Dale Klug / Biltmore Sporting Clays
Since 2007, Biltmore Sporting Clays has attracted a passionate clientele.
When most people hear the word “Biltmore” they inevitably think “Biltmore House,” but for a certain breed of sports enthusiast, “Biltmore Sporting Clays” possibly ranks even higher on the list. Sporting clays is a form of clay pigeon shooting (related to, but distinct from, trap and skeet shooting) and has a devoted international following. It’s a premiere attraction at the Biltmore estate, either for members of the private Biltmore Sporting Clays Club, who enjoy exclusive access to the estate’s historic west side, or for Biltmore’s annual passholders, daytime guests, and overnight guests in the form of sporting clays lessons at Biltmore’s Outdoor Adventure Center.
According to the Director of Explore Biltmore Estate, Dale Klug, the sporting clays course was originally built in 2007. Since then, the course has moved and been redesigned. At that time, Biltmore contracted with N.L. Wilson to run the sporting clays instruction program. Sporting Clays lessons were brought in-house as a Biltmore program in 2009 and Klug, previously a fishing instructor on the estate, was hired by Biltmore to lead the program. There are now nine employees involved in both instruction and various aspects of the Sporting Clays Club.
“Our members talk all the time about Biltmore being an especially great place for sporting clays—it’s a beautiful setting, and there is a strong sense of history when you participate in activities on the Estate as well.”
Says Klug, “We had a great track record of growth with lessons, and we identified a new opportunity: A number of people already knew how to shoot and did not want lessons. It was then that the idea of a club began to take shape for those people who wanted a place in the Asheville area to shoot, with the convenience of a club being close.”
A club also had a couple factors working in its favor that were important to Biltmore’s leadership. First of all, it was a historically accurate activity to add to the Biltmore’s menu of outdoor offerings, in that sport shooting was popular in George Vanderbilt’s time at the turn of the century. Secondly, as Klug notes, “We could pin a new clubhouse for the membership-based club to a restoration project. With the money earned from the Sporting Clays Club, we were able to undertake an important restoration project on the property.” On January 1, 2015, the clubhouse opened at the Jones House, one of two houses surviving on the west side of Biltmore that predate Vanderbilt’s ownership.
Biltmore Sporting Clays is unique among clubs in the Asheville area because, while most only offer sporting clays, Biltmore has clays, trap, skeet, and 5-stand shooting. “Sporting clays,” says Klug, “has become very popular, and we’re seeing more and more female guests interested in the school and club. Our members talk all the time about Biltmore being an especially great place for sporting clays—it’s a beautiful setting, and there is a strong sense of history when you participate in activities on the Estate as well. There were many outdoor sporting activities that George Vanderbilt participated in himself and when entertaining guests when he lived on the property.”
The club coordinates events with other departments at Biltmore at least once a quarter, and going forward, beginning in the spring, Biltmore will be organizing what Klug describes as “fun shoots” for the membership: “No real high stakes, just fun.”
Information on the School: Biltmore.com/visit/things-to-do/outdoor-activities/sporting-clays
The Club: Biltmore.com/biltmore-sporting-clays-club
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