Baseball diamonds are uniform. So are basketball courts, football fields and tennis courts. But when it comes to golf, no two courses are alike, and that makes the game colorful and challenging.
The color comes from landscapes that vary widely and make use of the land, from red rocks in the Southwest to swamps in the South. The challenge comes from crafty golf course designers, each, like fashion designers, with their own style and flair.
Across the United States, groups of diverse golf courses have banded together to market themselves as “golf trails.” Located within easy driving distance of one another, they offer specials and packages, in hopes of luring groups of golfers to play several courses in one trip.
From the Alamo City Golf Trail in Texas to the Wildcat Trail in Arizona, the trails make sense for meetings that include multiple days of golf. Here is a look at three.
Lake of the Ozarks
Thirteen golf courses carved into rolling hills bordering a 92-mile-long lake in Missouri’s midsection constitute the Lake of the Ozarks Golf Trail. The lake and its 1,300 miles of shoreline are a popular vacation spot, about three hours southeast of Kansas City.
Golfers find plenty of challenges here. Osage National Golf Resort’s course was built 20 years ago by Arnold Palmer. Repeatedly named the area’s best course, it is the only Palmer Signature Course in Missouri.
Other big names in golf have also designed courses there including Tom Weiskopf, who created Old Kinderhook. It gets a 4.5 star rating from Golf Digest and is bordered by cottages, villas and estate homes and space for gatherings of 100 or fewer.
The Lodge of Four Seasons, which Travel and Leisure Golf Magazine has pegged as one of the best golf resorts in the world, is a logical base of operations for meeting groups. There are plenty of guest rooms — 350 in all — and plenty of meeting space — some 65,000 square feet including meeting rooms, exhibit space and a theater.
With 54 holes of golf on site, the family-owned Lodge has more golf options than any other resort in Missouri. One of its courses, the Ridge, is on the golf trail. Its Porto Cimo, a Jack Nicklaus design, and the Cove, by Robert Trent Jones Sr., are not a part of the trail.