The 963-room Boca Raton Resort & Club in Boca Raton, Fla., last year reopened its 18-hole Resort Course (one of two 18-hole championship courses at the club) after a $6.5 million redesign. The course now features more than 12 acres of water and dramatic elevation changes. Programs from the Nicklaus/Flick Golf School and Dave Pelz Short Game Golf School are available for groups.
The Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall, Jamaica opens in January 2000 in the historic plantation area along Montego Bay. The 430-room beachfront resort will offer 18,000 square feet of meeting space and the White Witch golf course, named by designer Robert von Hagge for a storybook, The White Witch of Rose Hall.
The Rees Jones golf course at The Registry Resort Naples (Fla.), set to open in December, has a unique feature: no surrounding residential development. The 474-room beachfront Registry Resort has 38,000 square feet of meeting space.
Club Corporation International has announced $200 million in upgrades to properties in its Club Resorts portfolio. Barton Creek Resort, in Austin, Texas, is adding 138 rooms (bringing the total to 281) and the Fazio II Golf Course and Clubhouse, the fourth Barton Creek course and the second Tom Fazio design. This fall, the resort will link its existing conference center to the spa building, adding 11,000 square feet of meeting space and a 72,000-square-foot ballroom. At The Homestead, in Hot Springs, Va., the 106-year-old European-style spa was completely rebuilt. The 512-room resort offers three golf courses: Cascades, the famed William S. Flynn mountain course; Old Course, by Donald Ross; and Lower Cascades, by Robert Trent Jones. Daufuskie Island Club & Resort,off the coast of Hilton Head, S.C., recently restored eight cottages and will soon break ground on a 16,000-square-foot antebellum-style conference center. The resort has 186 accommodations, including rooms and cottages, and two golf courses.
The Sam Snead Golf Academy has opened at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va. Snead combined his secrets with those of the Jacobs' Golf Group to create the Academy, which will offer half-day and full-day programs, plus one-hour clinics. The elegant 642-room resort has 30 meeting rooms that accommodate up to 2,000 people.
About the size of South Carolina, Ireland offers legendary year-round golf opportunities. In the beautiful Connemarra region is Ashford Castle and its sister property, the newly refurbished and expanded Dromoland Castle. Dromoland's challenging 18-hole parkland course is a favorite of incentive groups. The castles are not far from Shannon International Airport, and within two hours of Shannon there are 50 golf courses. These include the Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed golf course at Adare Manor, an architectural jewel originally built in 1832 that is now a five-star hotel. Three lakes anchor the front nine, and the River Maigue meanders through the back nine of this lovely course. Also close to Shannon airport are the "stations of the cross" for golf devotees visiting the Emerald Isle: Killarney, Waterville, Ballybunion, and Lahinch. Ballybunion's Old Course is renowned as one of the world's great links courses, while Lahinch has been described as the St. Andrew's of Ireland.
Westin Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla., is undergoing a $50 million renovation. The resort offers 1,000 guest suites in 28 lodges minutes from the Gulf of Mexico. More than 65,000 square feet of meeting space includes a 14,000-square-foot ballroom. Added this spring: a 22,000-square-foot pavilion connecting to Inverness Hall. New this summer: Three new dining outlets, the TeamBuilders Executive Challenge Course, and The Lost Oaks course, making 90 holes of golf in all at the resort. By 2000, a health club and spa with 21 treatment rooms will be added.
The historic Ford Plantation recently opened its gates to small. The 1,800-acre retreat, Henry Ford's former winter residence in Savannah, Ga., offers golf, a spa, fishing, sporting clays, and other recreational options. The course at Ogeechee Golf Club is the only Pete Dye course ever built for a private patron. The Henry and Clara Ford residence serves as a main house for guests, with dining facilities, a meeting room, a library, and five guest rooms. Additional guest rooms are located throughout the plantation. Recommended group size is from 18 to 30 people, but larger groups staying in Savannah-area hotels can use the retreat's facilities.
The Boulders resort in Carefree, Ariz., is working with architect Jay Morrish to restore the property's two golf courses to their original designs. As the desert has matured around the North Course and the South Course, the strategy of many holes has been affected. Owned and operated by Grand Bay Hotels & Resorts, the Boulders offers 160 rooms, 37 villas, and 11 meeting rooms, the largest of which accommodates 550 people.
Eagle Ridge Inn & Resort in Galena, Ill., has announced a multimillion-dollar program to enhance its inn and four golf courses to be completed by the end of next year. Remodeling of the resort's four courses and refurbishing of the clubhouse have already been completed. The golf operation is managed by Troon Golf. The resort's 80 rooms and 350 villas are being modernized, and its 16 meeting rooms are being upgraded.