These days, arranging a golf event can be as challenging as the sport itself. A perception of frivolity can intrude like a patch of tall grass; suspicions of wasteful spending can descend like a ball diving into a bunker; doubts about return on investment can sting like a run of double bogeys. What's a meeting planner with a golf agenda to do?
For one thing, you can follow the sound advice offered in "Making the Case for Golf" (M&C, July 2009 and online at bit.ly/8kJbyR), which outlines the provable bottom-line benefits of a smartly managed outing. For another, you can pick a golf resort that hasn't doubled recently as a setting for Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
The six properties profiled on the following pages are well known on the golf circuit but might not necessarily appear on a planner's short list of meeting properties. All offer comfort without a lot of commotion, cutting-edge event facilities and quietly beautiful golf courses able to accommodate everything from one-on-one tutelage to a corporate tournament.
Atunyote Golf ClubTurning Stone Resort Casino
Nestled in Central New York's Mohawk Valley, just 30 miles east of Syracuse (and Hancock International Airport), Turning Stone Resort offers more than 740 guest rooms in a variety of settings, a plethora of meeting space, a total of 72 holes of challenging golf spread over five courses, plus a casino and a spa.
Owned and operated by the Oneida Indian Nation, Turning Stone unfolds along 1,200 acres, with plenty of room for three 18-hole, championship-level golf courses. The longest of the three, at 7,749 yards, is the par-72 Atunyote (the Oneida word for "eagle") Golf Club, a Tom Fazio design and site of the Turning Stone Championship, the only PGA Tour event held on Native American soil. Features include the spacious fairways and undulating greens characteristic of Fazio, along with natural aspects such as a deadwood marsh and dramatic rock formations -- all helping to explain why Turning Stone placed third in Golf Digest's most recent Reader's Choice Awards for top resort courses.
Guest accommodations are divided among the 297-room Hotel at Turning Stone; the 287-room, 20-story Tower with views of the valley; the elegant 95-suite Lodge, set among wooded hills; and, down the road, a cozy 62-room inn offering value pricing. Dining options include the Forest Grill Steakhouse (with dishes courtesy of the Oneidas' own farm-raised Black Angus cattle) and Peach Blossom, serving Asian cuisine.
Event facilities can accommodate board meetings, executive retreats or any gatherings of up to 1,500 people in more than 100,000 square feet of multifunctional space, including a conference center/ballroom with 22,000 square feet, an events center/exhibit hall spanning almost 30,000 square feet and 24 breakout rooms of various sizes.
At the golf club, the Shenendoah Clubhouse offers a pro shop, a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, and a 5,500-square-foot ballroom for up to 400 attendees. The resort provides in-house audiovisual and catering teams.
Turning Stone Casino offers more than 80 table games and a spiffy new poker room, while the Showroom nightclub features all manner of live music and comedy. For true relaxation, the resort's luxurious Skaná spa combines modern amenities with Native American cultural themes and makes use of fresh herbs and organic products.
Off-site attractions include stock car racing at the Albany Saratoga Speedway, a number of restored Revolutionary War-era homes, antique shopping and museums celebrating everything from glass blowing to the Erie Canal.
The resort is open year-round, with golf offered from April to November.