Even the autumn lingers longer at Reynolds Lake Oconee where the Reynolds Kingdom of Golf presented by Taylor Made combined with 118 holes of beautiful golf make it a luxurious mecca for golfers from all parts.
This is where Cardinals’ Coach Bruce Arians spends his non-Arizona life. This is where all roads lead to for AJGA champions. And this is where the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds Lake Oconee, 2015 AAA Five Diamond Lodging, is in full holiday spirit. As we entered the lobby, the bakery chef was decorating his life size ginger bread house. The entire grounds are sweet overlooking the enormous Lake Oconee with sculptures, swings, and soothing waterfalls and fireplaces here and there.
November mornings were crisp as are the pine and oak leaves on the course fringes that crinkle under foot and sometimes conceal balls that seemed like great shots. Six courses are well designed by the great Nicklaus, Jones, Cupp, Engh, and Fazio and well maintained by staff that it is difficult to pick a favorite.
Aesthetically with fall foliage, number 4 on the Bluff nine at National won our vote. The par 3 along the water featured a brilliant red tree past the green. Herons scouted for fish while boats on raised docks seeked the water. Sadly a drought has seriously lowered the level of Lake Oconee’s 350 miles of shoreline making residents’ holiday chant, “Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain.” Already prayers are being answered and no doubt it will rise again soon.
Since MetLife’s investment in the lakeshore destination in August 2012, five of the six golf courses have undergone substantial investment and improvements, part of the $40 million in ongoing renovations. One of the newest developments at Reynolds is at the National Course with the unveiling of the golf village featuring guest accommodations at the National Cottages adjacent to the golf course, and the new National Tavern and clubhouse complex. The Kingdom of Golf is being expanded and all rooms, cottages, restaurants, the spa, and swimming pools of The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee have been redecorated and refurbished.
Nothing says Christmas like a Ritz décor. The center of the spiral staircase is a kaleidoscope of man size ornaments. A Christmas train runs on tracks inside the gingerbread house while outside a real train for kids and their adult companions departs at 10 and 1 to chug around the property year round. Adults only enjoy the hydrating spa where the steam room is as well nurtured as the guests with periodic eucalyptus drops. Hydrotherapy between the Jacuzzi and cold plunge prepare for the indulgence of therapeutic techniques deployed by the female and male staff during the full menu of treatments. The stress relief delivers as promised.
One of only 65 Certified Master Chefs in the world and new Director of Food and Beverage, Jason Plazola are teamed with a savvy crew and a goal to be a singular dining destination. By the sampling of fine cuisine at Linger Longer Steak House, Gaby’s by the Lake, Water View Pub and The Tavern, just 4 of the 9 restaurants on property, the goal is achievable. Lobster appears in various offerings throughout – a grilled cheese sandwich, a lobster mac and cheese that makes you think 3 additional pounds would not only be worth it but also perhaps pretty. Opportunities to work off those pounds are in hiking, biking, kayaking, workout room and yes, the golf courses.
No time? Quick six on the Plantation Course can be tackled with one iron or hybrid, a wedge and putter. For full fitting of clubs, Reynolds Kingdom of Golf has the latest assessment technology from putting to full swing. Led by Top 100 instructor, Charlie King, the team is passionate about improving the golfer’s game with individual videotaping that follows you home. The Trackman system is whatever you make it after that.
The Ritz Carlton at Reynolds Lake Oconee is the ultimate indulgence; open year round and is a very festive holiday treat. Subscribers to the “Reynolds Insider” email newsletter are now entered for a chance to win a golf vacation to Reynolds
Lake Oconee, the award-winning golf community along Georgia’s Lake Oconee between Atlanta and Augusta. New subscribers, as well as those already in the Reynolds Insider’s exclusive database, are automatically entered in the “Reynolds Insider Sweepstakes.” The four quarterly prizes are to be randomly selected on or about the first week of April, July and October (2017) and again in January (2018). To register as a Reynolds Insider and to see the complete official rules and prizes, visit www.reynoldslakeoconee.com/sweepstakes. 90 miles from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. For more information, visit www.reynoldslakeoconee.com.