Ogburn Yates grew up in Asheboro. His dad managed the local Belk-Yates store, and he and his brother both eventually entered the family business. In the early 1940s, the family began searching the surrounding area for a farm. His father loved horses, having grown up around them in Monroe, NC. In the Fall of 1943 they traveled out of town one Sunday to have a picnic and look over a wooded site for sale. Later, they drove a mile or so down a winding dirt lane. To their left was a gorgeous view featuring fields and trees in full fall color in the distance. To the right, an old dilapidated farmhouse, unpainted, abandoned and most of the windows broken out. As they drove up into the yard, Ogburn’s mother turned to his father and said, “I believe this is the place.”
Built around 1900 by William Tant, the property was passed to his son Roby upon his death. Although he had made a lot of money in the timber business during the Great Depression in the mid-30s, his fortunes changed after that. He lost the farmhouse and it was purchaed by F. O. Yates in 1943.
After many repairs and improvements, the family began living in the farmhouse in the Summer of 1945.
They kept cattle and horses at the farm, and purchased other adjacent properties as they became available. By the 1960s they owned 500 acres neighboring the Uwharrie National Forest.
In 1969 F. O. Yates died and Ogburn moved back to Asheboro from Raleigh to help his brother Tucker, and supervise the other Belk stores in their group. Although Tucker left the store in 1978, the family kept the farm and the cattle there until the mid-90s.
Their mother deeded the land to her four children, and they soon held a large family gathering to decide what to do with the farm. There were really three choices: 1) Sell the land, which no one wanted to do; 2) leave it like it was for family use and maintain it; or 3) develop it.
At Ogburn’s 60th birthday party at the farm, there was a guest from Charlotte who was an old navy friend. In conversation, he was asked what he thought they should do with the property. Quickly, he looked at the view and said he thought it would make a great golf course. This idea had never been considered, but now became a possibility, since golf course construction was booming in the 1990s.
Earlier the family met a man from Pawley’s Island, SC who was building a golf course on an old rice plantation. He said, “If you go forward with your plans, I can recommend a good golf architect.” When the decision was made, he brought Mike Stranz up to Tot Hill to look at the property. He recommended doing it and with the agreement of the family, the process of getting the finances, partners, consultants; as well as providing water and sewer to the property for the homes, began.
The original partners consisted of the four members of the family, and 15 others, most of whom were from Asheboro. After a few years, Ogburn’s two brothers and sister dropped out, as well as three or four others. Today the partners include: C. C. Pharr, Maxton McDowell, Jack Lail, Del Cranford, Bill Hoover, David Jarrell, Jane Crisco, Sam Gruber, Henry Yates, Tony Cranford and Hi Marziano, mostly from Asheboro. It was a matter of great prayer, but soon things began to fall into place.
The project began in 1998, and Mike Stranz moved into the old farmhouse for two years during the development and construction of the golf course. An artist first and foremost, each and every hole was handdrawn by him before a shovel was placed in the dirt. He drew each hole out and then his team would shape the land with bulldozers to match his sketches. It was very hilly terrain with lots of rocks and creeks, but is one of the most scenic courses in North Carolina.
Within two years, they sold nearly 100 lots and construction was booming. They built the pool and added the pro shop, as well as a stable for residents who might want horses. After the terrorist attacks in September 11, 2001, sales and building came to a halt, but the golf course stayed active and the residents enjoyed all of the amenities of living in the country, while being close to Asheboro. With the 2008 recession and slow economic recovery, lot sales and construction were still sluggish.
At the current time, with the economy improving and interest in building picking up, the partners felt it’s time for a promotion to sell lots. The “Tot Hill Farm 15 Year Anniversary Lot Sale” is scheduled for Saturday, June 3rd. All those interested are invited to come to Tot Hill Farm Golf Club located on Tot Hill Farm Road after turning off Highway 49 West three miles from Asheboro, near the airport. The event will be headquartered in the barn, near the farmhouse, where maps will be diplayed showing the location of over 50 lots for sale, and a video of the property will be shown. Refreshments will be served all day. Golf carts will be available for prospective buyers to take a tour of the property, and local realtors will be on hand to answer questions to help you make the best purchase for you and family.
On each available lot throughout the development you will find a sign indicating the original purchase price, the current reduced list price, and a third price at 15% less than the list price. Although the event is held on June 3rd, the prices will be good through June 10th.
If you are in the market for a new home and haven’t found what you are looking for in the current inventory of homes, maybe it makes sense to consider Tot Hill Farm. You won’t know until you visit.
Asheboro Regional Airport is located just one mile away just off Tot Hill Farm Road. Tot Hill Farm offers a great opportunity to live on a golf course and enjoy the amenities ownership offers, as well as the convenience of being 6 miles from Asheboro, 35 miles from Greensboro, 50 miles from Winston-Salem, 65 miles from Charlotte, or 75 miles from Raleigh. Located in the center of North Carolina, with access to highways and several airports within an hour’s drive, Tot Hill Farm is strategically located to offer you the best of both worlds – country charm and easy access.