West Virginia is for Golfers!!
Golfers Must Consider a Trip to the Mountaineer State
By Brian Weis
The legendary singer/songwriter John Denver had it right when he coined the line "Take me to the place I belong, West Virginia," within the song Country Roads. For golfers, the Mountaineer State is the place you belong when it comes to outstanding golf from border to border.
My four day whirlwind tour of West Virginia in October of last year took me to the top five golf courses in the state according to GolfWeek Magazine. Obviously all "best-of lists" are subjective, but one thing is for sure - all five of these courses could have very well been #1 in West Virginia. Therefore this story will go in chronological order so there are no playing favorites.
Glade Springs Resort, Daniels, WV
Located in the New River-Greenbrier Valley Region, the Resort at Glade Springs boasts three championship courses, The Cobb Course, The Stonehaven (2003), and The Woodhaven (2010). The resort is located 75 miles from the Charleston (capital of West Virginia) airport. The Charleston to Glade drive features a beautiful drive through the Appalachian Mountains.
The Resort at Glade Springs was established in 1960 with the original Cobb Course opening in 1972. Some fifty years later Glade Springs boasts 200 guest rooms, 13,000 square feet of conference space, and 1400 acres of a gated community dotted with 450 luxurious homes.
The Cobb Course features rolling fairways, mature hardwoods and sand bunkers as big as the state of West Virginia. Many of the greens are three club differentials and it's better being short of the pin than deep. The 16th hole on The Cobb Course acts as the signature hole and requires carrying your ball over three water features. On the tee a well struck drive is needed to fly a C-shaped lake. Before you swing out of your shoes, any ball over the hill will flirt with a third lake. Head Professional Mike James chuckled, "I have not played too many par-4's that require carrying three water features." If you have aqua phobia the hole is no laughing matter.
Daily golf packages include overnight accommodations, breakfast, 18 hole green fees and cart on either the Cobb Course or Stonehaven Course. Lodging options include rooms and suites in the Inn; two room executive suites; four to six bedroom Chestnut Hill Lodges; and two and three bedroom Villas or Manor Houses which allow groups to choose one bedroom, a floor of four bedrooms or the entire house. For more information, visit www.gladesprings.com.
Greenbrier Resort, White Sulphur Springs, WV
The Greenbrier, a.k.a. "America'a Resort" is undergoing a renaissance of epic proportion. West Virginia businessman Jim Justice saved the America icon from foreclosure in 2009 and has restored all its original grandeur and then some. Having legendary golfers Sam Snead and Tom Watson as Golf Professional Emeritus' isn't a bad place to start. Add in one of the finest classic courses in America (C.B. MacDonald's 1914 Old White TPC) plus the lore-turned-fact cold war underground bunker, and The Greenbrier has all the making of the ultimate summer destination. The aforementioned TPC Old White Course has hosted the PGA Tour Greenbrier Classic since 2010. In the tournament's inaugural year, Stuart Appleby became only the 5th player in history to shoot 59 during his stunning come-from-behind victory. Old White TPC may be the elder statesman, but The Greenbrier is also home to two other outstanding tracks. The Greenbrier Course, originally designed by Seth Raynor in 1924 was redone by Jack Nicklaus in 1977, could also host a Tour event and The Meadows Course is a Dick Wilson/Bobby Cupp design that was upgraded 13 years ago.
According to Monte Ortel, Assistant Tournament Director of the Greenbrier Classic, a PGA TOUR event at The Greenbrier is definitely a win-win. "The Greenbrier's rich history of golf adds to the prestige of the PGA TOUR and in return the PGA TOUR provides a premier platform for the resort to showcase its world class amenities. The Greenbrier has hosted some of golf's most prominent legendary players such as Sam Snead, Nick Faldo, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Ben Hogan and is the only resort in America to host both the Ryder and Solheim Cups matches. The Greenbrier Classic adds to that legacy by bringing a PGA TOUR, FedExCup Event to the renowned Old White TPC Course. Hundreds of charitable organizations and businesses, as well as the entire state of West Virginia have benefited from the Classic. It's truly an unforgettable event that showcases the resort and region to millions of people around the world," concluded Ortel.
