Written by: Crystal Jackson
TEE UP A GREAT SUMMER
While life in 2020 will go down in history as one of the more stressful years on record, there were some bright spots. In fact, one pleasurable pursuit enjoyed a surprising surge of activity: Golf.
According to the National Golf Foundation, golfers played more than 27 million additional rounds in the U.S. during the summer of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
If you were lucky enough to be part of the golf renaissance, how can you keep up momentum and take your game to the next level? Or, if you weren’t able to get in any extra rounds in 2020, how can you get back into the swing of things?
We have a few suggestions for an epic summer of golf and travel, plus tips from our golf pros on improving your game.
KEEP IT FRESH
This summer is the perfect opportunity to take a trip to some of the most spectacular courses in the country. The Virginias are home to five fun and unique options, all within a day’s drive of each other.
First up, the Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech in Radford, Virginia. Pete Dye designed “thinking” golf courses, and you’ll enjoy that experience on every shot at the River Course. You’ll also enjoy the surroundings, as the course is located along the New River with gorgeous views of the Allegheny Mountains.
Balancing out that bucolic beauty, the River Course is accompanied by some impressive technology. Download the course’s new app to see each hole and dial in yardages, order food for delivery from anywhere on the course, and receive rewards on every dollar spent during your golf excursion. Visit the new Foresight GC Quad simulator, located in the clubhouse, to play Pebble Beach, St. Andrews, TPC Sawgrass, or even the Pete Dye River Course in air-conditioned comfort and close proximity to food and drink.
Tip from TJ Baggett, PGA General Manager at the Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech
“To have a successful round at the River Course, you should play the conservative, smart shot when you miss greens. Our slightly elevated greens make you reach for your lob wedge in hopes of hitting that flop shot near the pin. Before you do that, look for other options like putting the ball on the green using your putter, a 5-iron, or even your hybrid or 5-wood. The bump-and-run shot is also a better option than the flop shot recovery. Our agronomy team provides excellent conditions, allowing you the option of many different shots, including the option to putt when off the greens.”
Accommodations & Activities
With beautifully appointed guest rooms and suites, The Inn at Virginia Tech offers a relaxing, luxurious, and stylish place to unwind after a day of golf. Enjoy farm-to-table dining at Preston’s, featuring the New River Valley’s best Sunday brunch with live music, made-to-order omelets, and a carving station. Returning guests will enjoy the newly renovated bar in Continental Divide lounge, with one of the best bourbon selections in the Valley. Stroll the beautiful Virginia Tech campus and take advantage of all that makes Blacksburg a wonderful college town and the Blue Ridge Mountains such a sought-after destination.
Another great option nearby is the Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center, a historic hotel built in 1882 that combines modern amenities with classic architecture. The hotel recently completed a stunning $3.9 million renovation of The Pine Room restaurant, an open-kitchen concept that serves up authentic tastes of Virginia’s Blue Ridge and dazzling views of the Mill Mountain Star and Roanoke’s historic City Market. The Spa & Adventure Center, located on the main level at Hotel Roanoke, features signature spa services, yoga, food tours, and much more to round out your visit to the area.
BRING THE FAMILY
At Stonewall Resort in Roanoke, West Virginia, life is better on the lake. The lush setting is perfect for swimming, boating, hiking, and biking. And, of course, golf. The Palmer Course, an Arnold Palmer Signature course, is a hidden gem in a picturesque setting.
Try something new by playing the King’s Course, a 2,600-yard short course that overlays the Palmer Course with a special set of tees for players of all ages and skill levels. It’s a great way for the entire family to enjoy the game of golf at the same time. Seasoned golfers can play the full length of the Palmer Course, while beginners and younger players play the King’s Course.
Tip from Mike Rogers, Director of Golf at The Palmer Course | Stonewall Resort
“On the tee, line up with the target instead of the tee markers. This sounds simple, but often players line up with the tee markers, hit a ball off-line, then wonder what’s wrong with their golf swing. In reality, it’s their alignment. Often the design of the teeing group points the player in an odd direction due to topography, so if you line up with the tee markers instead of the target you may be aiming in the wrong direction. Watch your alignment on the tee, and watch your enjoyment of the game increase.”
Accommodations & Activities
Stonewall Resort offers peaceful seclusion and the perfect respite after a day of play. Unwind with a meal at one of Stonewall Resort’s three restaurants, soak in the heated pool, and rest up in the resort’s Adirondack-style lodge or one of its lakeside cottages. Then get up the next day and do it all over again.
The Golf Club at Lansdowne in Leesburg, Virginia—just outside Washington, D.C.—offers a world-class player experience with 45 holes of championship golf designed by world renowned course architects Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Greg Norman. Enjoy a number of unique holes, including “the hardest mile in golf,” a four-hole stretch sure to test your abilities.
Tip from Nick Zaloga, Director of Golf Club Operations at Lansdowne
“Our Robert Trent Jones Jr. course offers more of a classic, resort-style golf experience with zoysia fairways, tiered greens, and significant elevation change on the back nine. Our Greg Norman course is entirely different, so if you’re looking for a challenge, you’ve come to the right place. Don’t be fooled by the wide-open fairways because if you miss them and your ball ends up in the marshy areas, you’ll almost certainly be looking at a penalty stroke. Once you get to hole #6, you’ll find yourself beginning the most difficult stretch of the golf course. Water is in play on three of the four holes, and you’ll need to keep your ball in play to survive this stretch of holes!”
Accommodations & Activities
The deluxe guestrooms and luxury suites at Lansdowne make for the perfect home base for your golf excursion. Charge your batteries with locally inspired menus at Lansdowne’s three restaurants, and embark on a wellness journey that fuses Eastern medical wisdom and Western medical science. In partnership with Dejia Harmony, Lansdowne offers packages that help you become the guardian of your own health. Which might also improve your golf game!
SKIP THE BEACH & HEAD FOR THE GREEN
Whether you’re new to golf or a seasoned player, these courses are perfect for improving your game and helping you make the most of summer. Check out these great golf packages from Benchmark Resorts & Hotels and see for yourself.