WHARNCLIFFE – Despite regulatory and market challenges which have plagued the mining industry over the past several years, three local coal and land companies continue to give back to their communities and to southern West Virginia.
On Thursday, June 11th, Arch Coal Company, Alpha Natural Resources, and Pocahontas Land Company donated to the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority (“MCRA”) its Twisted Gun Golf Course located at Wharncliffe, near Gilbert.
Twisted Gun, which is hailed as the crown jewel of the coalfields, is a links style course that was constructed as Mingo County’s first post mine land use project in partnership with Don Nicewonder, a golf enthusiast and long-time coal operator, who envisioned the 18 hole, PGA style course overlooking the pristine ridgetops of Central Appalachia. Opened in 2002 as one of the state’s finest public courses, Twisted Gun offers forgiving fairways, smooth greens, and four sets of tees, playing 7,015 yards from the professional tees and 5,155 from the forward tees.
Leasha Johnson, Executive Director of the MCRA, credits the former owners not only for an incredible act of kindness in donating the facility to the county, but also for their tireless commitment to maintain and care for the course throughout the transfer process. “We could never adequately thank Alpha, Arch and Pocahontas for donating to us one of the county’s most valuable assets. Twisted Gun adds so much economic value to Mingo County, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to preserve the jobs and recreational benefit that the course affords us”, said Johnson.
Andy Dillon, the MCRA’s board chairman, said “Twisted Gun is an invaluable asset to Mingo County, and the Redevelopment Authority is honored to have the opportunity to continue the operation of such a wonderful recreational facility. We’ll work diligently to maintain and enhance the course and the playing experience in the months and years to come.”
The course was officially opened on Friday, June 12th, on the heels of the actual transfer, but once the MCRA and its course operator, Bella Vista, LLC, have made improvements to the clubhouse, opened the kitchen, and settled into being the new owners, a grand opening ceremony will be announced and the public will be invited to attend.