Legends of the Green: The Historic Resort of The Greenbrier

Legends of the Green: The Historic Resort of The Greenbrier

The 11,000-acre The Greenbrier sits majestically in the mountains of West Virginia. The scenery is breathtaking and if you’re seeking a memorable holiday in an outstanding resort, you need look no further.

Greenbrier, a National Historic Landmark, first opened its doors to the public in 1778. Back then, they came to experience the natural mineral springs and, although the springs still attract visitors from far and wide, there are now many other activities to keep the whole family entertained during your stay.

These include archery, bowling, dancing, and whitewater rafting. If you are looking for something a little less active, you can relax in the spa, try your luck at the casino, or visit one of the 38 stores that offer a little retail therapy. Of course, all of those things are fabulous, but many come to Greenbrier Resort for its world-class golfing facilities.

“I’ve spent most of my life golfing – the rest I’ve just wasted.” – Author Unknown.

If you’re a golf enthusiast, this place is a little slice of heaven. There are five courses to choose from (with a sixth joining the list in the near future). Staying here puts you in good company. Many famous faces have enjoyed the hospitality of The Greenbrier, and you might find yourself rubbing shoulders with business tycoons, celebrities, and even royalty.

The resort has also played host to no less than 26 American presidents (and can boast that every golf-playing U.S. president has graced The Greenbrier with their presence at some point). High acclaim, indeed, and if you add to that top golfers have also taken to its courses, you can only conclude that The Greenbrier has a reputation for being one of the finest and most iconic places to swing your iron.

If you don’t have your own iron, there’s no need to fret: At The Greenbrier, you can rent golf clubs, golf shoes, and golf carts. Golf carts are ideal for ferrying spectators around the fairway (along with heavy golf bags). You also have the option of hiring a forecaddie or walking caddie if you need a little assistance.

“Columbus went around the world in 1492. That isn’t a lot of strokes when you consider the course.” – Lee Trevino.

Golf Professional Emeritus

The Greenbrier is keen to help budding golfers improve their game. They are pleased to have renowned professional golfer Lee Trevino as acting “Golf Professional Emeritus.” Lee is happy to share his wisdom and insight (he has both in abundance after winning six major tournaments) and has a warmth that will put even the most nervous player at ease. The Greenbrier also boasts its very own golf academy (overseen by Lee Trevino), offering the very best in coaching.

“I learn something new about the game almost every time I step on the course.” – Ben Hogan.

The Old White TPC and The Greenbrier Course

There are currently five premier courses to choose from at The Greenbrier, and each is interwoven with a rich tapestry of history that provides you with a unique experience. The Old White TPC Course (designed by Charles Blair Macdonald) was the very first 18-hole golf course at The Greenbrier and opened in 1914. Charles took his inspiration for the design of the course from celebrated European courses (the 15th hole was based on the “Eden” at St Andrews).

In 2004, a two-year renovation program commenced and, in 2010, it became home to a PGA TOUR FedEx Cup tournament – The Greenbrier Classic. More recently (2016) major work had to be undertaken following flooding. Renowned architect Keith Foster steered the project, with the objective of retaining the model of the course but adding some finesse by cutting back foliage and reinvigorating the green.

There is also The Greenbrier Course (designed by Seth Raynor, opened in 1924). The course was chosen to host the 1979 Ryder Cup and, prior to the tournament, Jack Nicklaus stepped in to offer his expert eye, giving it a makeover.

The Greenbrier Course has also played host to the Solheim Cup and The Greenbrier American Express Championship. 2017 will prove to be an exciting year for the course. Phil Mickelson (an ambassador of the PGA TOUR) is due to give the course a fresh new look.

The Meadows, Oakhurst Links, and The Snead Course

The third of the five courses on offer is The Meadows Course (originally named Lakeside). It was designed by Alexander H. Findlay and started out as a 9-hole course in 1911. Seth Raynor played a part in the redevelopment of the course in 1923. Seth certainly had a very busy time, back then.

Alongside the redesign of The Meadows, he revamped The Old White TPC and development The Greenbrier Course, too. The course changed from 9 to 18 holes in 1962, under the direction of Dick

Wilson, and yet another refit took place in 1999.

This time, Bob Cupp took the helm, and the course was given a new name to match its new look – The Meadows. Severe flooding in 2016 led to the course closing, and it has since undergone extensive restoration.

If you stay at The Greenbrier, you get the added pleasure of playing Oakhurst Links (a short journey away). The 30-acre course was created in 1884, is included in the National Register of Historic Places, and was the very first golf course ever built in America.

The landowner, Russell Montague, discovered the game of golf in Scotland and was so taken with the idea that he set about building his very own course. In 1888, he even held his own tournament! Playing on such a historically important course is a pleasure. To add to the experience, you play Oakhurst Links using hickory-shafted clubs, gutta-percha balls, and tees made from water and sand.

Oakhurst Links is almost an interactive living museum, allowing you to play as Montague and his friends would have back in 1888. You are even encouraged to dress the part and can buy tall socks, caps etc. from the onsite shop.

Guests at The Greenbrier can also play The Snead Course (designed by Tom Fazio and opened in 2004). It was given its name in tribute to renowned golfer Sam Snead and offers an excellent range where budding golfers can perfect their swing.

Final Thoughts

“Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots – but you have to play the ball where it lies.” – Bobby Jones

The Greenbrier is the perfect destination for golf enthusiast and their families. You don’t have to be a professional golfer (or even that good) to enjoy the game.