Photo: Edgewood Tahoe
Summertime may mean it’s time for fun in the sun, but sometimes we relish a quick retreat into the woods. A shaded, fragrant forest and majestic pines is just what the doctor ordered to beat the summer heat. Join us this season as we try out these five arboreal tracks to find the best golf resorts in the US.
EDGEWOOD TAHOE, Stateline, Nevada
You don’t have to stay at the Lodge at Edgewood Tahoe to play the Edgewood Tahoe course in Stateline, Nevada, but why wouldn’t you? The 154-room luxury hotel opened just last year in splendid style on the shores of South Lake Tahoe, overlooking one of the best of the west’s golf courses. It’s a vintage track from 1968 designed by George Fazio, though later renovated by his nephew, Tom. (Yes, that Tom Fazio.)
The course has hosted numerous professional tournaments throughout the years. For more than a quarter of a century it has hosted the American Century Celebrity Championship, featuring a field of 90-plus sports and entertainment stars, men and women, playing for charity. (On televised display again this year July 13-15.)
Players at Edgewood confront a course that has it all—stately pines, not-so-distant Sierra peaks, and the rippling waters of the lake. The peaks, at least, don’t come into play.
FAIRMONT CHATEAU WHISTLER, Whistler, B.C., Canada
At $12,500 per foursome the greens fee may be a little high, but golfers could hardly get higher than with the Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club’s Heli-va-Game package. Offered through early October to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the club, the deal includes a three-night stay and as many rounds as one can play on the ground at the course.
That’s almost worth it right there, as the Robert Trent Jones Jr. design is a natural delight amidst the breadth of British Columbia’s Coast Mountain range, flowing past stands of Douglas Fir and a riot of local flora (and occasionally some large brown fauna).
The cherry on top is taking a helicopter to the top of a Whistler ice cap, and teeing off into the mountains for some glacier golf.
The cherry on top is taking a helicopter to the top of a Whistler ice cap, and teeing off into the mountains for some glacier golf. Here, the peaks are in play.
Exploring ice caves is also on the itinerary, as is a mountaintop gourmet picnic as you enjoy these luxury golfing resorts. There are other 25th-anniversary packages that don’t include a helicopter, if you can now resist.
PINE CANYON, Flagstaff, AZ
When thinking of golfing resorts, Arizona might come to mind and for a good reason. Prospective members can take advantage of a “Discovery Visit” to Pine Canyon for a two-night stay in a fully furnished home of the master-planned Flagstaff, Arizona community and play two rounds on the Jay Morrish-designed course. The late Moorish created a bold routing back in 2004, a mountainous course with fairways carved through the area’s mighty Ponderosa pines with ample meandering creeks in play. His son, Carter, has helped maintain the playability of the course since.
In case members are tied after a regulation round, an actual par-3 19th hole called Double or Nothing plays to an island green. It’s a grand way to settle all bets or rinse a few golf balls in the trout-stocked pond before settling down to drinks at the more traditional 19th hole.
The Troon-managed course always has qualified loopers on hand through the national CaddieMaster program, and players will find a unique halfway house overlooking the ninth tee, Moorish Station, housed in a 1944 Santa Fe Railroad caboose.
PRIMLAND, Meadows of Dan, Virginia
Planning an East Coast jaunt? In Meadows of Dan, Virginia, the Primland resort sprawls over 12,000 Blue Ridge Mountain acres (that’s just a tad smaller than all of Bermuda). Long a wilderness retreat and hunting reserve, Primland opened up the luxury taps in 2006 along with the debut of the golf course.
There’s still plenty of rustic sporting activity here—horseback riding, sporting clays, trail hikes, and archery, but there’s also mountain biking, ATV tours through the wild terrain, and a variety of luxury accommodations including three treehouse cabins with seemingly infinite views.
Love treehouses? You may also like: Luxury Treehouse Hotels
The Donald Steel-designed Highland Course is a stunner, running along a ridge of the mountains like a roller coaster, promising risk, reward and thrills in a constantly breathtaking setting. Accurate driving is a near necessity here, as stray shots have a chance of sailing into oblivion, over the side of a cliff, or careening off one of the treehouses.
TALISKER CLUB, Park City, Utah
The Talisker Club in Park City, Utah takes a four-season lifestyle approach in its collection of venues: landmark ski-in/ski-out at Empire Pass in Deer Valley and award-winning golf and more at Tuhaye. The latter just happens to be the home of two-time major winner Mark O’Meara, who designed the course in 2004.
Set at 6,900 feet, the course is basically above the tree line of the local pine and birch, but is ringed with native shrubs and scrub oaks. And while it plays long, remember that at this elevation the ball will be flying further. The usual suggestion is to dial back ten percent at altitude, but those who hit a high ball may need to tamp down their club selection even more.
At any rate, it may make it possible to reach the long par-4s seventh and twelfth in regulation (the second and first handicap holes), and if the air is thin, it’s pure.