With Smart Shopping, you can still find memorable courses with greens fees under $100. Here's a sampling of 10 fabulous golf resorts that either include their own courses or have courses nearby. Some are designed by top-name architects; others are major award winners; others are public courses with world-class charm. All are excellent options for group golf events.
Ballantyne Resort, Charlotte, N.C.
Recently named a “Great Golf Resort of the World” by PGA Magazine, Ballantyne Resort has won numerous state and regional awards for seven consecutive years. The 18-hole championship layout has a rolling, tree-lined terrain and “walk in the park” ambience. The club house has a private club atmosphere although it is open to the public.
MEETING FACTS: 214 guest rooms/16,000 square feet of meeting space/separate 35-room lodge with 2,000-square-foot conference room
GREENS FEES: $45 Monday-Thursday
CONTACT: (866) 248-4824; www.ballantyneresort.com
The Chattanoogan, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Located in the heart of downtown Chattanooga, Tenn., the Chattanoogan is a short drive from one of the nation's best public golf course values, Bear Trace at Harrison Bay, which is part of the Bear Trace Golf Trail, a collection of five world-class, 18-hole layouts designed by Jack Nicklaus. The heavily wooded Harrison Bay course has towering pine and hardwood trees and water features on 12 holes. Most greens are open in the front, so high-handicappers can enjoy the experience as well.
MEETING FACTS: 202 guest rooms/25,000 square feet of meeting space/20 meeting rooms
GREENS FEES: $35-$49
CONTACT: (800) 619-0018; www.chattanooganhotel.com
Francisco Grande Hotel & Golf Resort, Casa Grande, Ariz.
A 45-minute drive from the Phoenix airport, Francisco Grande features a golf course designed by Ralph Plummer, who also designed the famed Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth and Tryall Golf Club in Jamaica. The desert-framed course at Francisco Grande is incredibly lush, with more than 1,500 mature trees. The long-est course in Arizona at 7,545 yards, it has several sets of tees on each hole and can be adjusted down to 5,200 yards to accommodate novices.
MEETING FACTS: 107 rooms/10,000 square feet of meeting space
GREENS FEES: $29-$60
CONTACT: (800) 237-4238; www.franciscogrande.com
Legacy Golf Resort, Phoenix
Set on a former 7,500-acre ranch, the Legacy's 18-hole championship course, designed by Gary Panks, has indigenous grasses, flowers, shrubs, and trees surrounding its undulating fairways. Its elevation provides golfers with spectacular views of Camelback Mountain, Squaw Peak, and the downtown Phoenix skyline. Legacy also is home to the Kinetic Golf Academy and offerscoordination as well as private and group lessons and clinics.
MEETING FACTS: 328 suites/5,624 square feet of meeting space in four meeting rooms
GREENS FEES: Value season (June 1-October 15) $39-$69; high season (December 26-March 31) $89-$149
CONTACT: (602) 305-5555; www.legacygolfresort.com
Marriott Auburn Opelika Hotel & Conference Center at Grand National, Opelika, Ala.
Set on 2,000 acres of stunning lakefront countryside, this resort overlooks 54 holes of championship golf on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. Golf Digest repeatedly has named the Robert Trent Jones golf course at Grand National among “America's Top 10 Most Affordable Golf Courses.” Built on 600-acre Saughahatchee Lake, with 32 of the 54 holes draping its filigreed shores, the Grand National complex includes the Links Course, which combines challenging play with majestic natural contours; the Lakes Course, with 12 holes that hug the shoreline; and the Short Course, an 18-hole, executive-style layout ideal for novices.
MEETING FACTS: 114 rooms/15,000 square feet of meeting space
GREENS FEES: $35-$57
CONTACT: (866) 563-4389; www.marriottgrandnational.com
Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, Naples, Fla.
If you look hard enough, there are even great high-season deals at the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, one of Florida's oldest and most respected courses. In fact, guests can play for $60 after 2 p.m. from December to April. The course, which has been redesigned by Ron Garl, has been rated by Golf for Women magazine as among the “100 Most Women-Friendly Clubs.” It's also conveniently located just across the street from the hotel's front lobby.
MEETING FACTS: 318 rooms/34,000 square feet of meeting space
GREENS FEES: High season rate of $60 after 2 p.m. (December 20-April 16)
CONTACT: (800) 866-1946; www.naplesbeachhotel.com
Primm Valley Resort & Casino, Primm, Nev.
Las Vegas' green fees are notoriously high — an astronomical $500 in some cases. One way to beat the elevated prices is to stay and play at Primm Valley Resort & Casino, 35 miles south of the city. Here, Tom Fazio has designed 36 holes of phenomenal desert golf. The Lakes course, with dense groves of tall pines, features an extensive lake and river system that comes into play on 11 holes. In stark contrast, the Desert course is an arid experience with palm and mesquite trees, colorful cacti, and desert wildflowers.
MEETING FACTS: 624 rooms/21,000-square-foot conference center
GREENS FEES: $65-$115 weekdays
CONTACT: (702) 386-7867; www.primmvalleyresorts.com
Semiahmoo Resort, Blaine, Wash.
Nestled on the northern Puget Sound shoreline overlooking Semiahmoo Bay, this resort features two of Washington's top-rated public golf courses. The Arnold Palmer — designed Semiahmoo Golf Club is a tree-lined masterpiece with water in play on five holes. On the Loomis Trail course, an extensive canal and lake system brings water into play on all 18 holes, giving the course one of the highest slope ratings in the state. Last year, Semiahmoo Resort was named one of the “50 Best Courses for Women” by Golf for Women magazine.
MEETING FACTS: 198 rooms/35,000 square feet of meeting space
GREENS FEES: $35-$75
CONTACT: (360) 318-2000; www.semiahmoo.com
T Bar M Resort & Conference Center, New Braunfels, Texas
Guests at this resort can drive 10 minutes to the Bandit Golf Club, a Keith Foster design that is rated the 5th Best Public Course in Texas by Golfweek magazine. Winding around Long Creek and Lake McQueeny, the Bandit has significant elevation changes with sculpted fairways and fast and undulating greens.
MEETING FACTS: 80 rooms/10,000 square feet of meeting space
GREENS FEES: $29-$49
CONTACT: (830) 609-4665; www.tbarm.com
Treetops Resort, Gaylord, Mich.
Variety is the drawing card at Treetops, which offers 81 holes of golf on five different courses designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., Tom Fazio, and Rick Smith. The rolling, tree-happy, championship layouts are among the best in the Midwest, and the resort's par-3 course is arguably one of the best on the planet. The wildly undulating layout features elevation changes from 90 to 170 feet. For clinics and lessons, there's the Rick Smith Golf Academy on-site.
MEETING FACTS: 252 rooms/20,000 square feet of meeting space
GREENS FEES: $45-$89 (Before June 1, after September 24); $65-$120 (June 1-September 24)
CONTACT: (989) 732-6711; www.treetops.com
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