Blogs > DSG's Affordabili-TEES

News-Herald Staff Writer David S. Glasier has been playing golf for over 50 years and writing about it for over 30. Always operating on a tight budget, Glasier is on a lifelong quest to find good courses to play at affordable prices.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"Affordabili-TEES'' in West Virginia: Lakeview Golf Resort and Spa

Lakeview Golf Resort and Spa
     Lakeview Course
     1 Lakeview Dr., Morgantown, WV 26508
     Par, yardages: 72; 5,426 to 6,760
     Stay-and-play: Per-person golf packages range from $130 (Spring/Fall, one night) to $450 (Three Night/Four Day).
     Phone: (304) 594-1111; (800) 624-8300
     Our tour of West Virginia golf venues ended on a decidedly upbeat note with a round on the Lakeview Course at this popular resort.
     I'd never before visited Lakeview, but the place felt familiar and friendly as the bus carrying yours truly and eight other golf-travel writers pulled up to the entrance of the main lodge.
     As near as I can reckon, this resort opened in the early 1970s and has remained a popular destination for golf travelers from Ohio, Pennsylvania and other neighboring states.
     The user-friendly price structure of the resort's stay-and-play packages has much to do with the enduring popularity of this golf destination. So does geography and accessibility from Interstate 79.
     In addition to the main lodge, Lakeview Resort and Spa has cottages and manor houses available at reasonable rates. The resort offers a nice array of amenities, from a restaurant and bar to first-rate fitness center.
     The resort has two courses - Lakeview and Mountainview. We played the Lakeview Course, which fully opened in 1954 and is the older of the two.
     From the par-4, 317-yard first hole to the par-5, 620 yard 18th hole, the Lakeview Course serves up an enticing blend of challenge and scenic beauty. The putting surfaces were first-rate.
     Especially on the front nine, there are outstanding vistas of nearby Cheat Lake.
     This overview is being written about 10 days after my stay at Lakeview. The resort gets mixed reviews from guests who've chosen to submit comments on travel websites.
     Most of the complaints center on the condition of rooms in the main lodge. In the opinions of those former guests, the rooms are in need of updating.
     I was there for only one night, but I would say the place has held up well. My room wasn't posh, but it was clean and comfortable.
     A fellow guest with whom I spoke at some length said he and his family were spending six nights in one of the manor houses while in Morgantown for a wedding.
     He wasn't a golfer, but said he and the others staying in the manor house were having a fine time.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

"Affordabili-TEES'' in West Virginia: Stonehaven Course, The Resort at Glade Springs

The Resort at Glade Springs
Stonehaven Course
255 Resort Dr., Daniels, WV 25832
Par, yardages: 72; 5,114 to 7,203
Greens fees: $55 (off season) to $99
     Stay-and-play: Basic golf packages at $118, $161 and $209 (double occupancy). Many other packages offered.
     Phone: (304) 763-2000); (855) 802-3080    

     You don't want to go crazy with superlatives in this business. Use them too often, and they lose their impact.
     That being established let me heap a superlative or two on the Stonehaven Course at Glade Springs Resort.
     Stonehaven is a great track. There wasn't a hole on it I didn't at least like. Many of the holes I really liked. Some of them I loved.
     Then there's the par-5, 515-yard 16th hole.
     This hole took my breath away, and that's not easily done after a 50 years of playing the game on many hundreds of courses.
     One of my playing partners at Stonehaven was Mike James, director of golf and recreation for the Resort at Glade Springs.
     Early in the round, I'd asked Mike to set aside a couple of minutes for a video interview. I remember him saying something about waiting until 16 because the hole would offer a "nice backdrop.''
Every hole had its virtues. The layout is challenging but not soul-crushing. The greens are well-tended and rolled true. As for the scenic backdrops, they are distracting in a wonderful way.
     We played from the white tees at 6,215 yards. It was plenty of golf course.
     Putting out on the 15th hole, a short-ish par 4, I notice the climb in the cart path leading to 16. Piques my interest, definitely, as I remind Mike we'll shoot the video before we tee off.
     He just smiles and says, "Sure.''
     A few second later, I'm at the top of the path as it makes a sharp bend to the left and I'm standing there, transfixed.
     With five sets of tees and measuring 601 yards from the tips, this is as visually arresting a golf hole as I've seen in a long time.
     From the black, green and white tees, you must carry the tee shot over a waste area to a landing area framed by bunkers at either end.
     Another bunker, on the left side of the fairway, is in play on the second shot. Bunkers in front of and to the right of the green lend an element of risk to the approach shot.
     There's work to do on the green, too, as subtle breaks must be allowed for in all putts beyond tap-in range.
     I hate to throw around the "p'' work, but if the 16th at Stonehaven isn't a perfect hole, it's darn close to it.
     Throughout the round, Mike talked about the other two courses at Glade Springs, Cobb and Woodhaven.
     We didn't play either, so I'll pass on his assessments of the Cobb as challenging but player-friendly and Woodhaven as extraordinarily challenging.
     The accommodations at Glade Spring include a main lodge and  manor houses. There is a recreation center with an indoor pool, bowling lanes and spa. The resort's restaurants are first-rate.
     Prices for stay-and-play packages are reasonable.
     I'd love to go back to the Resort at Glade Springs.
     The photo below is of the 16th hole. In no way, shape or form does the picture do justice to the in-person view.  

