Michael Edwards remembers how the Prestonwood Country Club was developed:
My family had a farm between Cary and Apex, including a large area of land off of Davis Drive that we called the Cary Lowlands.
It was the basin for Crabtree Creek and Turkey Creek, and the soil types were really bad. This was the least desirable farmland we had so we were anxious to sell it.
In 1984-85, we were approached by a Texas group who was putting together almost 1,000 acres. That was the beginning of Preston.
At that time, the closest supermarket was way down on Kildaire Farm Road, so it was remote then. We thought this would be great for Cary to get a golf course and country club.
We watched that first part of Preston go up. We were just country folk and had never seen structures like this. There was a steel structure, crown molding, unbelievable woodwork, vaulted ceilings. There was nothing like it in this area.
The next thing you knew, we got Prestonwood Country Club up beside us.
As a kid, I thought a big weekend was going to the Putt-Putt miniature golf on Western Boulevard in Raleigh. Prestonwood offered full founder memberships for $2,500 before the club was even opened, so I bought one.
I got a set of golf clubs, some fancy shorts, a golf shirt and shoes. I tried to play golf for awhile before I realized that was not my game.
But the course was truly wonderful. When I’d get to hole numbers 6 and 7 of that first course, I could see where Turkey and Crabtree Creeks would split. That was about the only thing I could recognize from when I was a kid, walking through the woods taking our cows through there. Preston truly opened up west Cary to development.
When the recession hit, Preston stalled. Later, when Tim Smith and Bubba Rawl realized that we were coming out of it, they formed Preston Development Properties Group and bought out the contract.
Tim is a very good, aggressive, very smart developer who needed somebody to back him. He found Jim Goodnight with SAS, and they teamed up. Tim had the vision for what it could become.
We sold 40 more acres of lowlands to them to expand the golf course. We were happy to sell it because it was all flood plain. When we met with them to close the sale, Goodnight looks at Tim and says in this very stern voice, “Tim’s told me I’m going to do well with this investment. At this point, all I’m seeing are additional golf holes and fancy fences. I’m waiting.”
And Tim took it to another level. He doubled the size of Prestonwood. He put in 18 to 24 more holes of golf, maybe more. It truly made west Cary a premier community.
Cary’s Heritage is taken from the book, “Just a Horse-Stopping Place, an Oral History of Cary, North Carolina,” first published in August 2006. The book is a collection of oral history interviews conducted between local citizens and Friends of the Page-Walker Hotel.