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Wild Bluff Golf Course at Bay Mills Resort and Casino is Simply Spectacular

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Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is full of beautiful and challenging golf courses. It’s a shame that these courses are so far north and that the playing season is limited. They are the type of courses that you would play year-round if you could.

One of these courses is Wild Bluff Golf Course in Brimley, Michigan, just west of Sault Ste Marie. This prime golf property has been awarded 4 1/2 stars from Golf Digest Places to Play. Wild Bluff is owned by the Bay Mills Indian Community, one of several federally recognized bands of Chippewa (Ojibwa) and is part of the Bay Mills Resort & Casino. The golf course was designed by well-respected Michigan architect Mike Husby and opened for play in 1996.

Wild Bluff Golf Course offers golfers five sets of tees ranging from 5,316 – 7,056 yards and 6 different yardages on the scorecard, so there is suitable yardage for every level of golfer. There is a vast difference between the Blue (6,820) and White (6,179) tees, so a “Hybrid” yardage (6,446) has been created. I found that the White Tees at 6,179 yards (70.1/134) provided a great test of golf and still let me leave with a little dignity.

The course is situated on a natural bluff overlooking Waishkey Bay and Lake Superior and features deep and natural ravines with winding rivers and streams that border the Hiawatha National Forest.  Most of the holes are situated on the bluff and offer tremendous views of the bay. You’ll find gently rolling terrain as most of the land on top of the bluff is relatively flat with undulation built into them. There are only a few holes that show the course’s natural elevation changes and luckily all of them play downhill.

This beautiful parkland-style course features wide, Bentgrass fairways that are tree-lined, although you must be having a really bad day if you keep finding the trees! You’ll find a few forced carries but nothing that can’t be handled easily. It’s the ravines and natural areas you need to steer clear of.

The greens are large, roll true, and very puttable. Many are often elevated and/or crowned. The easiest way to play them is to knock it close on approach! All in all, the course is designed so that every player can find a reasonable and fair challenge and enjoy themselves. Wild Bluff is certainly not the easiest course you will find, but if you keep the ball in play and hit a lot of fairways, you’ll score well.

Wild Bluff has several memorable holes, starting with the risk/reward factor on the first tee. Number one starts you off from a very elevated tee box. It’s a dogleg right and the green sits just right of the furthest bunker on the left. The green is reachable, but you will need to carry a lot of trees and rough off the tee. Mishit it and you may as well retee! A hybrid or 3-wood is all you need to find the fairway and will leave a short pitch shot into a large, well-undulated green.

Number 3 is probably the most challenging par 4 on the course. From the White tees, it plays 437 yards with a fairway bunker on the left that should not come into play. Favor the left side of the fairway to have the best angle into the elevated green. A good drive is still going to leave a long to mid-iron into the green which is protected with sand on either side and wetlands in the back. Par is a very good score.

Number 4 is a good-looking and challenging par 4 that plays 370 from the white Tees. Want more of a challenge? The hole plays 445 yards from the back tees. Sand traps flank both sides of the landing area off the tee. Your approach shot plays into an elevated, well-undulating green with bunkers on either side.

Number 6 is the first par 3 on the course and measures 168 yards from the White tees. It’s another elevated green that is large and guarded on the right side by a bunker.

Number 7 is considered the number one handicap at Wild Bluff. It’s a par 5 dogleg right that plays 492 yards from the White tees with trees lining both sides of the fairway. The fairway narrows in the landing area off the tee and there’s a bunker on the right side about 250 yards from the White tees. The fairway widens and then narrows once again in the landing area of your layup shot with bunkers on either side a little less than 100 yards from the green. The green is long and narrow and protected on the right side by a long bunker. It will take three well-executed shots to get on the green of this par 5.

Number 9 is a dogleg right, par 5 with an interesting twist from the White tees. It may seem short at only 487 yards but there is a gully/pond (depending on rainfall) that sits about 100 yards from the green. This presents a choice with your second shot:  Are you going to go for it and go over the gully or are you going to lay up short and try to chip it close and make birdie that way? Regardless of how you play it, par or better is an excellent score here.

Number 11 is a short risk/reward par 5 that plays 432 yards from the White tees. Long ball hitters can cut the corner off the tee and get inside of 150 with a good drive. There’s a pond on the left side of the landing area that catches many errant tee shots, and the landing area is very narrow along the pond. Success off the tee may leave an opportunity to get on in two. The green is protected on either side by three bunkers and slopes gently from back to front.

Number 15 can easily be considered the signature hole at Wild Bluff. This challenging par 3 plays 187 yards from the White tees and significantly downhill. The day I was there, my rangefinder registered 181 yards and it played all of it. Hit it short and you may be wet. The green is not an easy two-putt and there’s a large bunker front left.

Number 18 is a very picturesque finishing hole that starts from a very elevated tee box that overlooks Waishkey Bay with Canada in the background. The hole plays 386 yards from the White tees and features strategically placed fairway bunkers on either side of the landing area off the tee. You’ll need to finish your round with an accurate approach shot and avoid the pond right of the green. The putting surface is elevated, slopes back left to front right, and is protected by sand left and water right. End with a par and consider the day a success

Before your round, hit a few balls on the range. Wild Bluff boasts some pretty impressive practice facilities with a double teed driving range, expansive chipping area, and a large practice putting green. There are four target greens on the range in the shape of a heart, club, diamond, and spade.

Inside the clubhouse, you’ll find a pro shop filled with all kinds of logoed apparel and some of the latest golf equipment designed to improve your game.

Wild Bluff Golf Course is part of the Bay Mills Resort & Casino, located across the street. Bay Mills is a full-service casino with numerous slot machines and all the standard table games. The hotel side offers comfortable accommodations, as well as convention and meeting facilities, and a few restaurants to choose from, including the Back Bay Grill and Games, which is home to the World’s Best French Onion Soup. My wife agrees! For more information or to book your next visit to Wild Bluff Golf Course and Bay Mills Resort and Casino, visit them online at www.baymillscasino.com. Your Baycation starts here!

Sugar Valley Golf Club – A Family Friendly Private Club in the Heart of Bellbrook, OH

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There’s a fun, private country club tucked away in Bellbrook, Ohio that golfers in the area should know about. The course is challenging, and the staff is kind, considerate, and willing to help at a moment’s notice. It’s a course I would consider joining if I lived in the area.

When it was founded in 1968, Sugar Valley Golf Club was a semi-private golf course. The Club was built by Carl M. Foreman and a group of investors. The group hired Geoffrey S. Cornish, a course architect who was better known for courses he had designed in the New England states as well as layouts he had remodeled throughout North America and Europe.

In the 1980s, the golf course underwent a major renovation at the hands of legendary Ohio golf course architect Jack Kidwell and his partner and protégé, Mike Hurdzan.

