I first learned of the Raynor/Blowing Rock connection in 2002 and, being a native of Asheville and shocked to learn of a Seth Raynor course in my native WNC, decided to check it out.
I contacted the golf professional and course superintendent - neither of whom had ever heard the name Seth Raynor. I drove up to Blowing Rock that October, rode around the course with the superintendent, and reported back to George Bahto. I do not remember exactly where George got his info, but hè was reasonably certain that Raynor renovated 9 holes and added 9 of his own. In my drive-around with the superintendent, i only saw à handful of things that really stood out, all of which resided on the holes that had been taken out of the routing in the 80's when Tom Jackson came in and did some substantial work. The only thing I can recall from the 18 holes then in play was a vaguely punchbowl-like remnant on a par-four.
There were four holes, no longer being used, that looked to me to be the best candidates for having been Raynor holes. One was a Par-3 across the street from the clubhouse. The footprint of the green was still recognizable, and looked to have a noticable back-to-front cant. It also had a flat-bottomed bunker that wrapped around the back of the green. The pro told me that this hole had been the original first hole, with the tee across the road in front of the Inn. I assumed it unlikely Raynor would have begun the course with an Eden hole unless the nines were reversed. The next hole was a short Par-4 and went back across the road to the East, and culminated with a really scary pitch to a diagonally-slanted green with a very steep drop-off to a bunker dug into the side of the hill the green sat on. I'd guess the drop was something like 10-12 feet. The two remaining holes, a Par-4 and a Par-3, both ran downhill back to the rest of the course. Only the Par-3 was of any interest, but it bore more Than a passing resemblance to a Short hole, and George was pretty enthused when I shared my photo of the hole with him.
The club, to my knowledge, had little-to-no informatiion regarding the Raynor connection, and had, I believe, been playing up the Ross' connection for years. I passed along George's contact info to the pro, and thans really the last I ever heard of it.
As for how Raynor would up in what remains a fairy isolated area, it had to do with his MacDonald connections through the NGLA. The guys that bought the Green Park in the mid-20's were NY guys and that was the connection...according to George. In fact, there was a thread here on GCA a long time ago where George laid out the whole story, including Statesville CC.
I got interested in Statesville CC a while back, did some digging, found the original site on Google Earth (Nothing there now but houses and a church), and found some aerials of the course als well, courtesy of what George would have referred to as the "hysterical Society".
No noticable Raynor/Banks (George stated Statesville was almost all Banks) in the two photos I have, but the grens are grass in the photo, and I know they were originally sand, according to George, so they must have been taken no earlier than late-30's??
Sorry for the lousy grammar-my wife's iPad and the autocorrect is going muts in her native Dutch...