About Carolina Trace: History and Overview Sandhills, NC
About Carolina Trace & Our History
Carolina Trace is a community of golfers, retirees and families, nestled in beautiful Sanford, North Carolina. We are built on the natural beauty of the Sandhills region, which our residents and members enjoy year-round. Many of our members also live within the Carolina Trace community, made easy by the 18 POAs that make up our neighborhood.
Carolina Trace is home to a variety of people, including locals looking for the best golf community; families with a preferred vacation destination; and couples who want a friendly retirement community. With lots of groups to get involved with, a vast lake and two professional-grade golf courses, our community enjoys the perfect balance of relaxation and activity.
The History of Carolina Trace
The vision that spawned Carolina Trace began in 1959 with Joyce and W.M. “Bill” Arnold Jr. The pair was so secretive with this project that the Register of Deeds, Chandler Eakes, died without knowing the nature of the project he was helping the Arnolds with. That secrecy reigned for ten years, with only Sanford oil dealer Truby Proctor Jr., aware of what was afoot.
They were later joined by Joe Brinn, Ken Eason, Jim Hickey, Dr. W.R. Hartness, C.B. Foushee, Van R. Groce, Jimmy Thomas and others. In 1969, Sandhill Properties, Inc., was formed. The Sanford Herald's February 10, 1969 headline, "Giant Golf-Recreational Site Planned for Area," was a shock. The golf course and dam were started in 1970, the year when the first lots (in North Shore) were sold. Three lotteries decided who received which lot.
Robert Trent Jones, Sr., designed the two eighteen-hole golf courses, the Lake and the Creek, completed in 1971 and 1979, respectively. He also wanted his courses to be "watered by their own lakes," as Lake Trace (covering 315 acres) attests. The original Clubhouse was completed in 1972, an approximately 25,000 square-foot facility, by a local company, L. P. Cox.
A Relationship with the Local Community
Mary Lewis Dusenbury had been leading the efforts of a Sanford group seeking the development nearby of a social club and dining facility. Truby Proctor and Joe Brinn approached her with the offer of memberships, and a symbiotic relationship developed between the townspeople and Carolina Trace. Charles Reeves Jr., of Sanford, was the first President. Many feel that this local support prevented Carolina Trace from suffering the financial troubles of similar facilities in the early seventies.
The Arnolds sold their interest in 1973 but continued to live in Carolina Trace. In 1987, the members purchased Carolina Trace. Although Carolina Trace Country Club is privately owned, Sanford/Lee County people who are not residents of Carolina Trace, as well as businesses, are encouraged to purchase memberships.
Carolina Trace Today
On January 31, 2008, the Clubhouse was destroyed by an electrical fire. The spirit of the members and the local community endured despite the tragedy. About a year later, an official ground breaking ceremony was held in early February, 2009. In the interim, a new facility, the Marathon Bar and Grille opened in March of 2009. This building has become part of the tennis and pool complex.
The Head Golf Professional at the time (Mike Krick) and Golf Course Superintendent (Tim Hart) played 100 holes of golf in one day as a fundraiser. Those proceeds contributed to the beginning stages of the Marathon Bar and Grille-named in honor of their golf marathon. A select group of members, led by Board of Directors Jim Martell and Karl Heidinger, organized a volunteer effort to raise funds to complete the enclosure of the Marathon Bar and Grille. A new Clubhouse, approximately 30,000 square-feet, was completed October 1, 2009.
Escalante Golf, Inc. purchased Carolina Trace Country Club from the membership in July of 2014 with the intentions of continuing the Club with vision of its original founders. Escalante’s fist project was the extensive Lake Course renovations, which took place during 2015, led by well-known golf course architect David Welchel.
Through their expertise in golf management and their country club business model, Escalante will continue to grow, expand and refine the Club for its members and community.
Origin of the Name “Carolina Trace”
Lewis Clarke and Associates, hired in 1969 as the land planners, proposed in early 1970 that Sandhill Properties became The Carolina Trace Corporation. They had worked hard to find a name, logo, monogram and symbol that encompassed the feel of what Carolina Trace would become. Everything was meant to both denote and connote a large lake encircled by a major trail (Traceway), which unites individual communities along the lake shore.
They drew on the word ‘trace’ as a “mark left by something which has preceded” (a hint of the Indian heritage). But Bill Arnold’s first reaction was the ‘trace’ or line from a mule or horse in harness, which was also appropriate to the agricultural history of the region and the tales of the Wicker brothers who had traversed it in their mule- and horse-drawn wagon.
As for the “Carolina” part of the name, that was naturally the setting of the community. Today, we have the beautiful and vibrant community that is home to many beloved residents: Carolina Trace.