Travel Insider: Omni Amelia Island 'Re-Imagination,' Golf & Gastronomy, Blue Ridge Gold, and more

By: Brian McCallen

Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, situated at the tip of a barrier island north of Jacksonville, Fla. hear historic Fernandina Beach, is the beneficiary of a recent $85 million “Re-Imagination.” Featuring 404 oceanfront guest rooms, 3.5 miles of pristine beach, nine restaurants (gourmet to casual), and northeast Florida’s largest pool deck (swimming pools, hot tubs, fire pits, a kids’ splash park, etc.), this AAA Four-Diamond property has much to offer. Golfers can tee it up on the resort’s three courses, including Amelia Links, a 36-hole complex laid out by Pete Dye and Bobby Weed; and Long Point, a Tom Fazio-designed member’s course woven around dunes and tidal marshes that offers reserve tee times to resort guests one day in advance.

Relais & Chateaux, the elite collection of charming, refined hotels known for its deluxe accommodations, gourmet restaurants, and superb service, is featuring a Golf & Gastronomy program at 49 of its affiliated properties starting at 269 Euros per person, double occupancy. The package includes one night in a classic or superior room, dinner for two (beverages are extra), breakfast, and two green fees. Twenty-one of the participating hotels are in France, with the balance located elsewhere in Europe and in Morocco, South Africa, Thailand, and the Caribbean. 

Tucked away in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Wintergreen Resort, a sprawling 11,000-acre property located southwest of Charlottesville, offers two distinctive courses. Devils Knob, an Ellis Maples design, crowns a mountaintop. Stoney Creek, a 27-hole layout by Rees Jones, is etched across the valley floor. Flexible packages with numerous options are available all summer. Guests can stay one night and play one round, stay one night and play two rounds (one apiece at each course), etc. Stay & Play packages, starting at $99 per person, per night, double occupancy, includes green fees and cart, advance tee times, unlimited use of practice facility, 50% discount on rental clubs, and other extras. 

The Georgia Golf Trail, a collection of 15 top resorts and clubs stretching from the mountains to the coast, has been formed to raise the Peach State’s profile as a premier golf destination. Formed by a partnership between the Georgia Department of Economic Development Tourism Division and Georgia Golf & Travel, the Trail includes top facilities on the outskirts of Atlanta (including Callaway Gardens and Barnsley Gardens) as well as the leading venues around Lake Oconee: Reynolds Plantation, Cuscowilla, and Harbor Club. In Georgia’s Golden Isles, resorts such as Sea Island, Jekyll Island, and the King and Prince are Trail members. In additional to its temperate climate, Georgia’s historic, cultural, and natural attractions are also part of the Trail’s promotional thrust. 

French Lick Resort, the 45-hole resort destination in southern Indiana, has opened a new Golf Academy featuring a TaylorMade club-fitting center. The resort’s certified club-fitters conduct a comprehensive two-hour club-fitting session similar to what PGA Tour pros go through with their equipment. The French Lick Golf Academy’s computer swing technology features the Flight Scope X2 Doplar Radar for launch angle and ball flight monitoring, plus the TOMI Putting System, which analyzes the putting stroke. The custom club-fitting matrix draws from over 10,000 possible combinations of TaylorMade driver, fairway, rescue, and iron configurations. 


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