Local knowledge: Favorite casino scenes
Thursday, May 20, 2010
When you visit a golf course operated by a casino, it’s fair to expect something more than 18 holes and an attentive cart girl. It should be an experience that you want to relay to your friends when you return home.
With that in mind, we asked some of Golfweek’s course raters to tell us about their favorite things – both luxuries and idiosyncrasies – at casino courses. What follows are some of their responses. (Note: Each course’s ranking on Golfweek’s Best Casino Courses list is noted in parentheses.)
Fallen Oak (No. 2), Saucier, Miss.
Fallen Oak has one of golf’s most memorable 19th holes. You’ll find a broad selection of single-malt scotches and the rare opportunity to smoke a fine cigar indoors at the long, sunken bar. It’s enough to make you feel like a high roller as you gaze past the bar, through the glass wall behind to the namesake tree (it really is a fallen oak) next to the 18th green. The view is as rich and flavorful as the dual taste of a smoky Balvenie 21 Portwood single-malt Scotch in one hand and a Davidoff corona in the other. (Brian Kerns, Medina, Ohio)
Atlantic City Country Club (No. 7), Northfield, N.J.
The artifacts and sepia-toned photography that line the walls of the 110-year-old clubhouse tell the story of historic Atlantic City CC. From the 1901 U.S. Amateur (won by Walter Travis) through the 1948 U.S. Women’s Open (Babe Didrikson Zaharias) and the first-ever Senior PGA Tour event in 1980 (Don January), ACCC has had it all. Here writers mingled with celebrities, and the terms “birdie” and “eagle” were invented for golf purposes. Longtime club president Leo Fraser also led the PGA of America and helped save the PGA Tour when players threatened to bolt in the late 1960s. (John Gosselin, Landenberg, Pa.)
Barona Creek (No. 4), Lakeside, Calif.
Meet George Clark, aka The Waving Guy, one of the most recognizable staff members at Barona Creek and a symbol of the service-oriented casino resort’s hospitality. With a nod and a wave, Clark welcomes thousands of guests a day. (Tommy Naccarato, La Habra, Calif.)
Lake of Isles – North Course (No. 14), North Stonington, Conn.
Who ever thought casino golf could be family-friendly? That’s precisely what you’ll find when you visit the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center at Foxwoods Resort Casino. The museum is great for children and historians. Handheld “talking wands” are distributed to visitors, who proceed at their own pace and point and click on exhibits for detailed explanations. (Paul Mersereau, Avon, Conn.)
Cascata (No. 5), Boulder City, Nev.
A river runs through it – the clubhouse, that is. The first time through the clubhouse at Cascata – Italian for “waterfall” – the river might seem out of place. But the water feature makes sense on a course with a 418-foot waterfall that flows down the mountain, through the entire course and under the clubhouse atrium. (Vartan Kupelian, Farmington Hills, Mich.)
Sevillano Links (No. 26), Corning, Calif.
Sevillano Links is named after the native Sevillano olive and is located in a far-northern California region (175 miles above San Francisco) that produces half of the olives sold in the U.S. The tee markers on the John Daly-designed course are oversized olives. Just five miles north sit two landmarks worth touring. The Bell Carter Olive Co. is the world’s largest ripe-olive cannery. And you can indulge at the Olive Pit’s tasting bar, where the garlic-stuffed variety is the favorite. (Scott Seward, Pacific Grove, Calif.)