Golf and luxury at The Greenbrier Resort.
When I told my friends I would be playing golf at The Greenbrier in West Virginia as part of this spring’s golf media tour, all I heard was “you are one lucky golfer!” They were all happy for me, but they couldn’t help but be jealous! I was going to play golf in the lap of luxury!
The Greenbrier known as “America’s Resort” is one of the finest resorts in the U S of A. For more than 230 years, this 6,500 acre estate has been the vacation destination for royalty, presidents and dignitaries from all over the world. Located in White Sulphur Springs, in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, The Greenbrier was first sought out for the healing waters of its mineral springs. But the quiet surroundings and moderate summer weather soon attracted vacationers from all across the nation and The Greenbrier Resort grew to meet their every need, and always with impeccable service.
In 1913 the resort had grown to include The Greenbrier Hotel (the central section of the building pictured above) and an 18-hole golf course designed by Charles Blair Macdonald, one of the best golf architects of his day. Over the years, the golf course attracted top players including Sam Snead who is credited with establishing the golf course, The Old White, as one of the world’s foremost golf destinations.
It was late afternoon by the time our media tour bus arrived at the resort’s front door and our hosts at the hotel had a full evening’s schedule of activities waiting for us. Rather than wait for the bell hop to take our bags up, we all grabbed our own bits and pieces and just schlepped our way to our rooms, hauling our luggage as best we could. It was not the most elegant of entrances, but by the time we gathered in the Trellis lobby for the Bunker Tour we were all in our brightest and best.
I won’t go into details here, but if you ever stay at The Greenbrier, take The Bunker Tour. It has nothing to do with sand bunkers or golf! Still it’s interesting, especially if you’re a history buff.
Following the Bunker tour, we were escorted to the Spring Room and treated to an elegant dining experience, The Taste of the Greenbrier, a buffet presentation of the finest cuisine from each of the chefs at The Greenbrier. There are over a dozen unique dining opportunities at The Greenbrier and we were able to enjoy the very best of each. I attempted to keep my appetite under control, but it is very difficult when there are so many options and they all look so good!
One last event before hitting the pillow for the night: I joined a few of the writers in the resort’s new Casino. I tried the slots on my own (won a whole nickel!) but then we pooled our money and tried the Black Jack table. A lot of fun, but I’m always surprised at how quickly you can lose so much money so fast. I left before it was too late. Had to get ready for a great day of golf the next morning.
Our tee time at The Old White TPC was at 10:12 a.m. which gave me enough time to stop in at the Women’s Locker Room. Imagine my surprise to see my name on one of the lockers! The club does this as something special for each of their guests, and once your round of golf is complete, they give you the official Greenbrier Locker Label with your name on it as a memento. It’s a simple gesture, but I was impressed. It’s that attention to the small details that made this visit to The Greenbrier so outstanding.
After all the indulgence and luxury of the day and night before (did I mention the mints on my pillow and the plush bathrobe waiting for me in the bath?) my hopes for a great round of golf were high. And, of course, my expectations were exceeded.
The course was beautiful. The valley had just suffered a bit of flooding this spring, but the maintenance crew had the course in great shape within just a few days. The Old White TPC is the scene of The Greenbrier Classic this July 1 – 7, a major PGA event on the FedExCup challenge, and the course was in top condition.
One of the requirements of The Greenbrier is that you play with a caddy. Jason was assigned to our group of four and kept us well informed of the best way to play each hole. He was invaluable in keeping track of our balls when they would go off line a bit. The course has quite a bit of water on it as a meandering brook winds in and around many of the holes, especially on the back nine.
One of the most charming features on the course are the wicker basket flagsticks, used to mark each hole on the greens. Jason told us the basket represents what a caddy used to carry his lunch. It’s a bit of a myth, but a charming one at that.
In addition to the The Old White TPC course, The Greenbrier offers two additional golf courses: The Meadows course and The Greenbrier, redesigned in 1977 by Jack Nicklaus and host to both the Ryder Cup in 1979, and the Solheim Cup in 1994.
Time limitations made it impossible for us to see everything The Greenbrier had to offer. There is so much to do and so many features and activities to enjoy. It’s a place you just have to experience for yourself.
For more information and to book your own luxury golf vacation visit The Greenbrier website.