There is great golf beyond the “usual suspects’’ in the Southeast and Southwest. For example, Central New York, Western Pennsylvania and the U.S. Virgin Islands each offer terrific golf resort experiences that are worth exploring.
Here are some favorites:
The Otesaga Resort Hotel in Cooperstown, N.Y., sweeps along the western shoreline of Lake Otsego – the “Glimmerglass,” made famous in James Fenimore Cooper’s novels of the area. Circa 1909, this elegantly luxurious, Federal-style hotel offers the hospitality of a genteel, bygone era, yet with a wealth of modern amenities. The majestic Upstate New York hotel is a short walk to iconic local attractions, including the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Fenimore Art Museum, The Farmers’ Museum and the enchanting Village of Cooperstown.
The fabled Leatherstocking Golf Course was designed by Devereux Emmet in 1909 and received an upgrade several years ago overseen by Bob Cupp. A prolific course designer in the early 1900s, Emmet also designed Congressional Country Club near Washington, D.C.
Featuring deep bunkers and fast greens, Leatherstocking has views of Cooperstown and Otsego, and wraps up with a pair of memorable finishing holes: No. 17 is a par-3 that plays up to 195 yards over water; No. 18 is a nice par-5 with an island tee and a fairway set along the lake.
There is a golf revival ongoing at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. Set on nearly 2,000 acres in Farmington, Pa., just 70 miles south of Pittsburgh, Nemacolin was founded by 84 Lumber creator Joe Hardy and is now owned by his daughter, Maggie. The resort played host to the PGA Tour’s 84 Lumber Classic from 2003-06.
Nemacolin recently opened a new course – Shepherd’s Rock – the resort’s second Pete Dye-designed signature course. Dye and his design team, headed by Tim Liddy, took advantage of the rolling, bucolic terrain that makes Shepherd’s Rock an ideal complement to the resort’s lauded Mystic Rock course.
The Nemacolin Golf Academy is one of the country’s premier destinations for instruction. Led by PGA Professional Eric Johnson, a Golf Digest “Top 100 Teacher,” the facility is highlighted by the TrackMan Golf Radar Solution, SAM Putt Lab, V1 Video System, BodiTracks as well as one-, two- and three-day golf schools. The Golf Academy also offers club fitting for custom-made equipment.
In St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, The Buccaneer is the oldest family-run resort in the Caribbean and this year is celebrating its 70th anniversary. Owned and managed by the third generation of the Armstrong family, The Buccaneer is set on 340 tropical acres along the eastern end of St. Croix, less than a five-minute drive from the sightseeing, shopping and dining found in the historic town of Christiansted.
Among The Buccaneer’s numerous amenities are eight tennis courts, three beaches, two pools, a water sports center, full service spa, fitness center, three restaurants, banquet and meeting spaces, and shopping arcade with fine boutiques.
There is also outstanding golf.
A par-70, 18-hole golf course encompassing 5,810 yards with spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea from 13 holes, The Buccaneer Golf Course was designed in 1973 by Bob Joyce. The Buccaneer is an ideal resort course – rounds of less than four hours and fun for all types of golfers. If The Buccaneer Golf Course isn’t enough, the pro shop features the only golf simulator in the U.S. Virgin Islands, offering more than 90 courses from which to choose.
Feature photo: Otesaga Resort Hotel