For better or worse, 2017 will be a year of change. No matter your point of view on these upcoming transformations, every golfer can agree on one resolution: this year, a change is needed to play more golf. In fact, that mantra should be part of every golfer’s New Year’s resolution list each time Jan. 1 comes around, because you can never play too much golf.
One part of the country where there is no shortage of courses to help achieve this goal is out east. Besides its well-known golf destinations, there are several hidden gems that populate the East Coast states, plus those bringing their golf amenities to an elite level.
Imagine pegging it at a course redesigned by the 2016 Ryder Cup captain, traversing rolling hills on layouts conceived by the biggest names in golf, and enjoying post-round beverages and stories in a majestic clubhouse.
Ready to play? Here are some intriguing golf hotspots east of the Mississippi River that are sure to excite every golfer’s passion to play more.
Magnolia Green Golf Club
Be on the lookout for a new $5 million golf clubhouse in 2017 from Magnolia Green Golf Club, located just outside of Richmond, Va.
The two-story, $5 million structure will boast 15,000 square feet and feature craftsman-style architecture. The completed project will feature front and rear porches, a full-service bar and an outdoor dining area with views overlooking the golf course. The multi-functional facility is capable of hosting up to 180 guests for private functions, such as corporate parties and weddings, and will feature a formal lawn area with an arbor – an ideal place for guests to exchange vows. The Magnolia Green Golf Club is semi-private, therefore the clubhouse will be open to both members and the general public.
Draped over undulating terrain and measuring 7,150 yards from the back tees, the environmentally-friendly track was named one of 2015’s “Best New Courses” by Golf Digest. Lead architect Chris Cochran from Nicklaus Design expertly incorporated five sets of tees for players of all abilities.
Magnolia Green Golf Club is situated within the Magnolia Green community – the region’s best-selling neighborhood – that offers an array of resort-style community amenities and wide selection of townhomes, single-family and custom-built residences priced from just under $200,000 to over $1 million. www.magnoliagreen.com; 804-818-6900
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort
The year 2017 will see major changes for this splendid golf resort in the Laurel Highlands of southwestern Pennsylvania. Shepherd’s Rock, a Pete Dye-Tim Liddy design, will open in July and complement Nemacolin’s existing Dye design, Mystic Rock.
The 7,142-yard Shepherd’s Rock layout will sit high atop the Allegheny Mountains, and is expected to rival the highest-rated courses in the country. The rolling bucolic terrain is ideal to fully utilize Dye’s brilliant imagination in fashioning a routing sure to amaze anyone who tees it up here.
The tree-lined 3,306-yard front side at Shepherd’s Rock will be a shotmaker’s delight. Precision and accuracy will be key to successfully navigating its rippling fairways flanked by the ever-present Dye-created mounds, natural wetlands and cleverly situated greens.
Its stout 3,836-yard back nine is brawny and wide open, with jaw-dropping vistas of the Laurel Highlands and ample landing areas off the tee. The dramatic par-5 18th, under the gaze of Nemacolin’s posh Falling Rock boutique hotel, features a green sitting atop the property’s high ground and a single, magnificent oak tree standing sentinel on the right. www.nemacolin.com; 866.399.6957
Oglebay Resort and Conference Center
Looking to change things up when it comes to a buddies’ golf trip? Seeking somewhere quaint and inviting, yet boasting two championship golf courses designed by golf luminaries?
Situated in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Wheeling, W.V., Oglebay Resort and Conference Center offers exceptional overnight accommodations, world-class amenities and 1,700 acres of year-round recreational opportunities. Among the activities: swimming, tennis, horse stables, miniature golf, fishing, miles of paved walking/jogging trails, shopping and sightseeing.
Golfwise, Oglebay presents four courses, including two championship layouts at the Speidel Golf Club. The par-71 Arnold Palmer design is a modern links layout that takes advantage of the rolling terrain with strategically placed bunkers, contemporary mounding and ample-size greens. Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., the Jones Course is draped over the hills and dales of a former dairy farm, and hosted the West Virginia LPGA Classic for 11 years. The resort also features the 18-hole regulation Crispin Course – Oglebay’s original layout – and a nine-hole, par-3 course.
Accommodations include the inviting, 270-room Wilson Lodge, quaint cottages and spacious estate houses. Throughout the year Oglebay offers exceptional golf packages that match any group, and are chock-full of value-laden incentives. www.oglebay-resort.com; 800.624.6988.
The Sea Pines Resort
The Sea Pines Resort – Hilton Head’s most celebrated golf and leisure retreat – opened its new Atlantic Dunes by Davis Love III course in October to rave reviews.
The work of Love Golf Design, Atlantic Dunes is a complete reconstruction and recreation of the resort’s historic Ocean Course, the first on Hilton Head. Love III, the 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain, lead architect Scot Sherman and Mark Love have fashioned entirely rebuilt holes to accommodate modern shot values and frame scenic corridors.
Atlantic Dunes now features a pronounced seaside ambience and Lowcountry feel accented by coquina shells and seaside grasses. The project’s goal to incorporate elements of the surrounding beachfront along with native pines and oaks lining the fairways has been fully realized with stunning results.
The course benefits both visually and strategically from restoration of natural sand dunes as well as the creation of new dunes blending seamlessly into the design. Tens of thousands of indigenous plants have been installed in these areas to complete the seaside feel. The playing surface of Atlantic Dunes is a blend of cutting-edge grasses matching the superior strains at the resort’s acclaimed Harbour Town Golf Links and Heron Point by Pete Dye.
Not to be missed while at Sea Pines are visits to the spectacular new 44,000-square-foot Harbour Town Clubhouse, named the 2016 “Best New Public Clubhouse” by Golf Inc. Magazine. The resort’s 23,000-square-foot Plantation Golf Club hub was awarded the 2015 “New Clubhouse of the Year” by the same publication.
Guests may choose from an array of accommodations, including 300 villas, 100 rental homes and the luxurious 60-room Inn & Club at Harbour Town. The resort is offering its exceptional Villa Golf Package combining championship golf with a stay in a deluxe two-bedroom villa. The golf-only “Ultimate 54” offer is ideal to play all three courses with an average savings of up to 15 percent. www.seapines.com; 866.561.8802