Monday, August 19, 2013

Top 10 Historic U.S. Golf Resorts

As an honors student in the unofficial School of Advanced Golf History Studies, I love staying and playing at America's great historic golf resorts and hotels.

Make no mistake, though, I'm not into musty and dusty properties. I don't care if Ben Hogan or Ben Franklin slept there, if it's a glorified dump with little but a recognizeable name, well, I don't want to stay there.

I prefer fully refurbished and rejuvenated hotels with all the modern day techno amenity candy like high-speed Internet service, Ipod docking stations and flat panel televisions. I also enjoy spas, fitness centers and luxury linens.

Bravo to the historical properties that have dutifully maintained their historic architecture, integrity and ambiance. 

Here are 10 of my favorites: 
Pinehurst Resort

1. Pinehurst Resort (Pinehurst, North Carolina)--The Golf Travel Guru loves Pinehurst Resort. I've been there five times and I'd like to make it six. Built in the 1890s, it drenches visitors in history.  Stroll down one of the hallways in the The Carolina  and you're surrounded by vintage photos of every major golfer who ever teed it up, from Snead and Hogan to Nicklaus and Palmer to Woods and Mickelson. At The Carolina, you immerse in a simpler time with rocking chairs on wide verandahs, afternoon tea and delicious apples in a bowl at the front desk. Embellishing the historical ambiance is Pinehurst Village, a National Historic Landmark District, behind the main hotel. For golfers, there are eight championship golf courses, including No. 2, a Donald Ross masterpiece that will host the 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open in June 2014. My favorite hangout is the Donald Ross Grill at the clubhouse, which oozes with history and class.
The American Club

2. The American Club (Kohler, Wisconsin)--Posh accommodations, a spectacular spa, award-winning restaurants and four championship golf courses dominate the luxury "Pure Americana" experience at this Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond hotel. Founded in 1918 by former Kohler Co. President Walter J. Kohler, Sr., the American Club's hallways are brimming with display antiques from the town's amazing history. For golfers, four world-class Pete Dye designed courses are available for play highlighted by Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run. Enhancing the experience is the magnificent Kohler Waters Spa and a 500-acre private nature preserve.
The Greenbrier

3. The Greenbrier (White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia)--The quintessential American historic golf resort, The Greenbrier has been a luxury resort option since it opened in 1778. Surrounded by the Allegheny Mountains, the massive white hotel is a timeless treasure overflowing with tradition, class and elegance. Every imaginable recreation is possible at The Greenbrier, including a bowling alley and casino. For golfers, the Old White TPC, home to The Greenbrier PGA Tour event, a C.B. Macdonald design, is a wonderland of tree-framed fairways and spectacular mountain views. Golf is huge part of The Greenbrier's personality as evidenced by Tom Watson serving as the resort's Golf Professional Emeritus.

The Broadmoor
4. The Broadmoor (Colorado Springs, Colorado)--Built by European artisans in 1917, this resort takes full advantage of its setting near Pikes Peak. Along with great service, cuisine and amenities like 25 boutique shops and a fitness facility, guests can also enjoy an art collection that features work from American masters like Remington, Miller and Moran. The luxuriously appointed guestrooms feature either mountain or lake views. Golf on The Broadmoor's 54 holes is a moveable feast of stunning mountain panoramas, lush, verdant, tree-lined fairways and adroitly planned holes by Donald Ross, Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Nicklaus Design.

Sea Island Resort
5. Sea Island Resort (Sea Island, Georgia)--Located in the Golden Isles string of islands (St. Simons and Jekyll are nearby), Sea Island Resort is a bastion of Southern gentility that's been around since 1928 when it opened The Cloister, it's signature hotel. Since then it has added other luxury accommodations choices such as ocean villas, beach club rooms and the ultra-posh The Lodge. Remindful of an English country manor, the 40-room Lodge, which has an impressive entryway framed by large antebellum oaks, is the ultimate luxury retreat after a day on the links. Golf at Sea Island Resort features three 18-hole championship layouts incorporating marsh, forest and ocean views.

6. Gasparilla Inn & Club (Boca Grande, Florida)--I discovered this gem several years ago while on a fishing trip not a golf excursion to southwest Florida.  It's located near one of the best Tarpon fishing holes in the world so keep that in mind if you like sport fishing. The Gasparilla Inn & Club welcomed its first guests in 1913. Simple, yet elegant the wooden frame inn with a white-pillared entrance and Victorian-style gable roofs evokes a genuine Old Florida feel. Guests at the inn can play a Pete Dye designed 18-hole golf course and have access to a private beach and beach club.

