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, part of the
Beau Rivage Resort &
Casino in Biloxi
Beau Rivage Fallen Oak
(228) 386-7444; www.beaurivage.com
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
“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.Campeche Playa
Jack Nicklaus is the architect of the
course going in at this new resort on the Gulf of Mexico’s Yucatan
Peninsula. This will be the Golden Bear’s 15th layout to open in
Mexico in about as many years.
Not far from Mayan ruins, the track
will wind through jungle and mangroves, offering views of the
nearby beaches. Particular care is being taken to preserve the
ecology through which the layout will pass. For instance, the
irrigation system will use water purified by a plant being built
for the purpose, and no chemicals will be used in the maintenance
of the course.
Also under construction is the resort
itself. The first phase -- including a 330-room hotel, a 150-slip
marina and the golf course -- will open in late 2008. When all
parts are finished in 2010, Campeche Playa will comprise more than
The Donald Ross Course
at Indiana’s French Lick
Resort reopened in 2006.
French Lick Resort Casino
French Lick, Ind.
(812) 936-9300; www.frenchlick.com
By 2009, two renovated courses and a
brand-new layout will make up this Midwest golf paradise.
Two redesign projects already have been
completed: The Donald Ross Course reopened in September 2006
following a $4.6 million restoration of the layout, built in 1917.
Just added to the mix this past September was the Tom Bendelow
Course, originally called the Valley Links when it opened in 1907.
About $1 million was spent to turn 18 holes into a Scottish-style,
nine-hole walking track. The final gem in this golf necklace is a
new Pete Dye course, scheduled to open in 2009.
The enticing amenities at this resort
run far deeper than the golf offerings. Guests stay in either the
443-room French Lick Springs Hotel -- with its 24-treatment-room
Spa at French Lick, numerous dining choices, Promenade Shoppes and
extensive pool complex -- or at the 246-room West Baden Springs
Hotel, with its own 14,000-square-foot spa and fine-dining
restaurant. On the grounds is a 109,000-square-foot conference
center, including a 13,000-square-foot ballroom. Another 40,000
square feet of meeting space are available at the West Baden
Jack Nicklaus course
Resort & Club
(508) 896-9000; www.oceanedge.com
Jack Nicklaus is the name now attached
to the course at the Ocean Edge Resort & Club on Cape Cod. The
back nine of the $6 million redesign opened last May, and the
entire layout is scheduled to debut on Memorial Day. As the work
finishes, the club will become private, available only to members
and hotel guests.
All greens and holes have been redone,
and the course has been lengthened by about 300 yards. The natural
look of the 1986 track, however, has not been changed: The Nicklaus
Design Group worked around mature trees, incorporating the rolling
topography and the elevation changes, while modernizing the
challenges. The property’s Linx Clubhouse also has been upgraded,
now featuring a members-only lounge, expanded locker-room
facilities and more function space, including the 2,500-square-foot
The centerpiece of the 334-room resort
is the 1912 Nickerson Mansion, which houses some of the property’s
15,000 square feet of meeting space. For recreation away from the
golf course, guests can wander the private beach, swim in one of
eight pools or ride bicycles on the 26-mile Cape Cod Rail Trail,
among other activities. Details were being finalized last month on
a $12 million renovation to the property that will add about 7,500
square feet of flexible meeting space.
Pelican Hill Golf Club
Newport Coast, Calif.
(949) 467-6800; www.pelicanhill.com
Just reopened along the seaside south
of Los Angeles is the Pelican Hill Golf Club, with 36 holes of golf
redone by original creator Tom Fazio. The Ocean North and Ocean
South layouts debuted in the early ’90s, quickly gaining fame for
accommodating and challenging the games of all comers.
The courses have been closed for the
past two years, during which Fazio reshaped the layouts, which
brush cliff edges along the ocean. An Italianate clubhouse was
built overlooking the Pacific Ocean, featuring the Pelican Grill,
an espresso bar, a 40-seat private dining room and a pro shop.
The golf club is the first element of
the Resort at Pelican Hill to open. The property itself comes
online next fall with 204 bungalow-style rooms and suites; 128
two-, three- and four-bedroom villas; an Italian restaurant, and a
23,000-square-foot spa with 22 treatment rooms. A detached
conference center with a separate arrival area will offer 20,000
square feet of meeting space enhanced with floor-to-ceiling glass
walls revealing breathtaking ocean views. A variety of outdoor
venues will include patios and expansive lawns.
Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain
Just coming off the drawing board and
into construction is the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain, a
27-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course in this desert town
northwest of Tucson. Slated to open later this year, almost two
years before the hotel unlocks its doors, the layout is on schedule
to host the World Golf Championships - Accenture Match Play
Championship in February 2009, a tournament that normally attracts
Tiger Woods and the rest of the PGA Tour crowd. (This year’s
tournament will be held next month at the neighboring Gallery Golf
Club at Dove Mountain, a private facility.)
“It’s absolutely gorgeous high desert,
with a great forest of saguaro, an abundance of cactus and
beautiful vistas,” Nicklaus has said of the setting that eventually
will offer 36 holes. The first 18 will measure a far-reaching 7,833
yards, quite a challenge for even the longest hitters, although the
altitude will help the ball flight.
Plans for the 250-room luxury resort
include 226 rooms and suites in the main building and 24 individual
casita rooms and suites nearby. Among the group offerings will be
two ballrooms of 9,000 and 4,800 square feet, respectively. Other
amenities will include a 17,000-square-foot spa and fitness center,
and 20 miles of desert hiking trails. Tennis, swimming and biking
also will be available.
Fit for a king:
St. Andrews Castle Course
St. Andrews, Scotland
(011) 44 (0) 133 446 6666
This highly anticipated addition to the
St. Andrews Links -- the seventh offered by the St. Andrews
Trust -- will welcome players of all levels as of June 28. Unlike
the Old Course that hosts British Open Championships and requires
men to have at most a 24 handicap and women a 36 handicap, the
Castle Course will have no such restrictions.
The layout was designed by David McLay
Kidd, a Scot himself, famous here in the United States for creating
the original and highly regarded links at Bandon Dunes in Bandon,
Ore. Here, he is sculpting 220 acres that once were part of a
hunting ground for Pictish kings. The highlight of the course will
be the Kinkell Ness headland, site of the long-gone Kinkell Castle,
which will hold a double green for holes 9 and 18.
A circular clubhouse also is under
construction. It will offer views of that double green and St.
Many groups coming to the birthplace of
golf stay at the 209-room Fairmont St. Andrews (fairmont.com),
which has two golf courses of its own and more than 20,000 square
feet of meeting space.
Westin Roco Ki Beach & Golf
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
(954) 624-1771; www.westin.com
Opening in tandem next fall are this
Caribbean getaway and its Nick Faldo Championship Golf Course, just
19 miles from the Punta Cana International Airport. The property
will cover about 500 coastline acres with four miles of white-sand
To be managed by Troon Golf, Faldo’s
layout takes in rugged cliffs, palm-lined beaches and a mangrove
forest. The par-three 17th plays to a headland above the turquoise
sea; the 18th hole also hugs the coast, requiring two shots over
the incoming surf.
Outside the main building of the
315-room resort, guests will be able to stay in one of the 56
condo-hotel suites or the 20 Jungle Luxe Bungalows, being built on
stilts. A 20,000-square-foot conference center will offer 14
meeting rooms, while the 18,000-square-foot spa will feature 15
treatment rooms. Nongolfers will be able to swim, fish, scuba dive,
sail, play tennis or just lounge in the sun.