But it's not just about golf when staying at The Greenbrier. They offer a wide variety of amenities from the traditional, such as golf, tennis and swimming, to the unique such as their Cold War era bunker tours, their elegant, underground Casino Club and live musical performances by their own Greenbrier Entertainers. Here, guests can enjoy exhilarating activities like kayaking, off-road driving and falconry, or relax in their Spa, enjoy afternoon tea or walk along their Meditation Trail. Greenbrier's Presidents' Cottage Museum and historical tours offer glimpses into the resort's rich and interesting history, which follows the history of our country. For more information on The Greenbrier Resort, visit www.greenbrier.com.
Raven at Snowshoe Mountain, Snowshoe, WV
As impressive as Gary Player was as a player, with nine majors won, the "Black Knight" is just as impressive in his role as a course designer. The Raven at Snowshoe Mountain takes golfers on a magical journey some 4800 feet above sea level on 125 acres of landscape that was destined for golf. The 7000 yard, par 72 layout is "Player" friendly with big greens and four tee boxes designed for all abilities. All mounds that line edges of the holes are tilted just enough to allow balls to bounce back in fairway.
Gordon McHugh, Head Golf Professional describes the Player gem to a tee. "Raven at Snowshoe Mountain is mountain golf at its finest! Raven Golf Club has 18 uniquely challenging holes. Each hole is set in its own wooded area with no parallel fairways and this creates a very serene and quiet experience for the golfer. Mr. Gary Player used the natural rugged West Virginia landscape to craft a fair, but very challenging design. In my opinion, you would be hard pressed to find a better risk and reward golf course anywhere. The climate at Raven Golf Club also sets it apart because our average summer temperature is 73 degrees! This allows us to maintain immaculate bentgrass tees, fairways, and greens," concluded McHugh.
The Raven CG is honestly 18 flagship holes on one incredible layout. If Gordon had to pick one favorite it would have to be the par-4 4th. "It is a dogleg right par-4 with a 200' vertical drop from the tee to the fairway. Because of our thinner mountain air, the ball seems to stay in the air forever! And the view- awesome," smiled McHugh. Other holes of note include one of Gary's favorite, the driveable par-4 9th that features a unique double green feature. So big hitter beware, make sure you are firing at the right green when bombing your drive off the elevated tee. For more information on the Raven at Snowshoe Mountain visit www.snowshoemtn.com/golf.
Stonewall Resort, Roanoke, WV
A state park golf course designed by Arnold Palmer is enough to make you question which planet you are currently on, isn't it? But when it comes to Stonewall Resort in Roanoke, that's exactly the combination that came together to form the #1 course in the state. Randy Hernly, Stonewall's Head Golf Professional knows that having the Palmer name on a property that never costs more than $100 to play is the ultimate win-win proposition. "We are very happy and proud of all the accolades that the golf course, resort and state park have received. It is a very unique business enterprise with the combination of public and private funds to finance the entire project and the combination of public and private management with the WVDNR and Benchmark Hospitality. Our golf maintenance staff along with the golf operations staff goes that extra step to ensure the quality of the course and the golf experience," explained Hernly.
But Stonewall is so much more than just a premium Palmer design. The nineteenth hole is a stunning clubhouse perched atop a bluff that features a dynamite restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining options and panoramic views of the 1900 acre property including a lake, the course and a stunning main lodge. The key to Stonewall's success is that you feel so far away from civilization while there. "I was here during the preopening and the course looked like it had been here forever, not newly constructed. The flow from golf course center line to the native terrain of West Virginia is very subtle and natural," stated Hernly.
Their Golf, Lunch, and More package for $125 on weekdays and $145 on weekends includes 18 holes, lunch, and a replay round afterward - now that's a sweet deal no doubt! For more information on Stonewall Resort, visit www.stonewallresort.com or call (304) 269-8885.
John Denver's opening lyric in Country Roads sums it up best - "Almost Heaven, West Virginia."
For more information on all that West Virginia has in store for you, visit www.wvgolfing.com.
Revised: 05/31/2012 - Article Viewed 23,649 Times
Written By: Brian Weis
Brian Weis is the Publisher of GolfTrips.com, a network of golf travel and directory sites including GolfWisconsin.com, GolfMichigan.com, ArizonaGolfer.com, GolfAlabama.com, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.
All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched GolfWisconsin.com. In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and GolfTrips.com was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like GolfTrips.com, GolfGuide.com and GolfPackages.com. It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.
On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.
Contact Brian Weis:
GolfTrips.com - Publisher and Golf Traveler