The Greenbrier was highlighted as a “Historic Haven” in the November issue of Smart Meetings – a top media company and trusted source for meeting professionals. America’s Resort™ can be found in the issue’s Golf & Spa Resorts feature, positioned as one of the nation’s original wellness destinations with unbelievable and endless amenities/activities.
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Golf and Spa Resorts: The Land of Ahhhs
By Courtney Peter
Hyper-local experiences at golf and spa resorts
To recharge means different things to different people. While some revel in the chance to spend several hours guiding a dimpled white orb across fairway and green, others prefer to retreat to the sensory sanctuary of a spa. No matter the preferred method of decompression, the crucial point is that companies and employees allot the time and space for it to happen, as a true reset can only occur during an escape from the routine.
Fortunately, a transportive experience at a thoughtfully designed, expertly equipped golf and spa resort is within reach—not only for groups willing to cross time zones, but also for those looking for destinations within their region. Offerings eschew the rote in favor of highly customized, hyper-local options featuring standout scenery, regional traditions and locally produced goods. Attendees, fully immersed in and attuned to their surroundings, emerge reawakened to the potential for discovery and inspiration.
For planners seeking a venue where their group can both meet and mellow out, let this article serve as their passport to the Land of Ahhhhs.
Tucked away in the Allegheny Mountain town of White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, The Greenbrier has drawn wellness travelers to its door for nearly 240 years. The sulfur-rich native waters, which are believed to possess healing properties, powered the resort’s rise as one of the nation’s original wellness destinations. Today, the 40,000-square-foot Greenbrier Spa continues that legacy. Groups gathering at the historic hideaway can also make use of five championship golf courses, 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, as well as dozens of activity options such as treetop canopy tours, falconry lessons and much more.
Opening in the summer of 2018, The Ashford short course will be a collection of holes from revered architects and courses around the world. The newest addition will be focused on great architecture, a relaxed environment, and fun for all who play. The Ashford short course is a 9-hole loop that will be walking only and range from 76 to 112 yards. The relaxed environment of the short course has capabilities for family golf of all ages to learn the game for the first time or hone in on a rusty short game. Of course, it will be available after the round in helping settle friendly wagers or ties from your game of the day. We will also use The Ashford to host events like night golf, closest to the hole, etc. With the close proximity to The Members’ Lodge, it is perfect to walk over if you just don’t have the time to play The Snead course, and we can’t wait for everyone to try it out!
Did you know? In August 1942, the U.S. Army purchased The Greenbrier Hotel in White Sulphur Springs from Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, and began converting it into a military hospital for sick and wounded soldiers and airmen. Named for Army physician Col. Bailey K. Ashford (1873–1934), the new hospital received its first patients in November. Before Ashford General closed in mid-1946, more than 25,000 seriously ill and wounded patients—including many from West Virginia—had received treatment.
Ashford employed 45 doctors, 100 nurses, and 500 enlisted men. Assisting them were 200 WACs (Women’s Army Corps), 35 civilian nurses, 500 civilian employees, and scores of Red Cross volunteers. Seven hundred German prisoners of war maintained the grounds and buildings. Families, friends, and good-hearted people throughout West Virginia came to visit and help the men toward a speedy recovery. The recovering servicemen could use all of the famous resort’s special facilities— swimming pool, golf courses, tennis courts, hiking and biking trails, and so on—and monthly dances with live entertainment were held. Today, few of The Greenbrier’s visitors know of the vital role it played during World War II, but those who were there have vivid recollections of Ashford General Hospital as a Shangri-La for wounded servicemen.
Source: Keefer, Louis E. “Ashford General Hospital.” e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 10 December 2010. Web. 21 November 2017.
#1. Lions Mouth – Plays to a double green shared with #7.
The green is split by a large ridge that dissects the two holes. A “Lions Mouth” bunker, guarding the front right of the green, guards the green. The Lions Mouth is a concept that Seth Raynor and CB Macdonald used on many of their courses. This hole plays approximately 76 yards.
#2. Double – Plays to another shared green with #6.
The green is again separated by a large ridge running through the center, giving each hole its own defined putting surface, even though they are connected. A long skinny bunker on the front left guards the green. Once on the green, the surface has many subtle breaks. Walter Travis, renowned for his green complexes, inspired the green concept. This hole plays approximately 97 yards.