Although Mr. Foreman brought in various business partners during the first few years to help keep the club afloat, in 1977, he and Jim Keyes, the current owner, became business partners and buy out the original investors. Foreman and his family remained the primary owners until 2010. Later that year, the entire property was sold to Jim Keyes, James Powell, and Gary L. Wright who formed Sugar Valley Partners, LLC, and the name was changed to Sugar Valley Golf Club. The three new partners made significant investments in both the golf course and facility. In 2012, a set of senior tees were installed and they were well on their way to taking the club to the next level.

In July 2014, tragedy struck as fire destroyed the clubhouse. This followed an earlier fire in May that destroyed the cart barn and all its contents including members’ golf clubs and an entire fleet of golf carts. With two fires 9 weeks apart, no one could have faulted ownership if they wanted to get out of the business. After all, golf courses aren’t as profitable as they once were!

Jim Keyes didn’t wait until the embers stopped smoldering before announcing plans to rebuild. The next day he had 50 carts at the course and ready to go. In 2018, Sugar Valley Golf Club opened a brand new two-story, 17,000 square-foot Clubhouse that is home to the Pro Shop, two simulator bays, a fitness room, member dining room and bar, a huge banquet, and special events area that can serve 300+ people.

The simulators have proven to be a big hit, especially in the winter months. Members can buy monthly memberships or rent a bay by the hour and practice or play rounds of golf on some of the world’s most popular courses no matter what the weather is like outside.

Since the sale of the course in 2010, membership at Sugar Valley has grown significantly, yet they still hold to their original mission of being available one day a week for corporate and charitable golf outings. They are also one of the Dayton area’s premier event locations.

The club has hosted many fantastic events over the years including the American Junior Golf Association, the SOPGA Section Senior Championship, and the Miami Valley Golf Association MET, Senior Metropolitan & Mid-Amateur Championships. In keeping up with its mission statement they are also home to many charitable golf outings and events.

For many, the main attraction at Sugar Valley is the golf course. At 6,467 yards from the back (Black) tees and a course rating of 70.5 and a slope of 126, the length and difficulty at Sugar Valley are certainly not going to overwhelm many golfers. Players that are new to the sport will find the course manageable with wide open fairways and large, receptive greens. Well-establish players will find that hazards such as sand bunkers have been strategically placed and ready to snag errant shots. Four sets of tees provide suitable yardage for any level of golfer. Choose the tees that best suit your game and you’re sure to have an enjoyable round.

At Sugar Valley Golf Club it’s more a case of knowing where to hit the ball on any given shot to avoid trouble and leave yourself the best angle into the green. Brains over brawn. One of the biggest things Sugar Valley has going for it is the elevation changes you’ll encounter as you make your way around, starting on the first hole with an approach shot to the par-5 green that plays totally uphill. Your round ends with a tee shot from one of the highest points on the course down to a wide fairway. It’s definitely a Kodak moment! The first three holes (par 5, par 4, and par 3) give you a good sense of what you’re in for as far as elevation changes. Even with the variations in height, many players choose to walk the course.

Several of the five par 3 holes are long: three measure near or over 200 yards from the Black tees. All of the par 3 greens are fronted by at least one bunker and are best approached through the air. The 174-yard, 17th hole is the only hole where water comes into play, and it really shouldn’t because it’s hardly visible from the Gold Tees.

If I were naming holes, the par 5, 7th hole would be called “Choose Wisely.” From the Gold Tees, the hole is dead straight and plays 563 yards. There is a giant tree in the middle of the fairway off the tee, so you need to decide if you are going to play left or right of it. Trees line both sides of the fairway and it’s about 275 yards to the big tree. Once you maneuver your way past the tree it’s clear sailing with no hazards – other than trees on either side – between you and the green. Hit it straight, make a putt and you too can tame this monster hole!

Number 11 is one of the more interesting holes on the layout. It’s a 505-yard par 5, with a sharp dogleg left. Longball hitters will have a chance to cut the dogleg and possibly get on in two. The rest of us should plan on playing a layup shot right of the fairway bunker which will leave a short pitch shot into a green fronted by bunkers on either side.

For me, Number 18 is the signature hole on the golf course. It’s a par 4 that plays 433 yards from the Gold Tees (I’ve played shorter par 5s). You play your tee shot from a very elevated tee box, downhill with a fairway bunker on the right side. A good drive is still going to leave a long iron or hybrid into a large green with a bunker front right and trees on the left. Par is a great way to end your round.

Across the street from the clubhouse is a full-length driving range where you can warm up before your round or hit balls all day trying to get rid of some bad habits. If you’re having trouble fixing those bad habits on your own, PGA Head Golf Professional Doug Wade is an accomplished teacher of the game and has logged countless hours of teaching over his career. Whether you’re new to the game or are looking to take your play to a whole new level, Doug can help you maximize your potential. The Sugar Valley website has some of Doug’s video pointers under the Lessons Tab.

As mentioned in its Mission Statement, Sugar Valley is big on hosting events. Their friendly and knowledgeable staff can help you plan your next outing and will take care of everything, from helping you with the organization and planning to handing out trophies after the event. Their large patio makes for a great outdoor venue, and they can handle events with up to 300 people. The club also offers a full catering menu to meet all your dining needs.

The Club has several options for hosting events, whether it’s an intimate gathering in the Pavilion or large wedding reception in the new Banquet Room. Sugar Valley’s new clubhouse offers both indoor and outdoor settings and its culinary staff can customize just about any menu. Their thoughtful attention to detail will make for a memorable event.

If you’re new to the area or just love golf and are looking to get some good exercise and meet some new friends, be sure to check out Spring Valley Golf Club. For more information, visit their website at www.sugarvalleygc.com.

Surprising Values on Golf Travel in Clarendon County, SC

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Clarendon County in South Carolina boasts one of the largest man-made lakes in the United States. Lake Marion was completed in 1941 as part of a national rural electrification initiative. Since the late 20th century, the dam’s generation of hydroelectric power has stimulated the economic development and industry in the region.

As you can imagine, fishing is popular in this part of the state. While the county is known for its championship-level catches of striped bass, Reader’s Digest magazine once rated Lake Marion as one of “America’s 100 Best” for fishing, specifically catfish. Recently, anglers from all over the country competed at the Bassmaster Elite Tournament.

Clarendon County sits tucked away between several well-known golf destinations and is home to some hidden gems. As a golfer, there are three courses in Clarendon County that you should know about.

Shannon Greens is the perfect golf course for those that are new to the game or are wanting to get in a good practice round. Experienced golfers will find that the greens are a little smaller which will test your accuracy. Several holes are short with hazards along the way, meaning you can’t hit your driver on every hole, so course management can become a challenge. Most of the greens are protected by bunkers, too. The 2nd hole is a challenging par 5 that plays 458 yards. It’s a dogleg left that doesn’t really turn until the end. Although short, getting there in two can be a challenge because of the stream that crosses in front of the green. Number 7 is the course’s signature hole and a little touch of TPC Sawgrass. It’s a 140-yard par 3 with an island green.