West Baden Spring Hotel
7. West Baden Springs Hotel (French Lick, Indiana)-- When it opened in 1902, the West Baden Springs Hotel, with the world’s largest dome, was dubbed “The Eighth Wonder of the World.”  Since then, the innovative structure at the French Lick Resort has operated as a luxury hotel, seminary college, performing arts college and resort hotel. Situated in the French Lick Resort in southern Indiana, the hotel has returned to its roots as a luxury property. In May 2007, West Baden Springs Hotel completed a massive makeover and redevelopment of the hotel placing special emphasis on high-tech amenities that would enhance the experience for guests. When it's time to tee up, the impressive menu encompasses 54 holes of golf: The Pete Dye Course, Donald Ross Course and the Valley Links by Tom Bendelow.

Williamsburg Inn
8. Williamsburg Inn (Williamsburg, Virginia)--Dripping with luxurious appointments at every turn, the 62-room Williamsburg Inn in Colonial Williamsburg has hosted royalty, heads of state, celebrities and golfers who relish the elegant atmosphere and easy access to the historic area and golf at the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club. The spacious guestrooms at the inn average 500 square feet with English-style furnishings and marble bathrooms. The Golden Horseshoe Club has 45 holes of golf designed by Rees Jones and Robert Trent Jones Sr.

Rennaissance Vinoy Resort
9. Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club (St. Petersburg, Florida)--Set in downtown St. Petersburg overlooking Tampa Bay, this salmon-colored hotel built in 1925 is the personification of Old School elegance. A sweeping front verandah ushers guests into the luxurious lobby, evoking the ambiance of an elegant Mediterranean resort with its original glazed, quarry-tile floor and stenciled cypress beams, Italian front desk and reproductions of 1920s chandeliers. The Vinoy Resort's Ron Garl-designed course weaves through a small residential area on nearby Snell Isle.

10. Grove Park Inn (Ashville, North Carolina)--A magnificent structure sitting on the side of Sunset Mountain in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Grove Park Inn opened in 1891. The guestrooms are unique with original solid oak Arts and Crafts-style furnishings by Stickley and Roycroft as well as leather chairs and elegant bedding. The mountain view rooms, not surprisingly, are the most popular as they offer inspiring vistas. The Grove Park also has one of the world's great spas, an expansive $44 million, 40,000 square-foot palace of pampering featuring a wide variety of treatments and services. Built in 1899 by Donald Ross, the resort's on-site course served as a PGA Tour stop from 1933 through 1951. Throughout a round, golfers never lose sight of the stunning granite hotel overlooking the tree-lined fairways and winding streams. The course is dotted with sycamore, oak and willow trees and the well-maintained layout features Bermuda grass fairways and bent grass greens.

Grove Park Inn

To find more information on other historic hotels I suggest clicking to the website of Historic Hotels of America.


  1. Great list! I have a soft spot for historic hotels. Combine them into golf resorts, and I'm in heaven...

  2. Thanks for the compliment. D.J., nothing beats sitting in a rocking chair on a verandah sipping a cool libation (high octane) after a round of golf.

  3. There is one more hotel were i have visited for my friend marriage, and felt some different atmosphere which i can't express in word. there services are so frequent that I really feel good, the most important thing which really matter is food which they serve, the serving process and the quality of food matters much in my case, I don't know about others. Appetizers which they sever was delicious, Fantail of Seasonal Melon with a Strawberry & Passion Fruit Coulis, Farmhouse Egg Mayonnaise and Smoked Chicken & Bacon Salad, with a mild curry Dressing. They are not only looking awesome but taste were also great.


  4. Great list! I also want to be a student @ School of Advanced Golf History Studies ...

  5. Wow. I really interested to your post. It is really impressive. You gave me a lot of information about it.All of them are amazing. Thanks.
    Matt Levine

  6. Thanks Matt, I appreciate your compliment and comment. All the best.

  7. Great Post, I love to read articles that are informative and actually have good content. Thank you for sharing your experiences and I look forward to reading more.
    Sons of Essex

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  9. Great list!

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