Virginia Golfer May / June 2015 - Page 33

Breathtaking views abound at nearly every turn at Sunriver Resort. SUNRIVER RESORT Mid Pines, another updated Donald Rossdesigned gem that gives visiting players an unbeatable tandem of women-friendly courses (pineneedles-midpines.com; 910-692-7111). PINE NEEDLES LODGE & GOLF CLUB Southern Pines, N.C. It may not scream five-star, but make no mistake: Under the guidance of LPGA legend Peggy Kirk Bell and her extended family, Pine Needles has introduced more women to the game than any other resort in the nation. Situated four miles from the Village of Pinehurst in the quaint little town of Southern Pines, the homespun resort’s centerpiece is a restored Donald Ross course with all his trademarks, notably wide fairways and inverted saucer greens. Pine Needles has hosted three U.S. Women’s Opens, but for the recreational player, the course is sheer delight from the forward tees at 4,936 yards. Walkers are welcome. Caddies are available. Ladies Golfaris, pioneered by Bell in the 1950s and available in February, May and September, offer five days of ladies-only, personalized instruction that set the pace in the industry. Accommodations in the chalet-style lodges are rustic, but Pine Needles has a laid-back elegance all its own. Guests also have playing privileges across the street at w w w. v s g a . o r g 28_VSGA_MayJune15.indd 31 LA QUINTA RESORT & CLUB La Quinta, Calif. Converted nearly 25 years ago from a private club to a resort venue, the Mountain Course at La Quinta, a serene desert hideaway that dates to 1926, is the prettiest and most playable of the many Pete Dyedesigned layouts in greater Palm Springs. Nestled up against the soaring flanks of the Santa Rosa Mountains, this delightful spread is a classic target-style course with plenty of forgiveness from the red tees at 4,875 yards. Just getting started? The LQ Express tees measure a friendly 3,732 yards. For a bigger challenge, La Quinta guests have preferred access to three courses at nearby PGA West, including the notorious TPC Stadium Course. Recently treated to a multimillion dollar restoration and infused with a fresh, clean look, the resort offers a wide array of accommodations, including flower-decked casitas, suites and luxurious spa villas spread across its manicured lawns. Enjoy other options such as a ‘Kinks from the Links’ specialty massage at Spa La Quinta, sample eclectic regional Mexican cuisine, including superb tamales and signature margaritas, at Adobe Grill or relax poolside at a resort where the sun shines nearly every day of the year. With 23 courts on a variety of surfaces, La Quinta is also a mecca for tennis players (laquintaresort.com; 760-564-4111). SUNRIVER RESORT Sunriver, Ore. Located on the eastern flank of the Cascade Range and framed by snow-frosted volcanic peaks, Sunriver’s golf courses, sketched across a high desert plateau, are exceptionally scenic even by central Oregon standards. The Meadows, the resort’s original venue, was reworked by John Fought into an appealing retro-style layout with generously rolling fairways, attractive water features and gently contoured greens. Caldera Links, a familyfriendly nine-hole par-3 course, is also delightful. For a bigger challenge, there’s Woodlands, a Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed layout indented by lava rock outcrops and lakes. Crosswater is a magnificent heathlandstyle threaded by a pair of rivers. For outdoor enthusiasts, Sunriver is in a class of its own: raft whitewater rapids in the upper Deschutes River, windsurf in Elk Lake, fish for land-locked salmon in back-country lakes, ride a bike (or a horse) along a scenic riverside path, canoe the high Cascades Lakes, or explore the crater of an ancient volcano. Carson’s American Kitchen, named for the explorer Kit Carson, and Twisted River Tavern (local microbrews, Oregon wines, gastropub fare) will reopen in May as part of a $50 million property revitalization (sunriver-resort.com; 800-801-8765). M AY / J U N E 2 0 1 5 | V I R G I N I A G O L F E R 31 5/8/15 11:46 AM