Nestled along the shores of Lake Marion you’ll find The Players Club at Wyboo. It’s probably the most player-friendly golf course in the area and is a tremendous reclamation story. The course originally opened in 1999 to rave reviews and a ton of play. Unfortunately, things were not always rosy and in 2015 the course closed. The Players Club is part of the Wyboo Plantation golf community and homeowners were horrified and afraid that without the course, their homes would lose a lot of value. In 2017, several residents and former members banded together and purchased the course back from the bank. After a lot of hard work by the owners and newly formed maintenance staff, The Players Club at Wyboo reopened and has been voted Best Golf Course in Clarendon County for the past 5 years by the Sumter Item newspaper.

The Players Club at Wyboo is currently semi-private, which is a unique way of saying it’s open to everyone. According to Head Golf Professional Taylor Smith, “It’s very player friendly, with large undulating greens and a lot of wooded terrain. There isn’t much sand or water on the course either, making it “maintenance-friendly!” Manicured fairways lead to smooth Tif-Eagle greens. What the course lacks in bunkers, it more than makes up for in rolling terrain and mounding, which can leave to the dreaded uneven lie.

Clarendon County saves the best for last. Wyboo Golf Club is an 18-hole layout designed by Tom Jackson. The club was recently awarded #16 of the 25 best courses in South Carolina by Golf Advisor. Several S.C. Amateur and junior events have been played here over the years. Wyboo Golf Club sits right across the street from The Players Club, so getting in 36 holes in a day is a breeze.

Although the course opened in 1999, golfers have been slow to discover this hidden gem. But according to Head Golf Professional, Victor Grubb that’s changing. Based on his attendance at winter consumer golf shows in several northern states, golfers are learning a lot more about the area. The destination has become especially popular with “snowbirds” who are on the way to Florida for the winter and stop over for a few days on their way down and on their way back. It makes sense and is a great way to add a little variety to your winter golf vacation.

What makes Wyboo Golf Club memorable is the layout and playing conditions which are unarguably the best in the area. It’s player-friendly with ample room off the tees, not an over-abundance of hazards, and remarkable greens that require a variety of approach shots. The club’s signature hole is the par3 13th, which plays 191 yards. It will take a long iron or hybrid shot off the tee into a green that is guarded by both a tree and bunker on the right and a pond on the left. Par is considered an achievement by many local golfers!

For me, getting out and exploring local “mom-and-pop” restaurants is a fringe benefit to what I do. Whether you’re looking for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, the restaurants in the area all offer something unique. Of course, you can never go wrong with breakfast at Shoney’s and their buffet!

Georgios is one exit down I-95 and has some of the best pizzas in the area. They also offer some delectable Italian food as well.

The Mill Street Grill features a laid-back atmosphere and some great food. Their deep-fried pickles were outstanding, and most entrees include at least one trip to a well-stocked salad bar. The menu features a little bit of everything from burgers and fries to prime rib on the weekend.

It’s easy to find lunch at one of these little hometown restaurants. Sub Station II is located near downtown Manning and serves some first-rate sandwiches: the meat is cut right in front of you. Their menu may seem somewhat limited but no matter what you order, it’ll taste great.

Currently, none of the local Clarendon County golf courses offer any lodging. A great hotel just off I-95 is the Hampton Inn. Rooms are spacious, comfortable, and well equipped with cable TV and coffee makers – two of my hotel necessities. They offer a complimentary breakfast buffet with both hot and cold items, fruits, yogurts, breads, and pastries. They are also centrally located; less than 15 minutes to each course.

Burger Chick was my favorite; the servings were plentiful and delicious. My wife went for the giant hamburger basket and said it was one of the best burgers she has had in a while. I had the two-piece fish dinner and had trouble finishing it. Their cole slaw is incredible!

If these golf courses were in a more populated area, they would probably receive a lot more play. That’s good news for golf travelers, who will find that booking tee times and lodging is easy and inexpensive. For more information on your next golf – or fishing – vacation to Clarendon County, SC, visit www.clarendoncounty.com.

Heritage Golf Group – A Trio of Premier Private Clubs in Southwest Florida

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Heritage Golf Group has come a long way since new owners took over the company a couple of years ago. Mark Burnett, Jim Oliver, and Andy Miller have more than 90 years of combined experience in the golf industry, primarily in club acquisition, operations, membership, and redevelopment.  Since purchasing Heritage Golf in 2020, they have grown the number of clubs in their portfolio from 6 to 23 with plans to add several more in 2022. Burnett and Miller came over from ClubCorp, Oliver from Arcis Golf, and along the way, they have cherry-picked top personnel from their previous companies to form a “supergroup” of club management and staff. Many of the people I met and spoke with in my tour of their three southwest Florida clubs were from one of the two companies.

Head south along the I-75 corridor in Florida and you’ll encounter three of Heritage’s top-notch private golf clubs: TPC Prestancia in Sarasota, home to an 18-hole Ron Garl championship golf course and an 18-hole Robert Von Hagge layout, the Chip Powell-designed Venetian Golf Club in Venice with its generous fairways framed with natural-looking mounds and strategically placed bunkers and another 27-hole Chip Powell layout in Fort Myers at the Club at Pelican Preserve.

TPC Prestancia is part of the legendary Tournament Players Club Network. It’s located in Palmer Ranch, one of the most successful master-planned communities on Florida’s West Coast, and is the centerpiece of fourteen exclusive residential communities within the gates. Besides 36 holes of championship golf, the community boasts an assortment of recreational facilities that will meet the exercise needs of just about anyone with several swimming pools, as well as health and fitness facilities.

The Stadium Course was designed by Ron Garl and TOUR Player Mike Souchak. Since opening in 1985, the course has hosted PGA Senior events including 8 Chrysler Cup Tournaments and 5 American Express Invitational Championships. PGA TOUR greats such as Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, and Chi Chi Rodriguez, have all played here.

Inspired by TPC Sawgrass, the course allows for gallery viewing along the hills that line the expansive fairways. Even though the back tees measure 6,941 yards from the Black Tees the course is more about shot-making than “grip it and rip it.” The scorecard shows 8 different yardages for men and women so everyone can play from a suitable distance and still leave with a little dignity. The Stadium Course is a favorite of both members and guests.

The 18th hole will put your shot-making abilities to the test. The hole plays 363 yards from the Blue Tees and most players will hit something less than a driver off the tee. Hit your tee shot too far right and you’ll be blocked out by trees. A well-executed tee shot of about 230 yards will leave around 140-150 yards over water into a green that is very wide, not very deep, and fronted by a waste bunker along the water’s edge. It’s a tremendous but fair finishing hole.

The 2nd course at TPC Prestancia is The Players Course which was once part of The Country Club of Sarasota. It was designed by legendary golf architect, Robert Von Hagge, and PGA TOUR player Bruce Devlin. Here you’ll find holes lined with giant oaks, doglegs in both directions, and a few forced carries over the wet stuff. During the 2017-2018 season, the course underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation and provides an enjoyable experience for all who play.

