Worth the Drive: The Best Stay and Play Golf Packages in the Southeast
There are casual golfers and then there are guys that love golf, passionately looking for the next time to hit the links. If you fall into the latter category and you often find yourself fixing for a good round while on vacation, have you considered a stay and play package? There are resorts that cater to fellas like you, who want to immerse themselves in a weekend of golf with their friends.
Likewise, if you’re looking for a family getaway, some resorts boast a host of amenities that will keep your entire clan occupied while you take in 18 holes and a putting course. Beauty, comfort, fine dining, and some of the best golf of your life – does it sound like heaven? These places exist if you know where to look, and fortunately, we do. Keep reading and you will, too.
What to look for in stay and play packages at a golf resort
The most obvious thing to look for in a stay and play package is how the golf courses rank. A lot of great hotels have decent on-site golf or are close to a course, but a stay and play golf resort will make it a primary focus. You want a view that takes your breath away and a degree of difficulty that challenges you. A golf-centric resort will have courses that you won’t want to stop playing, except maybe to see your family.
Naturally, you’ll want comfortable, amendable lodging as well. Most resorts that cater to golf fanatics are going to be upscale, but definitely do a virtual tour of the rooms to get a feel before you do your booking. Check in with your friends or family who are going too and see what they prefer in a resort. Check the size of the rooms – there definitely will be enough room to store your clubs, but there’s other things to consider. How many of your golf buddies can share rooms? Will your spouse and kids have enough space to spread out in your room?
Are there non-golf things to do, in case you get tired of golfing (like that will ever happen)? Or perhaps, to entertain your family? A good resort will have more than just golf, and many take advantage of the natural beauty of the southeast to offer:
- Gorgeous outdoor vistas with pools
- Guided hiking tours
- Fishing or hunting
- Horseback riding, trail rides, and biking
- On-site shopping or shuttle service to nearby shops
In an ideal golf resort, there should be no reason to be bored. If you want to do something other than golf, a great resort will keep you and your vacation-mates busy with plenty of varied activities.
One of the best things you’ll find at an upscale golf resort is the fine dining. Few things are as satisfying as playing a round of golf and then relaxing with a cold craft beer and a delicious meal. Doing that multiple times over the course of a vacation may have you rethinking returning to normal life.
Finally, the location of your resort is everything. The American southeast boasts some of the most beautiful vistas in the world, from the gulf beaches to the grandeur of the Smoky Mountains. If you aren’t inspired by the view when you step outside your room in the morning with a cup of coffee, you are staying at the wrong lodge. Being able to relax in a beautiful environment will help you recharge and get the most out of your trip.
Below are three incredible examples of golf resorts in the Southeast. These three have everything you could need – luxury lodging, delicious cuisine, and incredible golf. They also have additional amenities and activities for the non-golfers in your travel group. Your stay and play vacation at these resorts will be anything but sub-par.
Well, being that these are golf resorts, maybe you want them described as sub-par. There’s a joke there, you get it – let’s move on.
Black Diamond Ranch – Florida
If you’re looking for the best golf course Florida has to offer, Black Diamond may very well have what you seek. The 45 holes designed by the legendary Tom Fazio will keep you busy the whole time you’re there. You can probably count on the Florida weather to help you stay on the course as long as possible too.
With multiple courses of varying complexity, as well as exceptional practice facilities, it’s a great choice to teach other people your passion for golf. Their driving ranges offer professional lessons as well as plenty of high-end opportunities to practice your short game, including an executive 4-hole course.
Lodging here is made up of quaint, beautiful cottages that make your stay feel like stepping into an idyllic neighborhood that just happens to have a world-class golf course adjacent to it. If golf is your passion, you need to stop by Black Diamond Ranch for your next Florida golf vacation.
How’s the golf?
The golf at Black Diamond Ranch is exceptional on each of property’s three courses. There’s a natural trench that the original owner wanted to showcase, so when Tom Fazio designed the course, he made it a feature of the property’s prized course, The Quarry. The strategically incorporated treeline and natural cliff faces within the design of the course make for a consistent, beautiful challenge every time.
With 5 levels of tees on each hole, you can come here with any level of expertise and have a great time. The 9-hole Highlands Course is a fantastic round by itself, but the placement of it allows you to integrate it into either of the other courses. Have you ever complained that there was more golf after you finished your golf? Probably not.
