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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Golf Destinations Popular With Meeting Attendees

As a sport, golf has taken some hits in recent years — some view it as too expensive or too elitist — but the fact remains that “there are still deals done on the golf course,” said Jeff Holland, director of marketing and sales for Rosewood CordeValle in northern California.

And golf is still often part of the deal when planning meetings. Must-play courses attract conferences and events, but planners can also use golf destinations to attract attendees.


Pinehurst Resort

Pinehurst, North Carolina

Pinehurst Resort hardly needs an introduction in the golf community. Pinehurst’s introduction is its nine courses. Having hosted the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open back-to-back in June didn’t hurt, either.

“We know our DNA in the marketplace is golf; when people think ‘Rolex,’ they think ‘watch,’” said Eric Kuester, director of group sales for the resort.

Pinehurst has to work harder, though, to educate people about the resort’s meeting space, conference services and other recreation options than it does to promote golf.

“Sometimes we have to educate our customers that we’re more than golf,” Kuester said. “We almost have to work harder to educate meeting planners that you can come to Pinehurst and not be bored if you’re not a golfer.”

The Carolina Hotel has more than 61,000 square feet of indoor meeting space and another 22,000 square feet of outdoor event space. The largest of the hotel’s 20 indoor meeting areas is Carolina Hall, a 14,00-square-foot space with a terrace, followed by the 9,600-square-foot Grand Ballroom, which can be split into five smaller rooms.

The 82-room Holly Inn has five meeting rooms ranging from about 400 square feet to just shy of 1,100 square feet, as well as an outdoor pool terrace for receptions.

Across the resort, the 1899 Pinehurst Clubhouse has two ballrooms — the larger one is about 5,200 square feet — that work well for receptions or meals before a round of golf, Kuester said. 


Kingsmill Resort

Williamsburg, Virginia

Kingsmill Resort has three courses, although only two — the Plantation and River courses — are available to resort guests. The Woods is now a members-only course.

“There are not many public resorts in the country that have hosted a professional golf tournament over the course of 30 years,” said Rich Keurajian, vice president of sales and marketing. “The opportunity to play a famous course is a draw for any golfer.”

The River Course hosted the PGA for more then 20 years, although it has hosted the LPGA Kingsmill Championship during the past decade.

“Golfers love to play a golf course that they can watch on TV and say, ‘I’ve played that hole,’” Keurajian said.

The last three holes of the Pete Dye-designed River Course are along the James River, where officials believe America’s founding fathers landed on May 12, 1607, before heading farther west the next day to settle Jamestown.

The Plantation Course also blends the historic and the scenic. Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay designed the course to include Richard Kingsmill’s 1736 plantation home.

Kingsmill has about 16,000 square feet of meeting and conference space that includes 10 meeting rooms on the resort center’s conference level and a 6,000-square-foot ballroom with a patio that overlooks the James River. The ballroom can be broken into four smaller rooms.

Kingsmill also has three guesthouses — each with a kitchen, a dining room and a deck or patio — available for corporate retreats or VIP clients, whether for overnight stays or receptions. The Links Landing Tent can hold up to 160 guests for a sit-down dinner and offers views of the 18th fairway.