The clubhouse is undergoing a renovation of its own and is currently in Phase II. The goal is to create a space that combines Florida’s sunshine and vibrant color palette with classic architecture, creating a place where members can dine, entertain, and socialize. Upgrades are being made to both the Sandhill Grille and the main dining room. The practice facilities are also getting an overhaul and will feature a full-length driving range, short game areas, and chipping and putting greens. The new putting course will mimic every putt you will encounter during your round.

A few exits south on I-75 you’ll find the Venetian Golf Club. Venetian offers one of the area’s most dynamic golf experiences and has by far one of the most interesting greens I have ever played on. The Club opened in 2003 and was designed by native Floridian Chip Powell. According to a few members I spoke with including “The Mayor,” the course was in pretty rough shape when the new Heritage Golf Group stepped in and immediately spent more than $1 million on course improvements.  The Mayor remarked that “General Manager Jay Pittman and his staff have done a remarkable job of restoring the club to its former glory.”

The course offers generous fairways that are framed with mounds, grassy hollows, and strategically placed bunkers. The TifEagle greens roll firm and true and are a joy to putt on. It’s a course that will test all aspects of your game: mental, physical, shot-making, and, of course, putting!

Speaking of putting, I have never encountered a green that rivals the 11th. It’s a “Biarritz” green, which I believe is a foreign word for “golf roller coaster!” The hole is a par 3 which plays 178 yards into a long narrow green that looks like someone dug a channel through the middle of it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s meticulously maintained, but if the pin is in the back and you don’t bother to check your yardage before your tee shot, you can end up on the front of the green. From up here, the putt requires almost a full hip turn to make it down the hill and back up the hill to the proper level. It’s one of the most enjoyable par 3s I’ve ever played.

The Club at Pelican Preserve is a private, gated community that features indoor and outdoor dining areas, a fitness center, and private event spaces. The centerpiece of the community is 27 holes of championship golf designed by Chip Powell. As you play your way around any of the three 9-hole layouts, you’ll notice that everything is natural. Whether it’s a nature preserve or one of the many water hazards you play around, or one of the many sand and grass hollows you’ll see, everything seems like it was meant to be there. Meticulously maintained fairways with generous landing areas lead to TifEagle “Ultradwarf” greens with gentle undulations and contours. Each of the nines will challenge you but not beat you up!

The practice facilities at The Club consist of a full-length aqua range and practice greens with bunkers so that you can work on all facets of your short game. As a Member, you’ll enjoy the convenience of golf club storage, club cleaning, and repair.

Of course, membership does have its privileges. Heritage Golf Group’s portfolio of courses and private clubs extends well beyond Florida and into North and South Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, New York, and New Jersey. Heritage takes the club experience to the highest level by offering golf members, experiences at all of their private, resort, and daily fee facilities by upgrading to the Heritage Plus membership, which is currently in pilot at three clubs with plans to roll out to all participating Heritage clubs later this fall.  There is an upper-tier category available at the TPC facility in Sarasota or Tampa, where you can also be part of the TPC Passport program with benefits that reach far beyond your home club to such places as TPC Sawgrass and TPC Scottsdale. For a complete list of all of the clubs within the rapidly growing Heritage Golf Group’s portfolio or to learn how to become a member, visit their website at www.heritagegolfgroup.com.

TimberStone Golf Course at Pine Mountain – The Best Golf Michigan Has to Offer

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If you want to play the best golf in the state of Michigan, head north, past Gaylord and Traverse City. Go over the Mackinac Bridge, and then take Route 2 West to Iron Mountain where you will find TimberStone. It’s even easier to get to if you live in Wisconsin; most of the license plates we saw in the parking lot were from the Badger State.

TimberStone is the golf part of the Pine Mountain Ski & Golf Resort. Pine Mountain offers the best of both worlds to sports enthusiasts in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula; it’s a ski resort in the winter and a golf resort in the summer. The golf course is located a few minutes away from the Inn and condos, which sit at the foot of the ski hill and chair lifts.

Pine Mountain Resorts offers guests both hotel accommodations in The Lodge as well as several condo accommodations for larger groups. Condos are spacious and well equipped. The main dining venue is Famers Restaurant, which also happens to be the Upper Peninsula’s Sports Hall of Fame. There is sports memorabilia throughout the restaurant from many different sports. Famers is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and has some of the best prime rib I have ever had!

TimberStone Golf Course was designed by renowned Michigan golf architect Jerry Matthews and opened for play in 1997.  TimberStone was awarded 5 Stars in Golf Digest’s Places to play in 2008 and remains the area’s only 5-star golf course.

Six sets of tees provide suitable playing yardages for every level of golfer. From the Back tees, TimberStone plays 6,937 yards with a course rating of 74.5 and a slope of 150. I found that the Forward tees (6038 yards/69.6/137) provided a substantial test and still let me leave with a little dignity. Ladies typically play from the Stone tees (5,060/64.6/129). Choose the tees that best suit your game and you’re in for a really good time!

The layout winds its way up and over and down and around mountainous terrain and features perfectly manicured and tree-lined fairways. Water comes into play on six holes and the majority of greens are protected by challenging bunkers. Most of the trouble you can get into (i.e., woods, water, and sand) is plainly visible as you play. You won’t find a tremendous number of bunkers out here but what you will find is that they come into play quite often. We all know it’s easier to play a shot from the fairway than the rough. While it’s easy to find your ball in the rough at TimberStone, the grass is so thick and lush that it can hinder shots, and “flyers” are common. The putting greens roll quick and true and range from fairly flat to extremely undulated.

Just about every hole has some elevation change in it, so the course is going to play longer than stated on the scorecard. Although trees line both sides of the fairway on the majority of holes, most fairways are generous and can easily be found off the tee. However, the shapes and angles of the greens make approach shots a little more difficult; getting it close is even tougher.

Most courses have at least one hole that dwells in your memory bank for a while; TimberStone has several. Number 3 at TimberStone is the first part five on the course and plays 455 yards from the Blue Tees. The entire hole is tree-lined on either side, which is probably where it gets its name from – Arboretum. The fairway is wide and both sides tend to filter the ball back to the center. However, if your shot has enough momentum and carries up the hill on the right and into the woods, just go ahead and retee! A well-struck drive down the left center of the fairway will allow you to go for the green in two so hit away and have some fun off the tee. The green is slightly elevated and generous, however, the back 3rd of the green drops significantly and is no fun to putt from above the hole.

Number 16 at TimberStone is a beautiful 370-yard par 4 that plays downhill off the tee with a fairway bunker on the left that needs to be avoided at all costs. Your approach shot plays back uphill and is pretty much a blind shot. There is a lot of mounding in the fairways and the green is extremely elevated. It’s also one of the largest greens I’ve seen. It’s not that wide – maybe 30 yards, but measures over 60 yards (not feet) from front to back. Par is a good score here! There are no bunkers around the green but with everything else the hole has to offer, who needs sand?

The final two holes are signature-hole-worthy! The 17th hole at TimberStone shows up as a 175-yard par 3 from the blue Tees on the scorecard, however, it is straight downhill and plays considerably less. The elevation drop from the back tee to the green is 110 vertical feet. The information provided on the scorecard is a valuable asset to aid in your club selection. Look at the tops of the trees to find which way the wind is blowing; it can play some nasty tricks on the ball once it gets above the tree line.

