Tuesday, March 8, 2016

George Golf Design Assembles Team to Master Plan New Virginia Waterfront Resort

(RELEASE) - Lester George, ASGCA Board Member and President of George Golf Design, has been engaged by the Diatomite Corporation of America to coordinate the campus master plan of the new Fones Cliffs Resort property, a 1,000-acre tract of land in Richmond County, Virginia. The site boasts beautiful breathtaking cliffs rising more than 120 feet above the Rappahannock River. The property is part of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, the nation’s first national watertrail. In August of 1608, Smith and his crew skirmished with the Rappahannock Indians who flung arrows at Smith and his crew from atop the cliffs. This development will memorialize this encounter and more than 400 years of Virginia history with a series of stone monuments and historical markers throughout the project.

Prior to the Revolution, Englishmen referred to the Northern Neck as the "Athens of the New World" because of its collection of wealthy  landowners dedicated to learning, gentlemanly society, and civic duty. Among the men born into this nearby culture were Presidents George Washington, James Monroe, and James Madison, as well as Declaration signors Francis Lightfoot Lee and Richard Henry Lee. Despite their privileged perch as Englishmen overlooking colonial affairs, these men considered themselves Virginians first and risked their fortunes for the cause of liberty by raising arms against the British Crown. Robert E. Lee, commander of the Army of Northern Virginia during the War Between the States, was born at nearby Stratford Hall. During the War of 1812, the Virginia militia stopped the Royal Navy from advancing up the Rappahannock from Fones Cliffs.

“This resort will celebrate the history and culture of the Northern Neck of Virginia,” said Robert Coleman Smith, Richmond attorney and Fones Cliffs project coordinator for Diatomite Corporation of America. Smith grew up minutes from the site and has deep family roots embedded in the Northern Neck. “This site is one of the most unique landforms in Virginia, and the campus will be designed to advance a living history narrative and will include an education center that will attract national scholars and speakers to Fones Cliffs. A world-class golf resort will be an integral component of this experience.”

In November, 2015, the Richmond County Board of Supervisors approved the zoning of a resort development that will include a 116-room lodge, 200 single-family residential lots, 500 medium-density residential units, equestrian facilities, shooting sports, mixed-use commercial and retail space, and a championship golf course. The very remote and serene setting is only 75 miles south of Washington, 60 miles east of Richmond, and 95 miles north of Hampton Roads. George is coordinating the efforts of a highly-specified group of consultants to assist the owner with the campus plan.

“Lester George has a proven, award-winning record of creating challenging, playable, beautiful, and environmentally sustainable destination golf courses,” said Smith. “You only have to look at Kinloch Golf Club and Ballyhack Golf Club here in his native state to see his broad, creative design palate.”

“Having worked extensively in the environmentally-sensitive Chesapeake Bay Watershed for the past 25 years, we understand the requirements of projects like this,” said George. “Fones Cliffs is one of the most fascinating and beautiful sites I have ever seen, and I speak for the team when I say we will approach this property with a very soft hand. We will design the golf course with a goal of minimal land disturbance, earth moving, and impacts to the natural habitat in an effort to produce an environmentally sustainable resort.”

The team of consultants George has assembled includes Craig Balzer of Balzer & Associates, who will offer conceptual design for the building structures, including the clubhouse, lodge, and cottages; Jeff Staub of SilverCore, who will provide land planning for the entire campus; Mike Jenkins of Landscapes Golf Group to create business and commercial financial modeling, club development consulting, and marketing for the golf course, lodge, residential, and other facilities; and Jeff Howeth of J.L. Howeth Engineering who has been working with Diatomite Corporation of America and the property’s neighbors to provide engineering and environmental services for the development.

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