Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus And Other Golf Legends Gather For Groundbreaking Of Oakhurst In West Virginia

Palmer, Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Lee Trevino all stood on hallowed ground as they divulged information about their designing of a new golf course at the Greenbrier Resort.

Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus And Other Golf Legends Gather For Groundbreaking Of Oakhurst In West Virginia
Ben Anderson/VAVEL USA

The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia has been the home of many prestigious sporting events and attractions as of late, such as the Greenbrier Classic PGA Tournament, Greenbrier Champions Tennis Classic, the training grounds for the New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals, and preseason home of the New Orleans Pelicans. Owner Jim Justice, a candidate for governor of West Virginia, has now unveiled his largest project.

In front of a large group of media members and Greenbrier Sporting Club members, Justice and four golfing legends including Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Lee Trevino broke ground for the new 18-hole Oakhurst golf course. It will overlook the historic Oakhurst Links, the first golf club in the United States. This is where golf was born and bred, so the quintet hopes to make this area into a sprawling neighborhood full of attractions.

The four all-time best golfers will be designing the course, and all had plenty to say about it. Arnold Palmer noted that Oakhurst Links was his first tournament win in golf, in which he won a 'whopping' $10,000. Gary Player also talked about his nostalgia with the area, as he recalled many great times playing either at the Oakhurst Links or TPC Old White Course.

Speaking about the project and the area itself, Arnold Palmer said "I've designed over 300 golf courses, and this is probably the most unusual site that I have been asked to help design a golf course on. And after riding through here yesterday, I can see why people come here just for the ride. To say that it will be unusual is actually an understatement, as we will see a golf course that will be amazing. I saw Jack [Nicklaus] working yesterday, and I've known him for quite a few years, and I've never seen him work so hard to do something in all his life. Including beating me! But I think what we will see here is something that every person here today will have on their mind and will remember throughout their lives. With that and some things that I am not going to say, we will watch and look and work to make this one of the most beautiful sites in the world."

Jack Niklaus. Ben Anderon/VAVEL USA

Trevino was the jokester of the group, but talked earnestly about how much he has enjoyed his time working at the Greenbrier. Trevino is the Greenbrier's Golf Pro Emeritus, the primary symbol of the Greenbrier's many golfing programs.

Nicklaus seemed to be the leading spokesman for the luminaries in terms of the magnitude of this project. 

"This is about what we have seen through the years and how you apply it to the piece of ground that you're going to build a golf course on, to design the course on. Our golf [careers] lasted a period of about 20 years or so, and the golf course that we're going to do will be a legacy that lasts not only our lifetimes, but many people's lifetimes. For people to enjoy, and to have fun with. Oakhurst Links down this street, from 1884, that's still a legendary place in the game of golf, so hopefully we can start another legend situation here that will last well beyond all of our lifetimes here."

Arnold Palmer with one of the shovels. Ben Anderson/VAVEL USA

VAVEL USA asked the group whether there have been any arguments between the four about the details about the course that they would like to share:

Justice: "If you ask me, I'm taking the fifth!"

Nicklaus: "Well, the four of us have been together long enough to know each other well, and we're all too old to argue with each other. We're at the stage of our lives where it's a lot more fun to do things together, enjoy what we're doing, and make sure we end up with a good product."

Player: "I think that the four of us have probably won more tournaments than any other 4 that anyone could choose, and have traveled more extensively around the world and played such a variety of golf courses. The thing is, because of that, we know each other well enough to voice our opinions and come to conclusions what is best, not for us. We will swallow our pride and do the very best we can because of the great owner in Jim Justice to give him a product that he richly deserves."

Ben Anderson/VAVEL USA

Plans were discussed by Justice and Nicklaus to, after the course was complete, apply for the U.S. Open, Presidents' Cup, Ryder Cup, and other large events to come to Greenbrier County, West Virginia and use this championship-designed course. We will keep you updated about the development of this prestigious piece of land.