Naming of Shoal Creek
“When we were trying to come up with a name for the course, we were attracted to the Creek Indian language. It is
phonetically very beautiful.
“I liked the word Pinhote. This means in Creek Indian, ‘Home of the wild turkey.’ The American wild turkey is found on this land and is a magnificent bird. But there were negative connotations to the word ‘turkey.’ If a fellow’s referred to as a turkey, well that’s not a good thing.
“Another favorite was Oscelani, meaning ‘Where there is green.’
“In the end we kept scratching for a name and there it was, Shoal Creek, sitting right in front of us. And it was a good fit, because the creek is integral to the course.”
Shoal Creek itself starts just a quarter of a mile to the southwest of the community, and golf course that now bears its name. It flows northeast, becoming a large stream once it leaves the property. It flows through the valley that encompasses the Shoal Creek community and becomes both Smyer Lake and Lake Wehoppa, a 240-acre lake northeast of Shoal Creek.
“We decided to use our own water to irrigate the course,” Thompson related, adding “The Lord builds lakes; you just have to know where to dam them up and to provide enough drainage for them. Areas in which it made sense to create small bodies of water were next to holes 9 and 18, and the water to the right of number 10.”
“Also there are three 6-acre lakes on the mountainside. They also serve the 1550-acre Shoal Creek community, draining through their normal flow into the smaller lakes on the golf course. In times of low water supply we can use them to add to our supply.”
Shoal Creek was not built in a virgin forest. It had been timbered over the years, but not for many decades and was therefore very dense. Thus when Jack Nicklalus first toured at the property, he remarked that you couldn’t move three feet without running into a tree.
The late Hugh Daniel, who was an original Board of Governors member at Shoal Creek, owned the land before Thompson purchased it from him. Prior to that Josh Oden of the Alabama Mineral Land Company was the owner.