Number 18 is a treat! From the clubhouse, you get a good view of the 18th fairway and how the rock walls create different “layers” of the fairway. It’s important to find one of these layers on your tee shot so that you will have a level lie for your layup shot.  From the Blue Tees, the hole plays 521 yards again, straight downhill. Your tee shot is a blind shot; just keep it between the trees that frame either side of the fairway and you’ll be OK.  A good layup shot will leave a short pitch shot into a green with water on the right. Two more holes where par is considered an achievement!

The practice facility at TimberStone is second to none and has one of the most beautiful practice greens I’ve ever seen. The greens are what make this course, so be sure to spend a little time on them before you play.

A few steps from the putting green is the driving range which is long enough to hit every club in your bag. Keep in mind that this course is more about finesse and placement rather than a grip it and rip it mentality.

One of the highlights of your round at TimberStone is the food.  It’s not your usual clubhouse food and there isn’t a lot to choose from on the menu. What you’ll find is a gas grill on the front porch of the log cabin clubhouse. You can smell the burgers and brats as you pull up.  The meats are freshly grilled as are the pretzel rolls and hot dog buns. It is simple and delicious; simply delicious!

Step past the grill into the clubhouse and you’ll find a spacious pro shop with a full liquor bar and all kinds of logoed gear to help you remember your round at TimberStone. For more information on this fabulous golf resort or to book your next visit, visit them online at www.timberstonegolfcourse.com.

Golf at The Homestead Resort in Virginia Has a Special Place in History

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The Homestead Resort has been a part of Omni Hotels and Resorts since 2013 and is a one-of-a-kind property in Hot Springs, Virginia especially if you enjoy outdoor activities. Several management and investment companies have owned the resort, and each has left its mark, but Omni has taken it to a whole new level. In 2016 The Homestead Resort earned an accolade that is virtually unheard of for any hotel, inn, or resort located in the United States—a 250th anniversary! The Historic Hotels of America is proud to count the Homestead Resort as one of its charter members.

The Homestead is a year-round resort. In the warm spring, summer, and most of the fall months, guests enjoy a plethora of outdoor activities including hiking, swimming, archery, shooting, falconry, tennis, and, of course, golf. In the winter, The Homestead becomes a ski resort, in fact, the oldest ski resort in Virginia. Other winter activities include snowboarding, snow tubing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ice skating, and snowmobiling.

With plenty to do here, golf still seems to be the main attraction, and rightfully so. The Homestead is home to two high-caliber golf courses: The Old Course and The Cascades. Collectively, both courses have been around for over 200 years, yet have stood the test of time. Names such as Donald Ross, Robert Trent Jones, William Flynn, and Rees Jones have built and rebuilt them. They have been updated and restored over the years including lengthening and adapting to keep up with changes in golf equipment technology.

One of the most famous golfers to ever play on the PGA Tour, Sam Snead, lived in or near Hot Springs for his entire life, and for several decades was the Homestead’s golf pro. The Sam Snead Tavern – adjacent to The Homestead – contains memorabilia from his career. Rumor has it that Sneed landed the head pro job after he gave one of the member’s wives a lesson and she told the owners it was the best golf lesson she had ever had. He was offered the job the next day!

The Old Course was the resort’s first course and was established in 1892 when the first 6 holes were opened for play. That first hole is still in use today, making it the oldest first tee in continuous use in the nation. The Old Course also has the distinction of being the place where the first sitting President of the United States, William McKinley, played golf. The Old Course became a 9-hole layout in 1896 and expanded to 18 holes and 6,000 yards in 1901. Donald Ross was brought in to redesign the course in 1916 and added his signature contoured fairways and smaller, saucer-shaped greens. It’s unique in that it has 6 par 3s, 6 par 4s, and 6 par 5s.

The Old Course is a true Donald Ross course that will test your shot-making ability. Thanks to a stellar maintenance crew, the course is always in top condition; fairways are thick and green, and the putting surfaces roll quick and true. Tree-lined fairways test your accuracy off the tee and the contouring of the fairway leads to many uneven lies. There’s a lot of elevation change on several holes so a rangefinder with slope is a handy tool to have. The first three holes play uphill.

One of the most memorable holes is Number 13, a long, sweeping dogleg right par 5 that starts from an elevated tee box. Your tee shot plays downhill into a fairway that slopes from left to right which can help save tee shots headed left. Keep your layup shot in play and you should have a short pitch shot into another small green protected front right by sand.

In 1919 things were going so well at the resort that they decided a second course was needed. A nearby farm that was owned by New York stockbroker Jacob Rubino was the chosen site for this new course. Several architects visited the site including A.W. Tillinghast, and all said the land was not suitable for golf. After studying the area, golf course architect William S. Flynn – known for his ability to take seemingly unplayable terrain and turn it into a memorable golf layout – felt that if the adjoining parcel of land could be purchased, plans to move forward with an 18-hole championship golf course could proceed. The land was purchased and on September 12, 1923, construction began on The Cascades.

Thanks to the routing skills of William Flynn, the Cascades is annually ranked as one of the top courses in the country. Because of the routing, a full variety of shot-making is required, and Flynn’s courses will test a player’s accuracy, carry, and length.

The Cascades is a unique layout for a couple of reasons. First, there are no houses on the course. Second, a mountain stream winds its way throughout the layout, bringing water into play on a few holes. Third, the course finishes 3-5-5-3. Enough said!

Course knowledge goes a long way in scoring well on the Cascades too. For example, golfers with course knowledge of The Cascades know that on the 274-yard par 4 3rd hole, the club to hit off the tee is NOT driver! Those of us with little or no course knowledge will try and force a driver between the trees on either side of the fairway. The green is perched upon a shelf, hence the name “Shelf.” Any approach shot that does not make it up the hill onto the putting surface may well roll back down.

The last four holes can make or break a great round. Number 15, “Vanity Fair” plays over 200 yards from any of the three Men’s Tees and doesn’t have a lot of trouble, other than its length.

Number 16, “The Hemlocks,” is a dogleg right par 5 that plays 488 yards from the White Tees and is one of the most photographed holes on the course. It’s not the longest par 5 but the dammed – or damned, if you hit into it – creek that runs in front of the green will have you thinking about going for it in two.

Number 17, “Cress Lakes,” is a dogleg left par 5 that plays 481 yards with that same creek running all the way down the right. Play your tee shot down the right side and leave yourself a clear shot into the green which is reachable with a good drive.

Number 18 is fittingly named “Taps.” It’s a 165-yard par 5 that plays slightly uphill to a large, well-undulated green. Par is a great way to end your round.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing golf getaway with your spouse, or you’re the person in charge of planning golf trips, there are several reasons to consider The Omni Homestead Resort. First, obviously, is the tremendous golf courses and the opportunity to play on courses that have hosted a number of professional and national tournaments and championships. It’s not often you’ll find two courses of this caliber that both end with a par 3! Best of all, you don’t have to be an elite golfer to enjoy the courses. And, when things aren’t going well on the course, just look around and take in everything you see. I played in the spring and with tall trees everywhere, I can only imagine how beautiful it is in the fall.

