Monday, March 13, 2017

Three of the Most Collectable and Accessible Golf Holes in America

Kingsmill Resort's River Course in Williamsburg, Va.
(RELEASE) - Golfers collect courses, scorecards and golf holes. While most people hitting the links can recite the 17th at Sawgrass and the 18th at Harbor Town on Hilton Head, there are three golf holes that every serious golfer should play, just to say they did it and to revel in the experience. They are not the hardest holes, the most scenic or even the most legendary, but they are truly historic, unique and on sacred golf ground. They are all accessible via the resort, meaning the public can play these courses.

On the colorful scorecard, hole 17 at Kingsmill Resort’s River Golf Course reads like thousands of other golf holes around the world: 177 yard par 3. And that’s a shame. It should read: “You are about to play the most historic 177 yards of golf in America.”

Thanks to its strategic and inviting position overlooking the James River, the tee box features clearly visible remnants of the earthen works (a hastily made fort or defensive structure) from the American Revolution, which was then repurposed (location, location, location) in the War Between the States. Today a Civil War cannon and flag guard this sacred ground. We’re sure some golfers would like to use the cannon to launch their ball to the tee (but it’s not allowed).

Today, when golfers walk between the tee box and the green at the River Course’s 17th hole, they are stepping on the same land where the Jamestown settlers stepped off their boat in 1607. The old pilings in the river are the location of their original port and start of the road from the James River to Williamsburg, the amazing Colonial town that’s still thriving 400 years later. To the left of the hole are the foundations of what was basically a pub, early warehouse, hotel, and some say a brothel all dating way back before 1776. Of course, the Native Americans were here before all of that and ate oysters from the James River, and oysters from that river are still on the menu at the 19th hole.

Kingsmill Resort is the only AAA Four Diamond condominium resort in historic Williamsburg, Virginia. The resort’s one- to three-bedroom condominiums, with kitchens and spacious living areas, are ideal for golfers. For more information, visit for specific details or call (800) 832-5665.
Jack Nicklaus in 1959 at the U.S. Amateur in Colorado Springs, Colo.
This is pure sacred golf ground – like standing where the original Yankee Stadium was (now a public city ball field), where Babe Ruth changed the game of baseball forever. It’s the 18th hole on the East Course at The Broadmoor that is legendary, because it’s here, in 1959, that a kid named Jack Nicklaus birdied the final hole to defeat Charlie Coe in the finals of the United States Amateur Championship. This was Nicklaus' first major championship victory. The photos are in the Club House. The green and white scoreboard is still standing sentinel off of the green. The Rocky Mountains are still witness. This is where Jack changed the game of golf forever and began what is easily argued as the most amazing domination of a modern sport in modern history. We’re talking 18 Majors with 19 second place finishes. And it started…here.

And in 2018, the US Senior Open champions will play here. On this ground – this spot. More legends.

Then, as now, The Broadmoor is a legendary resort, a destination unto itself with fly-fishing camps, wilderness lodges and perhaps the best restaurant in the entire state of Colorado. But if you golf, it’s the East Course you want to play, and why not take advantage (you are going to need every advantage) to try the newest Callaway driver in the rental set thanks to a unique partnership.

And given we all want to be and play like Jack, best take advantage of the "unlimited” weekday golf package, which includes accommodations, unlimited golf, a personal locker, club storage and lots of range balls (you’ll need those too), and time on the practice tees.

Furnace Creek Golf Course in Death Valley, Calif.
Yes, you read that correctly. There is a golf course in Death Valley (not to be confused with The Devil’s Golf Course – which is not a golf course – in Death Valley). Located 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas is a true American oasis called Furnace Creek Resort, and on this oasis is the Furnace Creek Golf Course, which has the distinction of being the lowest golf course in the world at 214 feet below sea level.

It began as a three-hole golf course in 1927 to give the miners from the nearby Borax mines something to do in their spare time. In 1931, a nine-hole course was developed around the ranch and date-palm orchards. It was the first grass golf course in the California desert, thanks to the ancient waters that just bubble up out of the ground here. In 1968, noted designer William F. Bell expanded the course to a full 18 holes. Perry Dye of Dye Designs reworked the course in 1997, when a state-of-the-art irrigation system was installed to allow the course to remain open all year. Golf Digest magazine put it on the list of "America's 50 Toughest Courses."

There are a few house rules to remember here, as well as some basic physics. Golfers are below sea-level. Way below. So that drive you count on will not travel as far. And then there are the local packs of coyotes that live on the palm tree dates. They won’t bother you, but have been known to play an unwelcomed game of “let’s go fetch the ball and not bring it back.”

But most of all, golfers will be in awe of the beauty of the place. There is no doubt you are in Death Valley playing golf in a oasis, and the light, the sky and the mountains are stunning. Don't be fooled by the wide-open fairways and the length of the course, which plays to a par of 70 and a relatively short 6,215 yards from the back tees. From there, the course has a USGA rating of 70.1 with a slope of 121. And there is the occasional diabolical green.

Equally as famous is the ancient and charming 19th hole, which features one of the only drive-up and through golf cart ramps in the country. Grabbing that beer in the drive through is something you will never forget, even if you do need for forget the score.


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