the strategic player can see and plan his approach all the way into the cup.
Old Chatham is fortunate to have not only a large property (407 acres) but to use nearly all of it for the eighteen hole course. The 121 acres of maintained turf include 22 acres of fairway, 77 acres of rough and 2 acres of ultradwarf Champion Bermuda greens. The 75 bunkers covering nearly 5 acres are a constant presence. Practice facilities include a 16-acre double sided driving range with eight target greens, a short game area and putting green.
The Club is continually evaluating the course and looking for ways to maintain and improve it as it matures. Since opening in September 2001, there have been several significant renovations. In 2012, the greens were regrassed with ultradwarf Champion Bermuda and several were recontoured. In 2015, greenside bunkers were rebuilt with the “Better Billy Bunker” system.
Old Chatham is a golf club, rather than a country club. The modest yet elegant clubhouse provides a comfortable sanctuary for members but does not serve dinner. There is neither a pool nor tennis courts. A four-bedroom cottage offers out-of town members and their guests total immersion in the Old Chatham experience.
Support for the traditions of the game, especially amateur golf, has been a core Old Chatham value since its founding. The members have lived these values by hosting numerous amateur golf events, including the 2009 North Carolina Amateur, the 2014 North Carolina Mid-Amateur, the 2017 Carolinas Super Senior Four-Ball and 2018 North Carolina Senior Four-Ball as well as several US Amateur, US Mid-Amateur and US Four-Ball qualifiers