Located less than a mile from Fayetteville High School, the golf course has been a long-time showcase facility for its cornerstone partners to display their products.
Starting this year, the course is offering golf instruction and moving to shift the course into a more widely known and resort style course.
Layne Savoie, head of the golf academy, said he feels honored to have the opportunity to make something of his program at FarmLinks.
“I’m looking to kind of culminate all of my experiences into one product and that’s what I’m excited about,” Savoie said. “I’ve always worked under people, it’s never been my own entity. I’m just so grateful that the Pursell family gave me this opportunity to kind of create a great business and product and service at this facility.”
Golf instruction ranges from a one-hour session on up to whatever a student might need.
Savoie said he likes to think of FarmLinks as one of the premiere public-access facilities in the state.
“This isn’t for the faint at heart, this is for people who are serious about getting better,” Savoie said. “We have a facility that compliments the teaching experience.”
Savoie has had a long career in the golf world, playing at Auburn University, coaching at Arkansas and Florida State and playing some professionally.
He said he feels comfortable coaching at the highest levels, having coached some on the PGA Tour even, but understands that is a limited market.
“I enjoy working on anybody’s game, whether it be a beginner, novice or weekend golfer,” Savoie said. “It doesn’t matter to me. I can help anyone with their game and I enjoy it.”
The long-time golfer said most of his 40 or so customers thus-far have come back for more lessons and he feels the academy is growing.
He said every student is different and knowing how to communicate with each one is the trick to being a good instructor.
“Some have struggled with something for a long time and get into their own heads about it,” Savoie said. “It’s a mental thing. Some guys struggle with putting and can give you the most beautiful drive. No age group or gender is easier or better, it’s all individual.”
The course, which opened in June of 2003, bills itself as the world’s first and only research and demonstration course.
In conjunction with its partners, Pursell Farms aims to progress the industry in many areas including fertilization, where the family has strong roots.
Savoie said the course is trying to branch out and spread the word about the course and its playability.
He said the state has a rich golf culture, including the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, but thinks the course could become a major player in the next couple of years.
Terry Davis, director of golf at FarmLinks, said the isolated location has done nothing to hinder business, and might even be an advantage.
“I always say this place is a little hidden gem,” Davis said. “Once you get here, you don’t want to leave. If it was 20 minutes closer to Birmingham, I don’t think it would have the same effect. It’s definitely an escape.”
The course offers lodging and meals for guests and can sleep approximately 60 people, according to Savoie.
Davis said with the wide fairways at FarmLinks the course is great with golfers of all handicaps.
“It’s even a great course for women and we are offering specials packages for our female golfers,” Davis said. “You look around here and most of what you see are men. We’re trying to change that.”
He said the transition to more of a guest-oriented facility hasn’t always been easy, but added the more businesses hold conferences there, the easier it gets.
“Once we get them down here, they’re hooked,” Davis said. “They love the experience, they love the golf course and they love the people. The people here are the big thing.”