Reynolds Plantation - Experiencing is Believing
By Philip Sokol
Director of Operations
Greensboro, GA (Sports Network) -
The guys want to play golf, the girls want
to be pampered, and the family wants the beach. Ah, yes, the quandary that
awaits. This country has so much to offer, from Myrtle Beach to Florida,
California to Hawaii and everything in between. It doesn't matter if it's just
the guys, gals or family. I've got it, the ultimate retreat! Southern
hospitality at it's best, Reynolds Plantation in the Peach State - Georgia.
You've seen the advertisements in numerous golf and residential publications
over the years, but you probably thought, "It's in the middle of the state, no
beach and little to offer." Let me set the record straight. Reynolds
Plantation is the ultimate destination for all parties concerned. From the
serious golfer, to the vacationing family, or the ladies looking to relax.
This is it! A year-round destination, with temperatures in the 50s in the
winter, to 80s and 90s in the summer, and sensational 60s in the fall.
Reynolds Plantation is southern hospitality at it's best.
They say that location is everything, and Reynolds Plantation is situated in
the heart of Georgia, just 75 miles east from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta
International Airport and roughly the same distance, west of Augusta,
right off Interstate 20.
Let's start out with my forte, golf. Currently, 99 holes of resort golf are
available, designed by some of the best in the business -- Tom Fazio, Jack
Nicklaus, Rees Jones and Bob Cupp. Throw in a soon-to-be-opened, members-only
venue crafted by Jim Engh and you've hit the motherlode. It comes as no
surprise that Reynolds Plantation has been named the "Best of the Best" golf
community by the Robb Report.
Cupp, along with PGA Tour players Fuzzy Zoeller and Hubert Green, designed the
first track at Reynolds, the Plantation Course, back in 1988. When first
opened, the layout garnered ranking among Golf Magazine's "Ten Best New
Courses." The shortest of the courses, the Plantation features a natural,
rolling terrain with water coming into play on 14 holes. Bring plenty of
The incomparable Nicklaus got the call for the next course, aptly named Great Waters. Opened in 1992, this track produces some of the most beautiful views
of Lake Oconee, not to mention one of the most challenging of the courses at
Reynolds Plantation. Nine holes run alongside the lake, including the
spectacular 18th. For three seasons, the Great Waters was the site of the
Andersen Consulting World Championship, the precursor to the WGC - Match Play
Great Waters is one of the most challenging courses at Reynolds Plantation.
The one and only Tom Fazio was next to design at Reynolds Plantation. The National features three distinct nine hole layouts. Dense forests of
hardwoods, pines and dogwoods, along with beautiful vegetation make this
course a visual delight. Elevation changes galore dot the venue, including the
uphill second on the Cove nine and the roller-coaster sixth on the Bluff.
"Open Doctor" Rees Jones completed the quartet of courses with the longest
(7,393 yards) and highest-rated (75.5) track, The Oconee. Visually stunning,
The Oconee was nominated for one of the "Best New Upscale Courses" by Golf
Digest in 2003. Strategic in every sense of the word, Jones designed a layout
that's not only for the best of players, but with five sets of tee markers,
it's playable for the opposite end of the spectrum. The Oconee also garnered
awards for women, ranking it among the top-50 courses by Golf For Women
Recently added to the Reynolds lineup is the first golf course built on Lake
Oconee, Reynolds Landing. Designed by Bob Cupp, the course was purchased by
Reynolds Plantation in 2005 and features a robust, 7,000 yard-plus, Scottish-
style venue. Crafted in 1986, the course features water on 11 holes, including
the exciting fourth and fifth holes which border Lake Oconee.
The Oconee also garnered
awards for women, ranking it among the top-50 courses by Golf For Women
When all is said and done, The Creek Club, the latest course to join the
Reynolds Plantation fold, will become one of the most exciting courses in the
area. Mostly known for his designs out west, Engh has brought an incredible
flair and character to the topography. Many of the tributaries of Richland
Creek flow through the layout creating one of the most unique venues,
including the robust finishing hole, which possesses three separate greens.
It also helps to have one of GOLF Magazine's Top 100 Instructors in America on
staff. Highly-acclaimed teaching professional and author Charlie King is the
Director of Instruction at Reynolds Plantation. King is now designing and implementing innovative short game and full swing schools for individuals, groups and corporate outings at the new Reynolds Golf Academy.
The centerpiece of the entire community is the sensational, Ritz-Carlton
Lodge. Secluded in the towering pines and oaks by the shores of Lake Oconee,
the Lodge is decorated in deep earthy colors, and it overlooks the gently
glowing waters of Georgia's second largest lake.
Without getting into the history of the property, let's first focus on the 251
luxurious guest rooms and suites, complete with all of the southern comforts.
