The grass has been greener for golf compared to most sports in the era of social distancing. It is reasonable to think it will be among the first teambuilding and excursion activities to return to meetings and events, too, given the ability to keep a safe space. We’ve found nine golf resorts to get back into the swing of things.
Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Bandon, Oregon
Bandon Dunes Golf Resort opened its fifth 18-hole course, Sheep Ranch, to the public in June 2020 following completion of design work by Coore & Crenshaw. The course is set on approximately 140 acres north of the resort’s Old Macdonald course, and the routing features a shared green (the third and 16th) and several fairways that blend together. For the past 16 years, the course was basically 13 unirrigated greens played by a select number of resort guests who gained access.
Now, with one mile of ocean frontage, nine green sites right along the edge of the continent, and Pacific Ocean views on every hole, Sheep Ranch will continue the legacy of “Golf As It Was Meant to Be” on the Pacific Coast. “With links courses being so rare, especially in the United States, we are extremely lucky to have the same elements of the game from its original inception,” says Michael Chupka, director of communications.
Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club, Arcadia, Michigan
Founded in 1999, the original Bluffs Course is reminiscent of a windswept seaside links course with rolling terrain, natural fescues, and panoramic views of the lake. The club’s newest addition is the South Course, which opened in 2018, located one mile south of the Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club. This new course was designed to capture the simplistic nature of courses from the earliest days of golf in America.
Most recently, in August 2019, the Club at the South Course was opened, along with a new restaurant serving comfort cuisine.
For private groups, the Sunroom offers sweeping views of Lake Michigan along with providing a private dining option seating for up to 100 guests.
The Lodge at Arcadia Bluffs is located on the second level of the beautiful Nantucket coastal estate-style clubhouse and has 15 comfortably appointed guest rooms and one suite. The Bluffs Lodge, which debuted in 2017, is located just steps away from the main lodge and offers 21 comfortable guest rooms and a state-of-the-art fitness center. Finally, Arcadia Bluffs also offers 1,900-sq.-ft. four-bedroom, four-bathroom cottages. Located on the second hole of the Bluffs Course, these private cottages combine the amenities of the lodge with the privacy and spaciousness for families and small corporate groups.
Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa, Galena, Illinois
Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa features four golf courses, including one of the top 100 golf courses in the country, The General. Last November, Ryan Brown was named the resort’s new golf director. With 20 years in the golf industry and nine years as a PGA member, Brown brings his experience at major resorts as well as private golf clubs. Brown says he’s looking forward to expanding the Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa golf community as well as bringing new technology to the game.
“We’re implementing Golf Genius, the leading web-based tournament software. It’s great for groups or corporate events. Each player can see live scoring on the app or watch the results in real-time from the clubhouse.”
Recent enhancements include an enlarged and renamed Highlands Restaurant and Lounge 289 to accommodate more players and The General, the largest and best-known course at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, will house an all-new and greatly expanded buildout of the golf pro shop.
The Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa is located 150 miles west of Chicago within The Galena Territory, a 6,800-acre recreational, residential and resort community six miles from the historic town of Galena, Illinois. The resort includes 63 holes on four award-winning golf courses, and accommodations that range from quaint inn rooms to more than 250 villas and distinctive homes. IACC certified, Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa has 15,000 square feet of state-of-the-art meeting space and beautiful conference homes, which regularly accommodate corporate groups for golf outings and meetings.
The Plantation Course, Kapalua, Hawaii
The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, on the island of Maui, is home to two championship golf courses: The Bay Course and The Plantation Course, along with the award-winning instructions of the Kapalua Golf Academy. The hotel is located on 54 acres overlooking the Pacific and is a luxurious destination for groups looking to combine great golf with a luxurious Hawaiian adventure. In addition to 20 meeting rooms including a 15-person executive boardroom, the property offers more than 172,000 square feet of outdoor venues including a permanent outdoor event facility.
Kapalua Golf’s Plantation Course reopened in November 2019 after undergoing a nine-month refinement project. The official home course of the PGA Tournament of Champions, the Plantation Course has been recognized as the best golf course in Hawaii for 10 consecutive years by Golfweek.
Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa, Austin, Texas
In May 2019, the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa underwent an extensive $150 million renovation and expansion that included multi-year course updates designed to enhance course conditions and playability. The campaign began with Fazio Foothills and continued with Coore Crenshaw Cliffside in 2018 and then Fazio Canyons in 2019. The Canyons Clubhouse, which is reminiscent of a modern Hill Country home, was added adjacent to the award-winning Fazio Canyons golf course.
Highlights include 493 re-designed guest rooms, an all-new conference center with a 14,500-square-foot Brazos Ballroom, a redesigned 8,200-square-foot Darrell K Royal Ballroom, a new 5,500-square-foot outdoor event pavilion and 23,900-square feet of lawns pace for corporate events.
Sea Island, Georgia
Located on the southeastern coast of Georgia, Sea Island is the home to two resorts and features three championship golf courses, including Seaside and Plantation, site of the PGA Tour's RSM Classic, as well as a new state-of-the-art performance center which opened in March last year.
The 17,000-sq.-ft. performance facility features industry-leading technology, six instruction and club fitting bays, a putting studio, a full-service golf club workshop, gym with locker rooms, spacious retail area, and indoor and outdoor meeting and event spaces.
The debut of the new Golf Performance Center is part of a nearly $30 million enhancement program at The Lodge at Sea Island. With 58 rooms, seven golf cottages, oceanfront pool and pool house, and a new 18-hole putting course that debuted in 2018, The Lodge sits on the site of an antebellum plantation whose ruins are still visible.
The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico
In early 2019, The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort (pictured at top of this article) unveiled a $60 million renovation following hurricanes Irma and Maria. Just 30 minutes from San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, the oceanfront hotel is located on a former coconut plantation and situated between the El Yunque National Forest and the Espíritu Santo River State Preserve. With 139 refurbished rooms and suites, the renovation includes the Casa Grande, which is the heart of the resort and includes the St. Regis Bar.
The 18-hole course at The St. Regis was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., one of the world's pre-eminent golf course architects, and has stunning views of the El Yunque rainforest, impressive greens along the ocean, scenic lakes, and rolling fairways. The course is managed by Troon Golf and is part of the property’s certified Silver Signature Sanctuary by Audubon International.
For meetings, the resort offers nearly 27,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space with 8 indoor and outdoor event and meeting spaces ranging in size from 500 to 2,960 square feet.
Pebble Beach, Monterey County, California
Pebble Beach Company celebrated its centennial in 2019 and it was a year of celebrations and unveilings, including a new 8,000-sq.-ft. visitor center located adjacent to The Lodge at Pebble Beach. The new interactive visitor center features archival video, replica trophies and photography from the archives with exhibits about Pebble Beach Company ownership, from founder Samuel F. B. Morse to the current ownership group in place since 1999.
The opening of the visitor center was just one of the completed enhancements at Pebble Beach Resorts that were made prior to the 119th U.S. Open Championship held in June 2019 that included a complete upgrade to all 454 guest rooms at The Lodge at Pebble Beach, The Inn at Spanish Bay and Casa Palmera and the opening of Fairway One at The Lodge, comprised of 30 guest rooms, two four-bedroom golf cottages, and a meeting facility.
In December 2019, Pebble Beach Company announced plans for a new short course in partnership with Tiger Woods and his TGR Design firm on the former site of Peter Hay Golf Course.
The American Club, Kohler, Wisconsin
The American Club, the only Forbes Five Star property in the state, features two world-renowned courses: Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run. The Kohler Co. Hospitality & Real Estate also owns the Old Course Golf Resort & Spa in Scotland, which adds significant prestige.
In December, the Kohler Swing Studio & Golf Shop, located in Kohler at The Shops at Woodlake, debuted two Topgolf Swing Suite bays along with expanded food and beverage options and a new bar. Each of the two bays can accommodate eight people to play, eat and network in a lounge setting. In addition to golf, the Topgolf Swing Suite experience also features games such as TopContender, Zombie Dodgeball, Hockey Shots, Baseball Pitching and Carnival Classic, among others. The year-round Swing Studio is also available for private events and corporate outings.
The resort has also opened 4-bedroom and 2-bedroom suites at the Inn on Woodlake. Located on the shore of picturesque Wood Lake, the Inn on Woodlake is a 138-room hotel that includes state-of-the-art meeting and event space.