Supposedly, the story is that Starmount Forest Country Club, located off Holden Road in Greensboro, was founded by Greensboro’s Benjamin family in response to anti-semitic views held by other country clubs across the city. Since the present location of Starmount was, at that point, outside of Greensboro city limits and not subject to any city ordinances, including blue laws, Starmount was branded as a diverse and welcoming community with exceptional facilities.
That was nearly 100 years ago, but that then-bold approach by the Benjamin family certainly paid off, as Starmount is now one of Greensboro’s top country clubs and is home to the city’s only championship golf course, according to uncgspartans.com. Starmount has also been the longtime host of UNCG women’s golf, who practice and hold tournaments there. It’s been a beneficial relationship for both Starmount and UNCG, according to Starmount’s president and UNCG graduate (class of 1978) Art Winstead.
“It’s been a great relationship for us in that, you know, the girls are wonderful,” Winstead said with a proud smile. “They’re polite, they’re quote-unquote professional. They get out of the way if members need to get to the tee box, the practice green, or the practice range. We take a lot of pride in the fact that they do practice there. We also like the fact that it hopefully helps UNCG with recruitment, that this is the course they have practically full access to.”
Starmount, which has hosted a number of national tournaments over their long history, including the 1947 Women’s US Open, offers UNCG women’s golf access to its full 18 hole course, as well as its multiple putting greens, its short-range green and its full-scale driving range. In addition to enjoying stellar facilities, the Spartans have seen success at Starmount, placing a respectable fourth out of 12 teams in last year’s Starmount Forest Fall Classic.
For a UNCG athletic department that holds diversity and acceptance as some of their core values, it seems like a no brainer to partner up with Starmount.
“Part of our heritage and culture is that we are a welcoming facility,” Winstead said. “All ages, races, creeds, genders, etc., we welcome, and we want to be known as a welcoming club.”
The partnership between UNCG women’s golf and Starmount has been a smashing success as both parties have grown together, and Winstead hopes it continues long into the future.
“We want the relationship to be positive with UNCG. All athletic programs at UNCG are valuable to the Greensboro community, and [this partnership] is just a little bit that we feel like we can contribute as a country club. If the quality is good at UNCG, the quality is better for the Greensboro community, and if Starmount can have a little bit of positive influence on that, then that’s what we’re trying to do.”
In addition to presiding over the country club that hosts UNCG women’s golf, Winstead also plays a more direct role in the program. Along with his wife, Mary, the Winsteads sponsor an annual scholarship for women’s golf and volleyball. Their assistance has been invaluable to the respective programs, helping secure the eligibility and education of a number of Spartans over the years.
“Well, I love golf,” Winstead said of the scholarships. “My daughters love volleyball. We couldn’t decide, so we did both… And the other side of the influence with men’s versus women’s golf, well, it was the two daughters. I don’t get things complicated. I do what my family tells me to do.”
Wise words from a wise man.
UNCG Women’s Golf spring season gets underway Feb. 25 at the Kiawah Island Classic in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. The Spartans will next play at home April 6-8 at Bryan Park in the Bryan National.