Amelia Island Plantation in Florida takes its place among golf vacation destination elite
A key insight into what you need to know about Amelia Island, Fla. can be found on its guest list. Famed family scions from the Vanderbilts, DuPonts and Carnegies were regular visitors, if not part-time residents, albeit a century ago, when the Palace Saloon was perhaps Florida's most famous haunt.
Naturally, the high-society crowd hung out at the Palace, built in 1878 and known today as Florida's oldest bar remaining on its original site, creating the lifestyle contrast you can see to this day. In case that's not enough evidence, consider Amelia Island was the birthplace of the American shrimping industry (approximately 80 percent of Florida's supply still comes from these waters).
Casual yet sophisticated. On Amelia Island, you can feel comfortable in a seersucker suit or flip-flops and shorts. While throwing a shrimp net, of course.
And at Amelia Island Plantation, one of America's hidden resort gems has evolved into a top golf/spa destination. With a four-diamond ranking and four distinct courses, it has taken its place in the group photo of places like Pinehurst, Whistling Straits, Kiawah Island and others.
Tom Fazio designed Long Point. Pete Dye did Oak Marsh. Dye and Bobby Weed combined to produce the Ocean Links course. Tom Jackson, a South Carolina-based architect with a growing reputation and resume, produced Amelia River Golf Club, which the resort bought three years ago to complete an impressive golf portfolio.
It's the best of both the seaside and inland golf worlds. Playing Ocean Links one day and Oak Marsh the next, or Long Point and Amelia River, or any combination, completes a rare mix for any golf resort.
It's like going to the beach one day and taking a nature hike through a tidal marsh the following morning.
Or enjoying a drive under a canopy of live oak trees and Spanish moss, then planning an afternoon picnic amid the white sand dunes along the Atlantic.
Any way you work the golf ball, it carries with the Southern charm and grace of this slice of paradise tucked in the northeast corner of Florida's border with Georgia.
On the South Course at The Boulders Resort near Scottsdale, designer Jay Morrish had to integrate a layout that held its own against - but didn't detract from - an incredible desert landscape. This is a course you'll never forget, making it a must-play for anyone who comes to the Phoenix-Scottsdale area to play golf.
Charlie King of Reynolds Plantation, a look at Amelia Island Plantation, and Bailey on the TRX Suspension Trainer
Podcast host Dave Berner talks to Charlie King, director of instruction at Reynolds Golf Academy, about Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, Georgia. Tom Spousta reports from Amelia Island Plantation near the Georgia-Florida border. And Mike Bailey experiments with a new fitness gadget, the TRX Suspension Trainer from Fitness Anywhere.
Heading to Orlando for the PGA Merchandise Show? Bring your clubs and get in a few rounds on golf gems such as Orange County National, Shingle Creek Golf Club or Osprey Ridge at the Walt Disney World Resort, Tom Spousta writes.