Monday, December 22, 2008

Pocono Mountains Stand the Test of Time

Like a classic piece of art, the Pocono Mountains of Northeast Pennsylvania – a must-visit destination for generations – have stood the test of time. While the grand resorts of an earlier time remain and stand watch over the four-county region, new resorts have joined the mix. Visitors returning after years away will recognize the quaint charm of this mountain setting, but many properties have undergone a reinvention to meet and exceed the needs of today’s savvy traveler.

Home to hundreds of holes of golf by legendary, Golden Era designers such as Donald Ross and A.W. Tillinghast, as well as the modern master – Jack Nicklaus – the Pocono Mountains golf properties are plentiful and as varied as any destination in the country.

Whether searching for a challenging course that will test the lowest handicapper or a beginner-friendly track with equally budget-friendly prices, the Pocono Mountains offer something to match any level of play. A similar dichotomy exists in design – from tight, tree-lined fairways and postage-stamp greens to wide open layouts with expansive putting complexes and long views of Mother Nature’s beauty.

A destination flush with courses that boast such a colorful and impressive history might be tempted to rest on its collective laurels, but not the Pocono Mountains. One such property – The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort (pictured) – hosted to the 1938 PGA Championship on its original Tillinghast design. The 27-hole Shawnee Resort recently added a nine-hole lighted course for evening play and continues making aesthetic improvements.

Golfer-friendly enhancements are prevalent throughout the Pocono Mountains, as well. Buck Hill Falls Golf Club – home to 27 holes, 18 of which were designed by Donald Ross – has continued adding tee boxes, particularly forward boxes, to make the course more playable for higher handicaps and championship tees, to make the course more challenging for lower handicap players. The club also is in the process of renovating approximately 30 bunkers and will be implementing 10-minute tee time intervals to counter congestion. Cherry Valley Golf Course also added or rebuilt tee boxes for increased yardage, while renovating bunkers and cart paths.

Split Rock Resort & Golf Club in Lake Harmony continues work on the new nine holes with an expected opening of 2009, bringing the total number of holes to 36. Like many Pocono Mountain properties, the resort has introduced new value-laden midweek specials. Likewise, Hideaway Hills Golf Club in Kresgeville is catering to the 60-and-over crowd by extending its “Senior Day” to days – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

The Country Club at Woodloch Springs in Hawley and Fernwood Hotel and Resort in Bushkill are also in the midst of enhancements designed to improve the overall golfing experience by widening select fairways and increasing landing areas.

Gaming has come to the Pocono Mountains, as well. The Mount Airy Casino Resort recently introduced slots to the region. Whether visitors are looking for an additional activity to add to the golf experience or perhaps enjoy the Pocono Mountains during the off season (when the ski slopes take center stage), they can take more than 2,500 of the hottest slots for a spin – everything from penny slots on the floor to $100 games in the high-limit area.

In addition to the wide variety of golf courses and gaming, the Pocono Mountains offer luxurious spas, first-class dining, shopping and historic attractions, making the region perfect for an afternoon round of golf, family vacation, business meeting or weekend getaway. Visitors can relax and reconnect in the authentic beauty of this lush mountain destination.

For more information on the Pocono Mountains courses and other activities, visit or call 800-POCONOS (800-762-6667).


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