Secondly, there is a lot more to a “golf vacation” these days than golf. The Homestead has so much more to offer such as a refreshing bath in the mineral springs and the opportunity to shoot clays at the home of the 199U.S. Open Sporting Clays Championship. Or take an electric mountain bike ride around the property. And we haven’t even mentioned the dining opportunities at the resort which are numerous.

Most importantly are the people at the Omni Homestead Resort. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and will treat you better than the golf courses will! Give them a call at (800) 838-1766 or visit them online at www.thehomestead.com. They have some great specials for couples and golf groups.

Lake Toxaway Country Club – The Area’s Prettiest Course with the Best Amenities

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Lake Toxaway Country Club has a very interesting past. It all started in the early 1900s when a group of investors from Pittsburgh formed the Toxaway Company. After foregoing their initial plan to mine the land, they took on an even bigger project: damming the Toxaway River and creating a vacation paradise at Lake Toxaway. A few years after the dam was built and the lake was created, they built the Toxaway Inn and a 9-hole golf course, which played host to the likes of Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, R.J. Reynolds, and the Vanderbilts.

In 1916 two hurricanes brought an overwhelming amount of rain which led to the bursting of the Lake Toxaway Dam, thus burying the hotel and golf club. With no more lake, the vacation industry in the area dried up as well and the Toxaway Inn never reopened. In the late 1940s, the structure was torn down and the Inn’s contents were auctioned off.

Fast forward to 1960. Reg Heinitsh, Sr., and a group of investors came up with the idea of restoring the area to its turn-of-the-century appeal. They formed the Lake Toxaway Company and bought up 9,000 acres of property around the old lakebed at an average price of $50 per acre. They cleared the area where the lake had been, rebuilt the dam, and restored the lake to its original level, 3,010 feet above sea level. They began selling parcels of land around the lake as private home sites and gave property owners access to the private lake. Then in 1963, the Lake Toxaway Country Club was built and today, the Country Club is surrounded by a thriving community of almost 1,100 homes in a community surrounded by Hawk Mountain, Panthertail Mountain, Cold Mountain, and Mount Toxaway, along with several wilderness areas totaling more than 10,000 acres. The Heinitsh family still owns the country club to this day.

Although the lake and the golf course share the spotlight as the centerpiece of the community, the club’s newest amenity isn’t far behind. The Lake Club takes full advantage of the natural drop in elevation as you move toward the lake and in February 2021, the club was awarded 2nd Place by Golf Inc. Magazine for the 2021 Best New Amenities Competition. It’s the perfect location and offers an unobstructed view of the lake. The new 3,000-square-foot heated pool has a wading shelf, bubblers, and a perimeter overflow edge. There are two strategically placed lap lanes marked across the bottom of the pool which is also well-suited for water aerobics. The pool deck provides ample opportunities to soak up some rays and sit with family and friends under shaded umbrellas with plenty of lounging space. The deck area is huge and is perfect for private parties, gatherings, and meeting friends.

There’s a new bath house located on the pool terrace with restrooms, lockers, and an outdoor shower. Adjacent to the pool is the Youth Activities building which offers a safe gathering place for the younger crowd. Inside you’ll find air hockey and ping-pong tables and an assortment of other games. You’ll also see a new sidewalk and landscaped entrance with a gate as you walk into the pool area.

In the event you get hungry lying in the sun, the Lake Club Grille overlooks the pool and serves many purposes. Not only is it the perfect place for sunbathers to get a bit to eat while at the pool, but it also serves as a halfway house for golfers making the turn and those visiting by boat. The Grille serves a casual fare along with pizza and a full liquor license, all in a relaxed atmosphere. You’ll see patrons in bathing suits, flip-flops, golf attire, and deck shoes.

The 18-hole championship golf course at Lake Toxaway Country Club underwent a $9 million course renovation project at the hands of golf course architect Kris Spence in 2008. Not only did he rebuild greens and tees – he totally changed 14 holes, bringing the golf course at Lake Toxaway Country Club to a new level. I never played the course prior to the renovation but members I spoke with said that it took the course and the club to a whole new level. Apparently, the new layout is a lot more challenging and is no longer considered a quaint mountain golf course. Regardless of how good or bad you play the mountain views are spectacular at every turn.

The course features beautifully manicured Bentgrass greens, tees, and fairways, with bluegrass roughs and some attractive tall fescue native areas. Although it’s considered a mountain golf course, most holes play downhill or from elevated tee boxes, making it enjoyable for everyone, regardless of their skill level. Wide fairways and a lot of easy-to-find bailout areas make the course fun for beginners while low handicappers who appreciate a good risk/reward opportunity or hitting a challenging shot into a well-protected green. The course is fun to play regardless of your ability and, from what I saw, it’s quite walkable.

The first hole is one that I will remember for a while, not for its difficulty but for its beauty. It’s a 362-yard, par 4, dogleg right that starts with a tee shot over a creek and pond on the right side with trees on the left. There are a couple of bunkers on the right just past the creek. A good drive will leave an uphill shot with a short iron or wedge into the green. Front pin placements can be deceiving; whatever you do, take enough club to reach the middle of the green, regardless of pin position. There’s a false front and anything hit on the front part of the green will roll back down, picking up speed as it goes and leaving a difficult up and down to save par. It’s one of the best starting holes in the area.

Lake Toxaway Country Club has one of the best practice and learning facilities in the area, if not the state. The Tom Fazio Golf Learning Center is a 20-acre facility and a great place to introduce young family members to the game and hone your skills. The Club’s team of PGA Professionals offers a comprehensive player development program using Trackman swing analysis. They offer custom club fitting services and ongoing training programs. After a vigorous practice session, members can enjoy their favorite beverages at the Learning Center’s open-air pavilion overlooking the facility.

Lake Toxaway Country Club is a private country club with a full membership and a waiting list. However, there are a couple of ways to get on the course. The first is to rent a home in the community. Guests staying in certain rental homes enjoy access to all the amenities of the Country Club. The second option involves less of a commitment. The nearby Greystone Inn offers a Par-fect Golf Getaway Package that includes a two-night hotel stay, a round of golf for two, and a host of other hotel amenities. The Greystone Inn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has enjoyed tremendous success. It has been featured in more than 200 magazine and newspaper articles in the US and abroad. It’s a hotel stay you won’t soon forget.

The Lake Toxaway Country Club website has links to the Greystone Inn and property rentals. Visit them at www.laketoxawaycc.com.

