photo courtesy the PGA
The Greenbrier Resort is one of America's oldest resorts, playing host to presidents and other dignataries for over a century. In fact, the area's sulphur spring has been used by Americans for their supposed healing properties since at least 1778, and was used before by Native Americans who showed the springs to Europeans. A resort has been operated near the springs since the early 1800s, with the first large hotel being opened in 1858. The famous Old White course opened in 1914 and hosts the Greenbrier Classic, a PGA Tour event. Today, the entirety of Greenbrier County remains popular with tourists with its rustic charm. Visitors will enjoy the beautiful scenery and laid back atmosphere of the Appalachian mountain towns that dot the region. The following is GolfLink’s visitor’s guide to Greenbrier County, WV.
Things To Do in Greenbrier
Spectators travelling to Greenbrier can start their journey by exploring the Greenbrier Resort. Guests have access to dozens of activities including bowling, rock climbing, fishing, ziplining or even laser tag with their kids. Guests can also visit the boutiques and restaraunts on the grounds or try their hand at the resort’s casino. Even if you’re not staying at the Greenbrier Resort, visitors to the tournament can tour the resort’s most interesting attraction known as The Bunker. Built during the height of the Cold War, The Bunker was a secret government fallout shelter built to house Congress in the event of a nuclear war. The Bunker was outfitted to permit Congress to continue functioning in the event of war and remained hidden under a wing of the hotel until it was exposed in a 1992 Washington Post article. The Bunker has since been declassified and control of the facility was handed back to the resort. Visitors can enjoy guided tours of The Bunker and learn about this very unique structure.
Outside of the Greenbrier Resort, nature takes center stage. A short drive to the Monongahela National Forest, an 800,000 acre area containing ample hiking and scenic drives to the popular Blue Bend, Summit Lake and Lake Sherwood areas. Visitors looking to escape the heat can head underground at Lost World Cavern which stays a cool 52 degrees year round. The cave features a self-guided tour to see the 1,000 foot main chamber full of formations like the 30-ton stalactite known as the Snowy Chandelier and the 28 foot stalagmite known as the War Club. The adventurous can also take a wild tour with an expert guide that requires crawling through the undeveloped parts of the 11 mile cavern.
When hunger sets in, go explore Lewisburg, an small artistic town nestled in the mountains. After strolling around the galleries and shops, head for a quick lunch downtown at Food and Friends sandwich shop or enjoy their expanded dinner menu later in the day. The Irish Pub features Irish and American favorites including the much adored Irish stew. Mexican food is also readily available from Carlito’s Mexican Restaurant full of all the favorites including tacos, tamales and burritos. You can treat your sweet tooth by visiting the Amy’s Cakes and Cones, a bakery and ice cream shop offering decadent desserts. For the adults, local distiller Smooth Ambler, beers from Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company or cider from Hawk Knob Farm are some of the best local drinks on offer.
While Greenbrier County is largely a rural and sparsely populated region, there are still several options available for golfers looking to find a game. The following are the best courses available to play by fans of the Greenbrier Classic.
Valley View Country Club
26549 Big Draft Rd.
White Sulphur Springs, WV 24986
Usually, 9 hole courses would not make the list but the fun playability of the Valley View Golf Course is an exception to that rule. Opened in 1932, the course was designed by Ray Vaughn to use the region's natural topography. The semi-private club is a favorite with locals and is a very affordable and enjoyable round of golf. Play through twice or have a quick 9-hole warm-up before heading out to see the sights.
Lewisburg Elks Country Club
368 Brush Rd
Lewisburg, WV 24901
The Lewisburg Elks Country Club is an 18 hole course that dates back to the 1930s and is known for borrowing much of the look and architecture of Augusta National in its own architecture. But the country club is much more than a pretty clubhouse. The course meanders through mountain meadows, offering scenic views and excellent conditions. The on-site amenities are also top notch. Don’t let the fairly straightforward front-9 fool you, as the back-9, added in the 1960s, is considerably more challenging. The course is short, eliminating the advantage of heavy hitters and instead requires strategic thinking and accurate shotmaking to keep scores low.
1 Montague Dr.
White Sulphur Springs, WV 24986
Another 9-hole course, Oakhurst Links makes the list for an entirely different reason. Oakhurst Links is the site of the oldest golf course in America. It was originally built in 1884 by Russell Montague on his own property so he and his Scottish neighbors could get a game of golf. The course was later reverted back into pasture land before being revived using historic documents in 1994 at the behest of golfing legend Sam Snead. The course is unique in that only 19th century wooden shafted clubs and gutta percha balls are allowed on the course, and the dress code also matches the era. Wet sand tees await your drive and greens with grass the same length as that found on a modern fairway look to be conquered. The property was purchased by the Greenbrier Resort in 2012 and it remains open with clubs and balls available for rent. Just remember: no shorts are allowed on the course. Instead, the dress code states knickers, pants and kilts only.
300 W Main St.
White Sulphur Springs, WV 24986
The best golf offered in Greenbrier County is undoubtedly found at the Greenbrier Resort. While play during the tournament week is off-limits, the resort offers the Greenbrier Classic’s Sunday’s Pins Golf Package to golfers looking to play the Old White TPC Course a day after the Greenbrier Classic ends. Fans will enjoy access to the final round of the tournament and then play the course Monday with grandstands and scoreboards still up and with the pins in the same place the pros faced. Then on Tuesday golfers have the choice of playing the Meadows Course or another round at the Old White. This option will cost golfers between $1,025-$1,950 but offers the game of a lifetime.