by Sarah J.F. Braley | January 01, 2008

For most golfers, just the opportunity to be out of the office, fairway wood in hand, can be enough to make them happy. But give them the opportunity to play somewhere new and notable, and the grins expand dramatically.

The following is a roundup of fresh or about-to-open projects -- including the seventh track to debut in St. Andrews, Scotland, the storied birthplace of the game -- as well as a few top-notch renovations.

Fallen Oak at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino
Newly glorious:
Fallen Oak, part of the
Beau Rivage Resort &
Casino in Biloxi

Beau Rivage Fallen Oak
Biloxi, Miss.
(228) 386-7444;

One of the hot new layouts in the country complements the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, which reopened in 2006 following a $550 million renovation, necessitated in part by damage brought by Hurricane Katrina. Tom Fazio designed Fallen Oak, built exclusively for the resort’s guests. The course runs through 510 acres on the edge of the DeSoto National Forest, about 15 miles from the hotel.

Even though the track is considered a coastal layout, it challenges with several elevation changes, and players have to negotiate stubborn stands of hardwood trees. To preserve the hushed nature of this Southern site, the course features 10 bridges and concealed cart paths.

Once the day on the course is finished, the 1,740-room resort offers 11 dining outlets -- including Todd English’s Olives -- four bars and an 85,000-square-foot casino. The property has 50,000 square feet of meeting space; the largest room is the 17,000-square-foot Magnolia Ballroom.

Bonnet Creek Golf Club

On the outskirts of Walt Disney World, ground has been broken at the Bonnet Creek development on a 1,000-room Hilton and a 498-room Waldorf=Astoria hotel. These two properties won’t open until fall 2009, but work on a Rees Jones-designed golf course, which will surround the Waldorf=Astoria, began several years ago. Currently called the Bonnet Creek Golf Course, it should be ready for play by this fall.

“You could almost walk to Epcot from the golf course,” says Steve Weisser senior designer for Montclair, N.J.-based Rees Jones Inc.

The two hotels will offer a combined 125,000 square feet of meeting space, 90,000 of which will be in a dedicated conference center. Included will be a 36,000-square-foot ballroom. Each hotel also will have its own event space: 25,000 square feet in the Hilton and 11,000 square feet in the Waldorf=Astoria. For extra relaxation, the complex will offer a 24,000-square-foot spa.