Some say that “Slammin’” Sam Snead — he of the perfect golf swing — was the greatest golfer ever. No doubt he enjoyed a course with a challenge, which is what he and Robert Cupp designed for the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa. In fact, this is such a quality course that it’s used for the PGA Tour’s Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf event. And the quality isn’t limited to the links.
The resort is typical Westin, with all the accoutrements that one would expect, including the Heavenly Bed, Heavenly Bath and Starbucks coffee in all the guestrooms. The resort’s award-winning restaurant, Aqua Star, specializes in seafood and steak, and the signature fillet wrapped in applewood-smoked bacon is “heavenly” too.
Speaking of heavenly, I can say from experience that you will truly appreciate another one of Westin’s “heavenly” amenities: the Heavenly Golf Car. Its ice-based cooling system — a must for play in the Southern summertime — is activated as soon as you take a seat in the cart and shuts off when you exit. Ingenious! The cart also has a GPS screen offering yardage, layout and tips in real time as you play.
As Sam Snead famously said, “Practice puts brains in your muscles.” After playing a round in the 98-degree heat of the Savannah summer, my muscles had plenty of brains and a few aches besides. That’s why, next to the golf, my favorite part of this resort is the Greenbrier Spa, which offers several packages tailored especially for golfers. I decided to partake of the Swiss shower and Scotch spray, which involved a massage with water jets and 16 showerheads. It was quite an experience.
Hole 2 – Hussar’s Relief
(459 yards, par 4)
Named for the historic cavalry units of Savannah, this hole is best played with a long march down the center of the fairway. Balls that stray left will find the marsh, and they seem to bounce in when you least expect it. The right side of the fairway is lined with trees that will cost any player strokes. Your approach to the green is fairly simple as there are no traps guarding the front. You can either fly the ball in or roll it up the throat to the right.
Hole 4 – Good Anne’s Crossing
(533 yards, par 5)
This dogleg right is named for the voyage of James Oglethorpe, founder and early leader of the Georgia Colony. It hugs the tidal marsh on the left and can wreak havoc on those who draw or hook the ball. From the tee box, aim the ball right-center for your approach to the green, which is guarded by two bunkers on the left and the marsh; balls fading right can wind up in trouble.
Hole 6 – Talmadge Peaks
(447 yards, par 4)
There is virtually no margin for error on this long par 4. To have a shot at reaching the green, you will need a monster drive. The dogleg right will block short balls, and balls that are hit too long could catch the trap on the left side of the fairway. Once you’ve made it that far, gather all your nerve for your approach shot, as bunkers and marshes heavily protect the green.
Hole 7 – Big Duke (660 yards, par 5)
This huge par 5 — the No. 1 handicapped hole on the course — is a dogleg left with many hazards to catch the wayward golfer. Eleven fairway bunkers and the marsh come into play as you make your way to your target. Driving from the tee box, keep to the right side of the fairway, doing your best to avoid the bunkers on the left. If you are unable to clear the next series of bunkers on your second shot — and the bunkers are difficult — it is best to lay up. For your approach shot, favor the right side of the green.
Hole 12 – Tomo Chi Chi
(468 yards, par 4)
Tomo Chi Chi was a Yamacraw Indian chief who was said to stand seven feet tall. This hole is certainly long enough to deserve his name. At 468 yards from tee box to g reen, you will find that it plays like a par 5. Your drive off the tee must clear the pond in front of the tee box and then avoid the left side of the fairway, which is covered with uneven lies and moguls. Be sure to check the pin placement as the green measures 17,000 square feet.
Hole 13 – The Waving Girl
(595 yards, par 5)
From the tee box, the first order of the day is to avoid the fairway bunkers, which will dash your hopes of reaching the green in regulation. Your second shot will require you to avoid more fairway bunkers left and right; there are a total of 12. Approaching the small, bi-level green will take some skill; it is protected by a series of deep bunkers. Only high lofted shots to the green will hold; all others will fall off. Long and right is safe whereas short and right will bring serious problems.
Hole 17 – Yamacraw Bluff
(214 yards, par 3)
The view from this tee box is much the same as the view James Oglethorpe had in 1733. Take your time to contemplate that history, if you like, before you tackle this challenging par 3. A pond on the right side runs to the green and covers the entire approach. Relief is on the left side of the green, and only the most seasoned golfers will make the green in regulation.
Hole 18 – Wormsloe
(457 yards, par 5)
Even though this is not a particularly long par 5, the strategically placed fairway bunkers can ruin your chance of landing the green in regulation. Your approach shot will be difficult, as shots to the crowned green tend to roll off and the right side is well-protected by bunkers.
WESTIN SAVANNAH HARBOR GOLF RESORT AND SPA
One Resort Drive Savannah, GA 31421
tel 912 201 2000
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