KINONA Women’s Golf Apparel Adds New Styles and Prints To Their 2022 Collections

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Want to add flair and style to your golf wardrobe and look good at the same time? It’s a yes with KINONA’s Smooth Your Waist Crop Pants. These pants are stylish and provide a perfect shape flattering fit. These pants are sewn from their Italian fabric with a nylon/lycra blend that finds the thin line between compression and comfort as you move. They’re fashionable enough for a day on the links or for everyday activities. The UPF 50+ sun protection keeps the sun’s harmful rays at bay and the moisture-wicking and antimicrobial properties keep you dry and fresh as a daisy. The Smooth Your Waist Crop Golf Pants are currently available in sizes XXS – XXL and in Navy Blue, Black, or an eye-popping Picnic Plaid.

KINONA’s On Par line has been around for a while; after all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! The latest iteration of this classic sleeveless golf top has a great sporty look with a high V-neck and johnny collar that looks great on its own or layered under your favorite long sleeve top. The top features KINONA’s Italian fabric with 4-way stretch and all of the great garment technology you’ve come to expect from KINONA along with some sporty piping detail. The On Par Sleeveless Golf Top is currently available in sizes XXS-XXL and in Lemon Yellow, Navy Blue, and Go Go Gingham.

Looking for a super flattering easy-to-wear dress? Sculpting and comfortable describes KINONA’s new Walk in the Park sleeveless golf dress. The dress is made from KINONA’s Italian fabric with 4-way stretch, and is antimicrobial, has UPF 50+ protection, and is moisture-wicking. It also features a 1/4 zip closure and two zippered pockets with built-in tee holders. All KINONA golf dresses come with a mesh shortie in grey or white with leg grippers to keep everything where it should be, and a built-in ball pocket. The Walk in the Park Sleeveless Golf Dress is currently available in sizes XXS _ XXL and in Go Go Gingham and Navy Blue.

KINONA’s new Tough in the Rough Short Sleeve Golf Shirt has a snap front closure and can be worn tucked in or out. The princess seaming gives you great shape and the 4-way stretch of KINONA’s Italian fabric moves with you through every phase of your golf swing. It will also help keep you smelling fresh, dry, and protected from the sun The Tough in the Rough Short Sleeve Golf Shirt is currently available in sizes XXS – XXL and in the Vinca Print and Picnic Plaid.

If you prefer to be a bit more buttoned up, the Tailored and Trim Golf Shorts are a perfect match. The 8″ inseam on these golf shorts look like classic fly-front shorts but are actually a pull-on design. The 4-way stretch fabric moves with you and has all of the garment technology you’d expect from KINONA. The crisp seam down the front will have you looking great and feeling put-together, even on the hottest days. The Tailored and Trim Golf Shorts are currently available in sizes XXS – XXL and in Go Go Gingham, Cherry Red, Lattice Navy Blue, Navy Blue, and Black.

With its 1/4 zip collar and Navy Blue trim detail, KINONA’s Gimme Putt Golf Top presents a great alternative to that every day, run-of-the-mill golf polo. Made from KINONA’s Italian fabric with 4-way stretch, the top has built-in UPF 50+ sun protection, is antimicrobial, and is moisture wicking. The top is currently available in sizes XXS – XXL and in Fairway Green and White.

These are just a few of the new pieces available this year from KINONA. To see the entire collection, visit them online at www.kinonasport.com.

Kenny Perry’s Country Creek Golf Course: Fun, Challenging, and Enjoyed By All Who Play Here

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Most golfers who have followed the PGA TOUR for any length of time are familiar with the name Kenny Perry, after all, he’s won more than 20 professional tournaments on the PGA and PGA Champions Tours. What they may not be aware of is a golf course that Kenny designed and built; he still owns it to this day. I’m talking about Kenny Perry’s Country Creek Golf Course in his hometown of Franklin, KY.

Perry literally grew up at Franklin Country Club; his family lived on the golf course. While it was great to have easy access to the course, it frustrated Kenny that it was a private club, which prevented him from inviting friends that weren’t members. He vowed that if he ever made it as a professional golfer, he was going to build a public golf course in Franklin KY where everyone would be welcome.

Kenny spent his high school years golfing at Paxton Park in Paducah, KY, a local municipal course that he loved. When building Country Creek, his goal was to create a course like Paxton Park in Franklin, KY. Perry intentionally designed a friendly, enjoyable course that the average golfer could play in a reasonable amount of time.

Construction of the golf course began in 1992 and it officially opened for play in 1995. Country Creek is built on 300 acres of rolling Kentucky hillside in Franklin, KY. Fairways and greens are vibrant green, lush, and healthy. As Perry says, “There are some tough holes, some drivable holes, and some easy holes. The golf course won’t beat you up; at least it’s not designed to.” Because it is designed for high handicappers in the 15 – 30 range, there is very little trouble on the right side of most holes, making it very slicer friendly.  He accomplished his goal of making the course affordable and accessible to everyone with a weekend rate of only $42.00 and an average 18-hole play time of 4 hours and 15 minutes.

Country Creek offers golfers three sets of tees. From the Blue Tees, Country Creek plays 6,633 yards with a course rating of 71.3 and a slope of 122. The White Tees play 5,870 yards (67.8/116) and the Red Tees play 4,901 yards (67.7/113). No matter your level of talent, you’re sure to find a yardage that will make your round enjoyable.

Kenny Perry’s Country Creek Golf Couse has several memorable holes. If I were naming holes, Number 2 would be called “Deception.” It’s a short, 294-yard par 4. The thing about this hole is that the fairway slopes to the right and there are several trees in the landing area; trees that tend to keep golf balls. Keep your ball in play off the tee and you’ll be looking at a short pitch shot into a well-elevated green. There are only a few bunkers on the entire course and two of them guard the right side of this green!

Number 7 is a short, 470-yard par 5 dogleg left. Most amateur golfers will be best suited to play their tee shot down the right side of the fairway. That will leave a downhill approach shot with a long to mid-iron into a green that slopes front to back. There is a lake behind the green so going long is not an option. From the White Tees, the hole is short and will give up low numbers.

Course knowledge is everything. When I finally caught up with Kenny Perry, he was heading to the 7th tee. To the left of the fairway are a lot of large trees and a barn that has been there since before he bought the property. For most players, your tee shot is a blind shot – unless you’re the guy who built the course and knows where to hit it. Perry took a line directly over the barn and the trees and after he hit it, he knew it was somewhere up around the green. It was a line that the average golfer wouldn’t consider – let alone try and pull off!

The par 3 8th hole plays 199 yards from the Blue Tees. From back here there doesn’t seem to be anything between you and the green; it’s just a long tee shot. Move up to the White Tees (137 yards) and the lake in front of the green comes into full view. Regardless of where you play from, hit a good tee shot and you’ll be saying “What water?” The green is shallow, so distance control is important. Par is a good score here.

Number 10 is a legitimate par 5. This 473-yard (White Tees) dogleg left starts with a tee shot over a ravine, then it’s two more shots straight away to the green. Hit it straight, keep the ball in play and you can score well.

Number 12 is an interesting tee shot from an elevated tee over a ravine and downhill to a wide-open fairway. From there it’s a short chip shot to an elevated green.

The finishing hole is a 399-yard par 4 that’s a slight dogleg left. Your tee shot plays slightly downhill and then your approach is slightly uphill into a large green that slopes back to front. It’s a fitting end to a great day and also rated the toughest hole on the backside.

