300 West Main Street,
White Sulphur Springs,
West Virginia (WV) 24986,
- +1 800 453 4858
Exit #181 from Interstate 64 west, exit # 175 from Interstate 64 east
Robert G Harris
Seth Raynor, Jack Nicklaus
Golf – in the form of a basic 9-hole layout – first made an appearance at the famous Greenbrier spa and hotel in 1910. The Old White was the first 18-hole course to open three years later, followed by the Seth Raynor-designed Greenbrier in 1924. Dick Wilson added another course, now called the Meadows, to the property in 1963. During the construction of this third course, some of the old Greenbrier holes were incorporated into its 18, meaning five new holes were built for the Greenbrier.
The Greenbrier was given a major face-lift by the Jack Nicklaus design company in 1978 as preparation for the series of Ryder Cup matches between USA and Europe the following year. The home side won that match 17-11 and the female equivalent of Team USA also triumphed 13-7 in the Solheim Cup against the European Ladies on the same course fifteen years later.
Jay Morrish and Bob Cupp were project architects for Nicklaus at the time and, although they didn’t alter the course routing, the green complexes were reshaped to essentially remove the pitch and run approach options, installing target golf putting surfaces instead.
The Greenbrier is an old-fashioned course with a classical feel and its fairways are laid out over a gently undulating landscape. The front nine holes of the out-and-back routing are configured in a slightly unconventional manner, featuring three par threes, three par fours and three par fives.
The most difficult of these holes is the 456-yard 6th (“Plateau”) where a very tight fairway doglegs uphill to a long, narrow offset green that sits behind a rather large, intimidating bunker.
The back nine showcases a couple of delightful short par fours. Hole 10 (“Cross Road”) measures only 339 yards from the back tees with a wide creek cut across the fairway about fifty yards short of the pear-shaped putting surface. Four holes later, the even shorter 305-yard 14th (“Sahara”) sports a long bunker down the left of the fairway which then wraps itself around the left side of the green. Smart players in search of a birdie at either of these holes will use an iron from the tee then try to get close enough for a single putt with their approach shot.
The Greenbrier course was one of several at the resort
to suffer major damage following the flooding in June 2016. Subsequently, Phil
Mickelson Design was commissioned to renovate the layout with works including
modifications to eight original holes and the construction of ten new holes, which will
be routed through an old forest dissected by streams. The new holes will feature
elevation changes of more than 100 feet.
Phil Mickelson, who recently was named The
Greenbrier Resort’s PGA Tour Ambassador, said, “I’ve always been a big fan of
Seth Raynor’s work. We have a tremendous piece of property that comes with a
great history, and we are going to make it great for the future of The
Greenbrier Resort and the region.”
The new Greenbrier course is expected to open in 2019.