Monday, May 20, 2013

"Affordabili-TEES'' in West Virginia: The Greenbrier's Old White TPC

     The Old White TPC at The Greenbrier
     300 West Main St., White Sulphur Springs, WV 24986
     Par/Yardages: 70; 5,019 to 7,287
     Stay-and-play: Packages start at $240 per player, per night (weekdays) and rise to $290 (weekends).
     Phone: (800) 453-4858; golf packages, (877) 398-2871

     Frequent traveling companion and Hall of Fame golf writer George Sweda had given me a tantalizing preview of The Greenbrier, both as a resort and as a golf venue.
     The place lived up to George's advance billing and then some.
     With its rich history dating to the mid-19th century, the resort is a throwback in the best sense of the term. It's an ornate place that wears its luxury on its sleeve.
     Forewarned is forearmed about the price niche of The Greenbrier. It's a five-star resort that prices itself accordingly.
     "Affordabili-TEES'' will make an allowance for the Greenbrier as a "splurge'' destination. While always keeping an eye on the bottom line, it doesn't hurt to treat yourself to a taste of the good life every now and then.
     In the resort and on its two championship courses, you will get your money's worth.
      Our group of golf-travel writers played the Old White TPC, home of the PGA Tour's Greenbrier Classic. The white tees came in at just under 6,000 yards, so we moved to the blue tees at 6,443 yards and had a satisfying experience.
      Old White is named after the resort's original hotel and opened in 1914. The architect was Charles Blair Macdonald, an esteemed designer who used some British holes he admied as inspiration for at least three holes on Old White.
              You climb stairs near the clubhouse to the elevated tee for the par-4, 437-yard first hole. It's a neat setting and a preview of what's to come as the course unfolds.
      Old White is demanding, fair, and oh so easy on the eyes. I'd love to get back to this resort soon, re-visit Old White TPC and play its sister course, the Greenbrier.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

"Affordabili-TEES'' in West Virginia, Oglebay and Stonewall resorts

     Oglebay Resort and Conference Center
            Palmer Golf Course
            Route 88 North, Wheeling WV 26003
     Par, yardages: 72; 4,569 to 6,725
     Greens fees: Resort offers many stay-and-play packages
            Phone: (304) 243-4000; (800)624-6988

     Stonewall Resort
     The Palmer Course
     940 Resort Drive, Roanoke, WV 26434
     Par, yardages: 72; 5,038 to 7,149
     Greens fees: $55 (off season) to $99; Resort offers many stay-and-play packages.
     Phone: (304) 269-7400 (Resort direct); (304) 269-8885 (tee times).

     Eye-opening would be the apt description of my first golf trip to West Virginia.
     For years, I've passed through the Mountain State on my way to golf destinations in North Carolina, South Carolina and other points south.
     Now, I'm getting the chance to play some of West Virginia's better courses and kicking myself in the behind for taking so long to set down the clubs in a place so close to home.
     This journey began in Wheeling at Oglebay Resort and Conference Center.
     Located in the state's northwestern panhandle hard by the Ohio-West Virginia state line, Oglebay is easily reachable from all points in the Cleveland area.
     Mapquest puts it at 160 miles and three hours driving time from my front door.
     Oglebay is owned by the city of Wheeling and operated by the Wheeling Park Commission. Between the golf (five courses, 72 holes), main lodge, cottages, restaurants, zoo, museum, specialty shops and other amenities, the place teems with activity.
             Our group of golf-travel writers was placed on the championship-caliber course designed by legendary golfer and golf course architect Arnold Palmer.
             There wasn't time enough in the schedule to check out the Robert Trent Jones Sr. course at Oglebay. After having such a positive experience on the Palmer course, I'm eager to return and play the Jones course.
            Playing from the white tees (par 71, 6,065 yards), the Palmer Course is challenging, pleasing to the eye and user-friendly.
            The toughest hole is the first, a 444-yard par-4 that rightfully is accorded the No. 1 handicap.
             Every hole offers sweeping vistas of the state's hill country. You need to pay attention to hitting shots and managing your game, of course, but it would be foolish not to drink in the natural beauty of the surroundings.
      Palmer also designed the course at the second stop on our tour, Stonewall Resort in Roanoke.
              The Palmer Course at Stonewall offers all the natural beauty of the one at Oglebay and a higher degree of difficulty. Our foursome played from the white tees (par-72, 5,821 yards). It felt more like 6,200 yards.
      From first tee shot to final putt, there is no let-up on this superior track.
      Stonewall Resort is owned by the state and offers an impressive array of options for lodging, dining and indoor-outdoor activities beyond the golf course. Stonewall Jackson Lake is a gem, too.
      This traveler especially liked the outdoor/indoor pool and fitness area that featured a steam bath.
              Affordability is a major selling point at the Oglebay and Stonewall, which is about 140 miles due south of Oglebay via I-79. Check out the stay-and-play packages at both venues.
              Given their proximity and favorable price points, it's not surprising that many Northeast Ohioans are patrons at the Oglebay and Stonewall resorts.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Play by the rules: "Affordabili-TEES'' pro Bryan Huff

    As a member of Professional Golfers Association, Bryan Huff has deep, abiding respect for the rules of golf are established by the United States Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient.
    He also knows that every day, on golf courses around the world, everyday players choose either to ignore the rules or observe them only in the loosest of ways.
    In this series of videos, shot a StoneWater Golf Club in Highland Heights, Huff offers a general overview of the rules, common applications of the rules and how best to follow the rules while maintaining pace of play.