Director of Golf Operations, Marty Sharer, is who Perry credits with resurrecting the golf course when they were going through some lean times. Sharer also serves on the County’s Tourism board. The Franklin area is primarily known for three things: The Mint Gaming Hall, which also features a horse racing track, the Dueling Grounds Bourbon Distillery, and Kenny Perry’s Country Creek Golf Course.

People come from all over to play this golf course and why not? It’s a lot of fun for the average golfer. According to Sharer, they get a lot of play in the spring from northerners who are looking to get on a course after being cooped up for the winter without having to drive to Florida. And with gas prices the way they are these days, who can blame them?

Sharer is often asked about the stay and play packages, but unfortunately, they are not aligned with any other courses or hotels at this time. But look for that to change in the future. Sharer’s parents own The Arling, a wedding and event venue next door, and they plan on building a few cottages for their wedding business. Golf packages could help keep them occupied during the week.

The golf course is open year-round, excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas, weather permitting. Winter golfers are typically Canadians and those from the northern states that drive south just far enough to play golf without making the pilgrimage to Florida. The course is right off Interstate 65 about 45 minutes from downtown Nashville.

For more information on Kenny Perry’s Country Creek Golf Course or to book your next round of golf, visit them online at www.kpcountrycreek.com.

Salem Glen Country Club: Come Play the Only Jack Nicklaus Course In the Triad Area

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Salem Glen Country Club is one of Central North Carolina’s premier golf destinations and home to the only Jack Nicklaus Design in the Triad area. Over the years Salem Glen has garnered national acclaim by earning a prestigious 4-star ranking as one of Golf Digest’s Best Places to Play. Year after year local golfers and visitors alike rate it as one of the best golf courses in the area.

Nicklaus had a beautiful piece of property to work with and took full advantage of the natural terrain, including over 150 feet of elevation changes, four and a half miles of creeks, and nine lakes. The front nine is more of a links-style layout with five holes set in the Yadkin River basin. As you make your way around the outward nine, you’ll find generous fairways and strategically placed water hazards.

The first hole plays 395 yards and begins with a blind tee shot followed by an approach that plays significantly downhill into a green that is a lot wider than it is deep. If you hit it long, you may get lucky and get a kick back down the hill onto the putting surface.

The 4th hole is Salem Glen’s signature hole and features the most significant elevation change of any hole on the course. It’s a 529-yard par 5 that starts from an elevated tee box and requires you to avoid a creek that meanders down the left side as well as trees on the left. Play your tee shot out towards the fairway bunkers on the right. Your next shot requires a decision to try and carry the lake or layup short of it. The wise play for most is to layup and leave yourself around a 100-yard approach shot.

The back nine is more of what you’d expect from a golf course in this part of the country. Holes are tree-lined and mountainous with dramatic elevation changes including a tee shot that must carry a 70-foot-deep ravine.

Number 11 is a very picturesque hole, especially from the elevated back tees. It’s a short, 328-yard par 4 with hills and trees on the left and a pond, sand, and lone pine tree on the right to frame the fairway. The hills on the left side can be carried by long-ball hitters. Shorter hitters will find that these hills can also push your tee shot back into the fairway. You want to keep your tee shot left to take the water and fairway bunker on the right out of play and give yourself a clear approach shot to the green. The green slopes right to left.

The 13th hole is a breathtaking 355-yard par 4 that starts from an extremely elevated tee box and plays downhill. Your approach shot plays uphill and at least one extra club. A bunker guards the left side of the green which slopes right to left and is one of the smallest putting surfaces on the course.

What goes up must come down and after an uphill climb on the 13th hole, Number 14 is a 550-yard par 5 that plays downhill, over a ravine. Since it does play downhill, a good drive will leave a decision whether to go for the green on your 2nd shot. Should you decide to gamble, you’ll need to carry the wetlands that front this shallow green cut into the hillside.

The 17th hole is a scenic and difficult par 3 that plays 172 yards from the Blue tees. The hole plays slightly downhill and is flanked by creeks in front and behind the large green. It seems to be the Member’s favorite.

Salem Glen is a course designed for players who love the game and offers fun and excitement for players of all skill levels.

There are five sets of tees ranging from the Gold Tees which play 6,714 yards with a course rating of 73.1 and a slope of 138 to the Red Tees (4,606/68/118). The Blue Tees (6,297/71.2/134) provided a good test of golf and still let me leave with a little dignity.

Salem Glen is just a short drive from several North Carolina metropolitan areas including Winston-Salem, Greensboro, High Point, and Lexington.

Salem Glen is becoming a popular place to host events because they can accommodate events from 8 to 200 people regardless of the time of year. Indoor and outdoor event space is available year-round and is the perfect venue for weddings, rehearsal dinners, corporate events, golf outings, or family gatherings. The golf facility is quickly becoming the area’s number one choice for golf outings large and small. Each year they host hundreds of corporate outings, charitable and non-profit fund-raisers, and get-togethers for small businesses or groups of friends. Whether you’re looking to put together a golf event for you and your buddies or you are wanting to construct a charity event, Salem Glen’s professional and dedicated staff will help ensure that your day is enjoyable and fondly remembered by all who attend.

The Golf Shop carries a wide selection of all the latest and greatest golf apparel, shoes, equipment, and accessories. Choose from top brands and models from Callaway, TaylorMade, and Titleist. If you time it just right, you may just catch a Demo Day and hit one of these fine companies’ new gear. And Salem Glen’s Director of Instruction, Jimmy McMullen can help you fine-tune every aspect of your game. He has been helping golfers from across the Carolinas play better golf and have more fun.

If you live in the area and want to take full advantage of everything Salem Glen has to offer, consider becoming a member. And, since Salem Glen Golf and Country Club is privately owned, members are never assessed any operating or capital assessments expenses.

Jack’s Grille and The Grille at the Glen are perfect venues for everything food and drink-related; from a romantic dinner with that special person to hanging out with friends. Both offer a bright and inviting atmosphere, delicious cuisine, full bar service, and an extensive wine list. For golfers on the go, the Quick Turn Menu offers hot dogs, wraps, and sandwiches including an all-time family favorite, the Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich. After your round come in and fuel up on a full lunch menu that includes appetizers such as Loaded Potato Chips and entrees that include salads, pizzas, and burgers. Dinner is served Wednesday – Sunday and includes dishes such as Pan Seared Grouper and Grilled Angus Filet Mignon. No matter what you order you won’t leave hungry.

Salem Glen offers a variety of memberships including Full Golf, Junior Golf, Senior Golf, Pool, and Social Memberships. As a Member, you’ll be entitled to unlimited access to the practice facility and golf course with green fees, discounts on food and beverages and in the pro shop, complete access to the swimming pool, access to member-only events, and the Member’s Only Locker Room, and much more. Monthly dues are extremely affordable for both individuals and families. Check with General Manager Guy Carroll for more information or visit their website, www.salemglen.com.