For more than 20 years, guests arrived at Primland armed with hiking, riding, fishing and hunting gear. Today, their arsenal includes golf clubs. Since the opening of the Highland course in 2006, the pursuit of birdies has become a large part of the sporting life at this 12,000-acre resort enclave in the mountains of southern Virginia.
From either of the resort’s two entrances, it’s a long, twisting drive through deep forest to the summit. There, straddling a backbone of the Blue Ridge Mountains, lies an outdoorsman’s (or woman’s) Shangri-La: 90 miles of trails to explore on horseback, foot or all-terrain vehicle.
The course site reminded architect Donald Steel of his Scottish highland roots, and he designed a 7,034-yard layout that runs along a ridge. Nearly every hole boasts a panoramic view of valleys and distant peaks. The hazards are ravines and cliffs supplemented by deep, well-placed bunkers around large, rolling greens. It’s an engaging, difficult track that flows smoothly and naturally.
Just as at home in the landscape as the course are the rustic but subtly luxurious accommodations—15 log cabins, all overlooking valleys to the east or west. This spring the resort will open cottages along the 10th and 18th fairways, followed in 2009 by a 26-suite lodge with gourmet restaurant, spa, indoor pool, and golf wing housing a pro shop and locker rooms.
Until the lodge is completed, dining is available at Stables Saloon, where the menu ranges from seasonal game dishes to skillet-seared beef filets to mussels steamed in a delicate sauce.