One of the best-kept secrets in North Carolina might just be Eagle Point Golf Club, a 7,170 yard, Tom Fazio-designed course located in Wilmington, only a mile from the Atlantic Ocean.
The head professional in charge of this prestigious, private club happens to be Hollidaysburg native Billy Anderson.
Anderson, who has been at Eagle Point since the club's inception in 2000, took up the game of golf at a relatively late age. At 16 years old, the Hollidaysburg Area High School student was hitting balls at the old Golf World driving range on Plank Road when the facility's owner, Tom Treese, stopped to watch.
Treese recognized Anderson's raw talent and encouraged the youngster to try out for the high school golf team - which Treese coached. Anderson took up the offer, and after a good deal of practicing, he became the squad's top golfer.
After high school, Anderson attended Methodist University, a Division III school located in Fayetteville, N.C. During his time there, Anderson earned a business degree while also participating on a golf team that captured two NCAA championships.
"Methodist really suited me well," Anderson said. "I might have been overwhelmed playing for a Division I school. At Methodist, I felt comfortable and was able to contribute to a successful golf team. I really enjoyed my time there."
During the summers, Anderson returned home and played plenty of golf at his home course of Scotch Valley. There, he became good friends with local golf standout Scott Stultz. The two would play together in several local best-ball tournaments and won the 1992 Scotch Valley Invitational.
One fateful day, Stultz brought Anderson along with him to visit legendary club pro Bob Ford at Oakmont Country Club, near Pittsburgh. Ford spent some time with Anderson, working on his golf swing.
The results soon paid off : Within a couple of weeks, Anderson shot an amazing 62 at Scotch Valley, setting a new course record.
Anderson sent a personal note to Ford, thanking him for his help. Not long after, he was asked to work at Oakmont during the 1994 U.S Open and was eventually offered a job at the club to work as one of Ford's assistant pros.
"Billy really impressed Bob Ford," Stultz said. "He was fortunate to begin working right in the pro shop, and Ford took a liking to him right from the start. I remember Ford asking me if we had any more good young kids like him in Hollidaysburg."
Anderson stayed at Oakmont for the next seven years and felt honored to work for one of the best club pros in the country.
"Working at Oakmont was an absolutely great experience," Anderson said. "I learned so much from Bob Ford while I was there. As a player, teacher and manager, he's the best."
While at Oakmont, Anderson's golf game progressed to an extremely high level. By 1998, he was able to earn playing privileges onto the Nationwide Tour. However, after making just two cuts in 11 events, Anderson decided to look for a more stable career in the golf business.
In 1999, several investors were constructing a new course in Wilmington. With the endorsement of Ford, his old boss, Anderson interviewed with the new owners and was fortunate to be named Eagle Point's first Director of Golf - a position he's held for the past 14 years.
"I felt an immediate camaraderie with the members here," Anderson said. "The guys at our club love playing golf, which makes my job extremely enjoyable."
Eagle Point, one of the top-rated courses in the country, boasts a large, diverse membership with members from across the country. Two are actually current PGA touring pros (Webb Simpson and Carl Pettersson).
Along with his many club duties, Anderson has still been able to compete on a regular basis and has played very competitively. Over the past decade, he has won several local PGA Sectional events and has competed in the PGA Tour's Wyndham Championship and PGA Professional National Championship several times.
Anderson also captured the 2006 North Carolina Open and 2009 South Carolina Open titles.
Although Anderson now considers North Carolina home - along with his wife and three young daughters - he still finds time to visit family in the Hollidaysburg area about once a year. He enjoys returning to his roots where he learned to play a game that would become his passion and career.
"I love the game of golf," he said, "and I've been very fortunate with the opportunities that this game has given me."