In all, this is likely the best golf destination in Florida, and The Quarry specifically rates in the top greatest courses in America over the last 20 years. That’s no small feat, and you’re sure to understand why when you step out there for the first time
Your stay at Black Diamond Ranch will be in one of their beautiful, cozy cottages. They look like idealized versions of the American Dream crystallized right in front of you. Perfectly landscaped lawns, gorgeous interiors, and huge comfortable beds will make you feel like you live there.
Being able to walk out onto one of the best greens in the world is a huge plus, as well. Two of their lodges – Bent Tree and Barton Creek 3 – offer 4 bedrooms/3-4 baths, with the others being 3/2-3 respectively. While Black Diamond Ranch is a private club first, they are equipped to handle stay and play vacationers as well as events. Consider this as a great place to host your next big gathering.
The Clubhouse at Black Diamond Ranch is situated on a hill overlooking the sprawling estate, with a wraparound veranda porch. You can grab a post-golf beer and enjoy the beautiful vistas, or slide up to one of their tables and enjoy their incredible cuisine. Again, their clubhouse and event hall can accommodate large parties as well as stay and play vacations – something to keep in mind for your next anniversary or for your wedding.
What other activities are there?
Two HarTru clay tennis courts will give your party a daily workout and if tennis isn’t for you, try out some cardio in their junior-Olympic sized pool. There are hiking and biking trails sprawling throughout the natural beauty of the area and the lodge offers a variety of crafting and cooking classes. Members and visitors alike gather to play cards, chat, and enjoy the atmosphere of this beautiful, scenic community.
How’s the view?
It’s Florida so you can bet Black Diamond Ranch offers not only spectacular natural splendor, but also constant sunshine for you to enjoy every minute you’re there. Sprawling, meticulously manicured golf courses, natural cliff bluffs, ravines, and placid blue ponds frame the property like a story come to life.
The golf is amazing here, don’t get us wrong, but you could hike every day of your stay and feel like you’ve entered another world.
If you’re considering a trip to Florida and a stay and play golf package is on your mind, call Black Diamond Ranch or check out their website. It’s going to be a life-changing trip in one of the most beautiful places in the state.
Sevierville Golf Club – Tennessee
Unlike our other choices for best stay and play golf spots in the Southeast, Sevierville doesn’t technically have lodging. What it does have is exceptional dining and some of the best golf courses Tennessee can muster. Pristinely landscaped, adjacent to all the happenings in downtown Sevierville, and truly challenging, the Sevierville Golf Club is a jewel of the Smoky Mountain area.
How’s the golf?
The golf courses of Sevierville Golf Club are incredible. An original 18-hole course – The Highlands – and a newer 18-hole challenge called The River take advantage of the natural, hilly landscape. Incorporating the Little Pigeon River into its run, the River course is a par 72 that will challenge even veteran players.
The Highlands course involves water in a few key ponds but is more forgiving, at least in how infrequently you need to consider the location of water hazards. Both will be fun for new and veteran players alike, but the Highlands is less harsh than the River. The longest shot at this location is a 572 yard par-5 at #18; bring your A-game.
In addition to these courses, the Sevierville Golf Club has a wonderful driving range with chipping areas and greens to practice on.
The one downside to this location is that there are no on-site lodges, but it does share a parking lot with Wilderness at the Smokies. Wilderness at the Smokies is an incredible place to stay if you’re traveling with your whole family, especially since it’s home to Tennessee’s largest indoor water park. With great rooms, delicious food options, and golf you can walk to, staying at the Wilderness at the Smokies is a no-brainer when visiting Sevierville Golf Club.
On-site dining – Mulligans – is mostly casual American. You also have many varied food options across the parking lot at the Wilderness at the Smokies and you’re only a quick drive away from many delicious unique eateries in Sevierville.
What other activities are there?
Hiking trails surround the area, using the natural beauty of the Tennessee landscape to its full advantage. The biggest draw (besides the golf) is the proximity of the Smoky Mountains National Park, which is less than a half hour away. The location of this golf course is truly one of the best in the region.
How’s the view?
The Smoky Mountains are some of the most beautiful scenery in the entire United States and this course isn’t far at all from them. The entire course is perfectly landscaped, using the Little Pigeon river both as beauty and as part of the overall challenge. Everywhere you look, you’ll have your breath taken away.