Featherbeds with Egyptian cotton linens and 100% goosedown and non-allergenic
foam pillows. Marble and granite bath with separate tub and shower, along with
plush terry robes and bath essentials. There are also 22 executive suites, 33
Ritz-Carlton Club Level rooms, one Ritz-Carlton suite, six cottages, and the
5,400-square foot Presidential House with four master bedroom suites. Conde'
Nast Traveler just named Reynolds Plantation on its Gold List as one of "The
World's Best Places to Stay."
|Reynolds Plantation is the ultimate destination for all parties concerned.|
Oh, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. From your head to your toes, the
pampering is complete, as guests can now lavish in the state-of-the-art Mobil
Four-Star Spa. Once thought of as a retreat for the ladies while the men
played, the 26,000 square-foot enclave is now enjoyed by both genders. Imagine
one of the most popular therapies, the Floating Cloud Facial, as guests
exfoliate for 85 minutes while skin-refining products bring you back in time.
The Spa now features Prada Beauty facial treatments to rejuvenate your
fatigued skin. In all, 19 treatment rooms, a couple's suite, separate
gentlemen and ladies' lounges, and fitness and wellness centers. From warm
soaking whirlpools, saunas and steam rooms to body treatments that will soften
your soul. The Ritz-Carlton Spa at Reynolds is invigorating. It stands to
reason that Travel + Leisure Golf rated the Spa as the second-best in the
We've only just begun to scratch the surface. Along with activities for mom
and dad, Reynolds Plantation features the award-winning Ritz Kids program.
Designed for ages five to 12, the activities include full and half-day
outings, as well as Kids Night Out twice a week with certified and trained
counselors. Nature scavenger hunts, fishing, learning how to repel with rope,
swimming, boating, arts and crafts, and movie night are just some of the
thrilling events available.
|Overlooking Lake Oconee, the Infinity Pool is a surefire way to wash away the rigors of life.|
When there's 80 miles of shoreline, the water activities are endless.
Canoeing, kayaking, freshwater fishing excursions, waterskiing, paddleboats,
and captained pontoon boat tours should "wet" your appetite. But, when it
comes to relaxation, it's the Infinity Pool that hits the spot. Overlooking
Lake Oconee, the Infinity Pool is a surefire way to wash away the rigors of
life. The endless supply of frozen peaches brought to you by the attentive
staff as you linger in the water is not too bad either.
If you're not into golf or water activities, which would be hard to believe,
there's jogging, biking and hiking trails, tennis, horseback riding and for
the real sportsman, skeet and trap shooting.
Food, food, glorious food. The meals at the Ritz-Carlton Lodge are unique and
delightful. The cream of the crop is Georgia's, the signature restaurant at
Reynolds. Specializing in Southern cuisine, the meals are made with a gourmet
touch using the regional touches of pecans, peaches and of course, Vidalia
onions. Your meal is exquisitely prepared, whether it be Herb Crusted Colorado
Lamb to Savannah Diver Scallops, topped off by Banana Cranberry Cobbler,
you'll savor each morsel under the rustic, timber ceilings alongside the
stacked stone fireplace.
If it's a classic steak you're in the mood for, look no further than the
Linger Longer Bar & Grill at the Oconee Clubhouse. The wood-burning grill
churns out the most tender of Filet and the tastiest New York Strip, all while
you overlook the Rees Jones-designed layout. By the way, the Persimmon-Grand
Marnier Creme Brulee is to die for.
Gaby's By The Lake is for the casual diner, who just wants to chill by the Lake and take in the beauty of the property. It's pizza your way or the Lake Country Po' Boy and everything in between. Heck, if you catch it, they'll cook it. Top it off with Bananas Foster or the Chocolate Brownie Stack and you're set for the night.
|Gaby's By The Lake is for the casual diner, who just wants to chill by the Lake and take in the beauty of the property.|
For the kids (and us big kids), it's s'mores at night overlooking the lake as the moon glistens off the water. What better way to complete your day, by sitting in Adirondack chairs around the campfire, sliding down s'mores and sipping on a cocktail.
Just as important to the process of deciding where to travel is the service of the resort. Go no further than the staff at the Ritz-Carlton. Forget the original saying, it should be, "Service makes the heart grow fonder." The incomparable crew makes your journey one of the most memorable you'll ever experience.
Reynolds Plantation has taken vacationing to the next level. Check out some of the exciting packages available. From the sticks and stones to heal your bones experience to the TaylorMade Performance Lab package. That's right, Reynolds Plantation is one of just three facilities in the world to feature the TaylorMade Performance Lab. This is cutting edge technology, with an emphasis on swing analysis and custom club-fitting.
There has to be a reason why AAA designated Reynolds Plantation as a Five Diamond Resort. Find out for yourself at:
I can't take it. All of this has given me the itch to go back. See y'all real soon on Lake Oconee at the unparalleled Reynolds Plantation.
Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Philip Sokol at