North Carolina makes a good case for being the most golf-blessed state in the U.S.
Both the “Home of American Golf” (the famed Sandhills region) and the “Cradle of American Golf” (storied Pinehurst Resort) are located in the friendly confines of the Tar Heel State.
Technically, even the “North Strand” of the Myrtle Beach “Grand Strand” lies in bucolic Brunswick County.
Golfers here are so spoiled, they can play one day in the Blue Ridge Mountains around haute Cashiers, hipster Asheville or collegiate Boone, and another day along the sandy shores of the Outer Banks or around historic Wilmington.
In between, ultra-modern, midsize cities like Raleigh, Charlotte and Winston-Salem beckon with myriad daily fee options.
However, one of North Carolina’s most over-looked golf destinations is hidden in plain sight.
The reimagined Grandover Resort in revitalized Greensboro is situated so close to bustling I-85, it feels like there should be an exit ramp straight into the parking lot.
The hotel, golf courses, amenities and surrounding materplanned community are the vision of the late Greensboro businessman and developer Joseph Koury. Koury passed away in 1998, but his spirit lives on throughout the hallways and fairways of The Grandover.
Rising from the rolling Piedmont like a monolithic ode to the Triad Region, Grandover’s centerpiece is a 244-room hotel that recently underwent a stunning $10 million renovation. Ownership and management did an admirable job of not just upgrading the rooms, restaurants and meeting space, but pulling in the rich history and culture of the state’s “Triad” region.
The hotel’s five luxury suites are themed to pay homage to Triad’s “industries, arts and people,” and guests can enjoy original art by North Carolina-based artists throughout the property. The lobby currently houses a Draper X-3 Loom from the former Cone Mills White Oak Denim Plant, the world’s largest producer of denim throughout most the 20th century.
“The Koury Corporation continues to reinvest in our community,” says Grandover general manager Kelly Harrill. “This is truly the best Grandover has ever been and we hope all our friends and neighbors will come out and enjoy it with us.”
Have-clubs-will-travel types, however, will immediately notice the bright green stretches of fairways emanating from the hotel. These would be the resort’s aptly named East and West courses.
Gary Panks and David Graham designed both courses, with the Scottsdale-based Panks taking the lead on both layouts. The 7,100-yard East Course opened in 1996, and is chock-full of elevation changes, wetlands and thick strands of Carolina hardwoods. The West Course opened a year later; slightly hiller, somewhat tighter and features a tinge of links-style design.
The dynamic course duo has hosted four Division III Men’s Golf National Championships and a Division I Regional in 2012. The Grandover is also the staging site and preferred lodging partner of the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship, held Aug. 1-4 at the neighboring Sedgefield Country Club, a private venue that opened in 1926.
The Grandover’s practice facility is so good (traveling golfers take note), the Wyndham Championship utilizes the Grandover practice range for the Wednesday Pro-Am participants to prepare for the day.
No doubt, practice time will be in high demand for this (80th) iteration of the tournament. For the first time the $10 million Wyndham Rewards Top 10 bonus pool will be in effect. It offers bonus money — $2 million to the winner – to the top 10 players in the FedEx standings entering the playoffs
Out-of-town golfers and Tour players notwithstanding, The Grandover understands loyalty among local golfers pays the bills. Case in point: longtime director of golf Jonathan York recently introduced the wildly popular “Griffin Club.”
North Carolina residents are eligible to join (for $20) and receive exclusive golf rates, access to a premier tournament series, unique spa, dining and apparel promotions and special clinics, equipment testing and social events.
Grandover’s new 19 & Timber serves at the Griffin Club’s de facto 19th hole, offering local craft beer and traditional pub fare. It is adorned with a mix of flat screen TVs and prints of Greensboro’s industrial and social past.
“In everything we do, we try to stay true to Mr. Koury’s vision of being both a world-class resort and a place for locals to call home,” says York, who was born and raised in Greensboro and has been with the golf operation since day one. “The hotel renovation and the Griffin Club are prime examples of how we are always striving to meet the needs of our guests and residents.”
Because it is such an accessible and convenient stopover, Grandover’s most popular golf package is a one-night stay-and-play starting at $349 for two players including golf, cart fees, bag storage, range balls and breakfast. For golfers headed south to the Sandhills region, it is the perfect arrival or getaway day round. Tobacco Road, Pinehurst Resort, Southern Pines, Mid Pines and other outstanding venues are just over an hour away.
For additional information on packages, amenities and area attractions, visit www.grandover.com.
When in Greensboro …
North Carolina’s Triad is one of the furniture capitals of the world, so why not a side trip to the largest furniture store in the world? With 1.3 million square feet, Furnitureland South is a behemoth. Located in Jamestown, it partners with over 1,000 of the world’s finest furniture and accessory manufacturers to offer the highest quality products with an exclusive low-price guarantee.