This course doesn’t offer the on-site amenities of the others on this list, but if you’re going through Tennessee, it’s a must-try. Particularly if you’re visiting the Smoky Mountains, you can take a short trip to Sevierville to see some of the best golf in the entire state of Tennessee. Give the Sevierville Golf Club a call and make it your next golf destination – you won’t regret it.
Pursell Farms – Alabama
What started out as an experiment to prove the value of the fertilizer product that the owners developed and manufactured (seriously), Pursell Farms has become a slice of golfing heaven on earth. Nestled in the woodlands just outside of Sylacauga, the resort is situated next to Lake Christine which is itself a prime fishing spot in the region. Everywhere you turn, the smells, sights, and sounds of the utmost of Alabama natural beauty are right there.
The Farm was started by Jimmy Pursell and his wife, Christine. Jimmy had a fertilizer business with his father-in-law, and in order to sell it to investors, they created a golf course to compare the grass fertilized with their product versus their competitors.’ Decades later, the fertilizer business was sold and they were left with the best golf course Alabama has ever seen.
Jimmy took his wife’s love of nature to heart when creating the resort as well. Pursell Farms is where a nature reserve meets exceptional golf and 5-star amenities in the heart of the American southeast.
How’s the golf?
In particular, FarmLinks has been voted #1 for the past 10 years on a list of the best courses in Alabama – which is saying something as there are some amazing golf courses in Alabama. This course is around 7400 yards in total, with perfectly-placed water, changes in elevation, and very subtle breaks.
The course is both a calm and relaxing round of 18 to play, but it’s also a challenging par 72. Additionally, each hole has a bit of history behind it, from the Sawmill at hole 2 to the Copperhead at hole 3 where Dave Pursell found a baby rattler ready to strike. It’s an enchanting trip through both southern history and the unique history of the Farms.
You will find no better southern hospitality than at Pursell Farms. With multiple cottages and lodges and a set of Masters lodges with even more space and amenities, you’ll find something that fits your party’s needs. Each guest house is given a golf cart as well, to make trips to and from the course a breeze through the breathtaking beauty of the countryside.
There’s also The Inn, a traditional lodging experience with 40 rooms, fitness area, swimming pool, and conference room. Anything a modern hotel has, the Inn includes, but in the most elegant way. The stay and play packages range between time of year and need, and you’re sure to find one that fits your desires.
Your options here are Arrington, a southern fine dining experience like no other, an American restaurant called The Grille, and a Scottish-American pub called Old Tom’s Pub. While Arrington has a single chef’s menu with multiple courses, both Old Tom’s Pub and The Grille offer a more relaxed, lighter affair.
The Grille is open for breakfast and lunch, offering quick, simple American fare. Old Tom’s is open for lunch and dinner, providing not just delicious food but plenty of spirits to keep you hydrated after multiple rounds of golf.
What other activities are there?
Pursell Farms has something for everybody. In addition to the aces of hiking and biking trails, there’s fishing and hunting galore. In addition, the Farm also offers:
- Electric and manual bike rentals
- Bocce ball and tennis courts
- A wonderful spa and sauna area
- John Deere Gators for off-roading and exploration of the nearby Sulphur Mountain
- Sport clays
With plenty of activities to keep you and your family occupied, the siren call of the golf course will still win out most of the time.
How’s the view?
The view is unrivaled, with acres of farmland, grazing longhorns, immaculate natural splendor, and the pristine Lake Christine. It’s close enough to the mountain that the presence looms large all the time, creating an effect like a sheltered, untouched valley. It is truly a one-of-a-kind oasis in Alabama.
Pursell Farms is truly one of a kind
There are few resorts like Pursell Farms. Even if you weren’t interested in the extreme quality of the golf at the Farm, there is so much to do that you’d truly never be bored. From fine dining to next-level lodging and the most beautiful vistas in Alabama, Pursell Farms should be your next stay and play vacation spot.
Gather your closest friends and family and book your stay and play golf package at Pursell Farms today. Not only is it a truly unique golfing experience, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime stay in the gorgeous region of the Southeast. Be the envy of all your golf buddies when they check Instagram and see your stories direct from the best course in Alabama. Make the golf trip at Pursell Farms a yearly tradition with the family or your golf group. To begin with though, book your first trip today – you’ll be glad that you did.