#3. The Redan
The original Redan hole was built in Scotland at North Berwick. The hole has been duplicated many times by the likes of Seth Raynor, CB Macdonald, Charles Banks, and many others. The Redan allows a player to play on the extreme side of the green, to which the ball will roll to the level part of the putting surface. This hole plays approximately 102 yards.
The 4th hole on Ashford is our rendition of HC ‘’Papa’’ Leeds’ 9th hole at Myopia Hunt Club – some say the most interesting par three in the world. This quirky, but fun, short par three has it all! From the surprise bathtub bunkering (deep and skinny), to the dramatic views once on the green. This hole plays approximately 88 yards.
A “punchbowl green” is a putting surface that sits inside a hollow or depressed area on a golf hole, so that the putting green appears as a “bowl,” with a flat bottom and sides rising up from that bottom. The bottom is the putting surface, the “sides” of the bowl typically consist of mounding around three sides of the putting surface. The front of a punchbowl green is open to the fairway to allow golf balls to run onto the green, and the fairway often runs down to a punchbowl green. The complex is very accepting to most shots as it will play slightly downhill. This hole plays approximately 85 yards.
#6. Press – Plays to the shared green with #2.
This concept was inspired from a Walter Travis green complex from Kennebunkport, ME. Mr. Travis thought a player should be able to play most shots around a green with almost any club in his bag. With the large approach and mounding around this green, a player should be able to use a variety of clubs and imagination if the green was missed. This hole plays approximately 82 yards.
#7. Duel – Plays to a shared green with #1.
Inspired by The Duel Hole, a famous par three designed by A.W. Tillinghast at The San Francisco Golf and Country Club. This famous par three was built on the actual site of a famous duel back in 1859 between Senator David Broderick and Supreme Court Justice David Terry of the Democratic Party. This duel hole has a large potato chip looking putting surface, a concept ‘’Tilly’’ incorporated in many of his designs. This hole plays approximately 93 yards.
In case you were wondering, Supreme Court Justice Terry was on the better end of the duel!
#8. Reverse Redan
Two great concepts in one! The reverse Redan will encourage players to play left of their target and use the slope to get closer to the hole and the more level part of the green. A misplaced shot to the right will have to contend with the deep bathtub bunker! This hole plays approximately 100 yards.
This hole plays along Howard’s Creek and to a double shelved putting surface. The green complex features a sloping green from back to front with deep penal bunkers to the left and rear of the green. This hole plays the longest at approximately 112 yards long.
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Architectural continuity and a respect for context are important precepts in the development of The Greenbrier Sporting Club’s physical environment. Accordingly, homes are shaped in a style sympathetic to either The Greenbrier’s classically inspired architecture or the rugged beauty of the Allegheny Mountains. The location of the home will largely determine the recommended stylistic approach. Generally, those residences set within the resort estate will follow the design traditions of the classic Greenbrier cottage. For sites not located in the resort park, the style of homes is more reflective of the surrounding mountain environment. The use of natural materials and earthen colors native to the wooded mountainside permit the home to blend gracefully with its surroundings.
The natural beauty of The Greenbrier landscape will be preserved and enhanced as The Club grows. Houses are carefully sited and disturbed areas are limited to minimize their impact on the land. Landscaping plans enhance the native habitat by using indigenous vegetation. Wherever possible, trees are preserved and protected to enhance the beauty and value of properties within the estate.
Site planning, as well as architectural and landscape design, are controlled by the Architectural Review Board (ARB), a permanent committee of The Greenbrier Sporting Club Community Association. The ARB exercises control to:
- Oversee a harmonious development of The Greenbrier Sporting Club
- Preserve and enhance the natural environment and beauty of The Club’s property
- Preserve and enhance the privacy and tranquility of individual homesites
- Assist owners in obtaining maximum utilization and enjoyment of their property within the applicable rules of The Club
Upholding this vision of The Greenbrier Sporting Club are the Architects and Builders who have been approved by the ARB. Using their talent, creativity, and experience, they design and build homes that complement the land and add lasting value to The Greenbrier Sporting Club.
Two homes in The Greenbrier Sporting Club community received awards at the 58th Annual Home Builders Association of West Virginia Convention. Awards for the Best Single Family Class III and Best Single Family Class V were won by two homes, both built by The Pinnacle Group.
“The contest is judged by your peers,” said Tony Mamone, President, “There’s no outside influence. You submit your entry and it goes before a Board of Builders at the Charleston office. These awards are hard to come by, and they’re coveted. We’re extremely proud to be honored with these awards this year.
Oak Hollow 3 – 572 Oak Hollow – great room
The Best Single Family Class III award came for a home in our Oak Hollow neighborhood. The 2,300-square-foot home features materials that came from trees removed from the property. Those materials were used to fabricate wood beams, ceilings, and floors that make the home not only beautiful, but also unique.
Oak Hollow 3 – 572 Oak Hollow – master bedroom
“We were able to use the materials from on site to create some beautiful interior features,” said Mamone, “That makes this property special.”
White Sulphur Hill 55 – 298 White Sulphur Hill Road – exterior
The Best Single Family Class V award came for a home in our White Sulphur Hill neighborhood. The more than 3,000-square-foot home includes a custom interior made from reclaimed material from Greenbrier County and throughout Southern West Virginia. The breakfast area is made from wormy chestnut harvested from old barns and buildings around the area, and the floors are made from red and white oak, also harvested from the area.
White Sulphur Hill 55 – 298 White Sulphur Hill Road – porch
1. Beautiful Historic Setting: The Allegheny Mountains provide an unmatched picturesque beauty. Sometimes referred to as the “Switzerland of America” due to the mountainous terrain. The Greenbrier itself is an award-winning resort located in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. This National Historic Landmark, dubbed “America’s Resort,” represents over two centuries of history with its classic architecture, exquisite interior design, carefully sculpted landscape, impeccable service, and outstanding amenities. Set across a lush 11,000-acre estate, located just off Interstate 64, making it easily accessible from 1/3 of the U.S. population. The closest airport, Greenbrier Valley Airport (LWB) is only 13 miles (20 minutes) with no traffic from the front door.
2. Moderate Four-Season Climate: Ideally situated in an upland valley of the Allegheny Mountains, The Greenbrier and The Greenbrier Sporting Club enjoy a moderate southern climate, allowing you to enjoy numerous activities, no matter what the season. July averages: High 82F/Low 59F. January averages: High 40F/Low 20F. Snowfall is 19 inches. (The average US city gets 20 inches per year.) Accumulations vary on elevation and region. Eastern Greenbrier County, where The Greenbrier Sporting Club is located, generally receives less than the western region. The area receives 40 inches of rain per year (US average is 37). The most precipitation on average occurs in May. Prevailing winds are from the south and west.
Heated infinity pool at The Summit
3. Clean Mountain Air: According to the American Lung Association, breathing polluted air can harm your health and even shorten your life. In 2014, the American Lung Association gave Greenbrier County, West Virginia a grade of “B” based on an analysis of ozone and short-term levels of particle pollution. Note: The Greenbrier Sporting Club has had members relocate from more urban areas for better air quality.
4. Value: Incorporate a 239-year history of excellence at one of the world’s most prominent resorts, countless amenities and activities, and you get The Greenbrier Sporting Club – America’s preeminent resort residential enclave. The level of history, quality, and vision is not found anywhere else at any price. Add to that a 103,000 square-foot Casino Club, as well as a stop on the PGA TOUR’s FedEx Cup with The Greenbrier Classic. There is so much value compacted into this renowned resort that it appears that it can’t be beat. For those in the market for a vacation home, now would be a good time to purchase, as current home values are at opportunistic levels.
Casino Club at The Greenbrier
5. Choice: Whether you are looking to live near the hub of activity with a home along the golf courses and babbling creek, or a peaceful mountaintop retreat with privacy, The Greenbrier Sporting Club has a home or homesite to suit any desire within several neighborhoods to choose from.
6. Exclusivity: Membership, with a home or homesite purchase, is limited at The Greenbrier Sporting Club. This way The Club creates an exclusive sporting community, perfectly suited for just a few fortunate families to experience.
The Sports Complex
7. Amenities (Private Club & More): No other community comes close to what The Greenbrier Sporting Club provides – a world-class private club at a world-class resort. Two lodges with infinity pools, restaurants, lounges, sports and fitness facilities, their own private golf course, The Snead, as well as their own spa, equestrian center, year-round outdoor pursuits staff and so much more. On top if it all, they enjoy exclusive access and benefits to everything The Greenbrier has to offer.
8. Endless Activities: Diverse outdoor activities abound year-round and there is something for everyone to enjoy. After all, West Virginia isn’t called “Wild and Wonderful” for nothing. The Greenbrier Sporting Club is the ideal place to explore new pursuits and perfect your passions. As a homeowner, you’ll enjoy time to discover the excitement of learning new skills, as well as the thrill of pure sport, from fly fishing and hunting to shooting ranges and pond fishing. Only homeowners here have it all – from their own year-round members-only activities and private instruction, plus privileged access to the more than 55 activities offered by The Greenbrier resort – including its picturesque golf courses; The Old White TPC, The Greenbrier (under renovation), and the newly reimagined Meadows.
The Snead – members only golf course
9. Excellent Health Care & Cosmetic Services: Members of The Greenbrier Sporting Club enjoy special access to the on-site Greenbrier Clinic, which provides diagnostic and preventative medical care to thousands of executives and health-conscious individuals every year who demand top-quality service and personalized care. Members receive 24-hour concierge care, receive a complimentary comprehensive premier wellness evaluation, and 15% off diagnostic services.
Board Certified Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon, Dr. Michael S. Kluska, is already leading the way to a more beautiful you, today! Renowned for his artistry as a cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Kluska and his team of experts offer surgical and skincare procedures and products at both The Greenbrier Center for Cosmetic Surgery and MedSpa and the temecula facial oral surgery. Sporting Club members enjoy 15% discounts on all MedSpa services and products provided at these locations.
For hospital services, such as immediate care and emergency room care, Greenbrier Valley Medical Center is located in Ronceverte, a short 20-minute drive. In Lewisburg, the Robert C. Byrd Clinic, an extension service of The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, provides primary care services.
10. Healthy Living / Farm to Table: From herbs to vegetables and homemade sausage to jellies, The Sporting Club’s chefs enjoy providing members with the freshest produce possible from local farmers. The Greenbrier Sporting Club also enjoys using fresh produce from The Greenbrier Chef’s Garden, located just east in Virginia, on 43-acres of pristine beauty. Everything from the farm is naturally grown with no pesticides. The farm raises nearly all of the produce for The Greenbrier Restaurant Collection, including 25 varieties of fruits and vegetables. If healthy living is a decision maker, then homeowners will be comforted to know where their food comes from when being served at The Club and the resort.
Homeowners can also shop healthy for their own pantries. Living in an agricultural community provides members with 3 farmer’s markets and a plethora of locally, sustainably, and organically raised produce, meats, and home products.
11. Low Congestion: Greenbrier County has been primarily agricultural, but is experiencing some population growth and significant development. With more special events bringing in more visitors, like The Greenbrier Classic, you’ll see very light congestion in the neighboring towns of Lewisburg and Ronceverte during certain hours on a few days out of the year, but there is absolutely no comparison to traffic when living in larger metro areas, such as Washington, D.C. or any other city.
12. Low Crime: West Virginia is among the lowest crime rate states in the country. Owning a home within the gated community of The Greenbrier Sporting Club, you’ll enjoy peace of mind, as security patrols the entire 11,000-acre estate.
13. Low Cost of Living: West Virginia’s cost of living ranks us 27th and is 97.2 or 2.8% below the national average, based on the Council for Community and Economic Research’s 2013 ACCRA Cost of Living Index. This translates into lower property taxes, electricity, and services.
14. Southern Hospitality: West Virginia has a reputation for having a small-town friendly atmosphere.
15. Respected Arts & Culture: Our beautiful valley has several charming hamlets that beckon you to explore. From White Sulphur Springs, home to The Greenbrier, to Alderson, home to West Virginia’s largest Independence Day celebration, and Ronceverte, home to the State Fair of West Virginia, our region promises visitors an array of attractions, events, and cultural opportunities for short day excursions outside the gate of The Greenbrier’s estate. Most notable is the town of Lewisburg, located just 9 short miles from The Greenbrier Sporting Club. The National Trust has named Lewisburg one of the Dozen Distinctive Destinations for Historic Preservation, one of the Best Small Art Towns in America, and voted America’s Coolest Small Town by Frommer’s Budget Travel Magazine. Downtown Lewisburg’s Carnegie Hall, Lewis Theatre, and Greenbrier Valley Theatre all feature nationally acclaimed artists and productions for concerts, plays, and other events. Here you can discover a surprising selection of art galleries, award-winning restaurants, sidewalk cafes, antique shops, and trendy clothing boutiques.