When you think of iconic golf resort destinations, chances are you think of the courses before the accommodations.
Places like Pebble Beach, Pinehurst, and the American Club (Kohler) are among those golf getaways with a heavy emphasis on the resort component but are unquestionably brands unto themselves. Looking across the vast destination golf market, however, there are a number of major hotel brands that are heavily invested in the game—with a broad, national portfolio of courses for itinerant golfers.
Here’s a look at five of the most noteworthy hotel brands in golf.
There are almost 1,000 holes of championship golf under the purview of Marriott’s Global Golf Division, which manages 50 courses in 15 countries across five continents for the Marriott International brands—a wide swath that also includes names like Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, Westin, Sheraton, Gaylord Hotels, and Renaissance. Marriott’s deep golf ties go back more than 50 years now, and it provides golf development expertise, management, and consulting services to a variety of properties beyond resorts. Among Marriott’s most notable JW Marriott properties are two courses in Naples, Fla. (The Rookery at Marco and Hammock Bay Golf & Country Club); Camelback in Scottsdale, Ariz.; Desert Springs in Palm Desert, Calif.; and Wildfire in Phoenix.
Headed by classic designs from the Golden Age of golf course architecture like the Cascades Course at Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Va., and the Old Course at Omni Bedford Springs Resort in western Pennsylvania, Omni Hotels & Resorts has a nationwide collection of 25 courses spread across 11 resorts. There’s also PGA Tour host sites like the Champions Course at Omni La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, Calif., and new additions like the 10-hole Little Sandy par-3 course that recently opened at Omni Amelia Island Resort in Florida. But Omni’s 12th golf property (opening spring 2023) will be its biggest commitment to golf yet: Omni PGA Frisco outside Dallas, the new home of the PGA of America that will feature two 18-hole championship courses and a lighted, 10-hole short course.
It’s hard to argue that the Four Seasons brand is synonymous with luxury, operating more than 100 high-end resorts and hotels worldwide. The golf component is pretty heady as well, among the most notable being the stunning Manele Course on the Hawaiian island of Lanai. Bill Gates, an avid golfer, got married on the 12th hole of that Jack Nicklaus design overlooking the Pacific Ocean and years later would become the majority owner of the Four Seasons brand. Other prominent golf courses affiliated with Four Seasons properties include Hualalai on Hawaii’s Big Island; Wailea on Maui; Jackson Hole in Wyoming; The Ocean Club in the Bahamas; Costa Rica Papagayo; Las Colinas in Texas; and the two Troon North courses in Scottsdale, Ariz.
As noted, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company has been owned by Marriott International since the late 1990s. But it’s fair to say that Ritz-Carlton has a pretty strong presence of its own within the golf world, with a host of well-known courses tied to its hotels. Chief among them, and particularly visible at the start of every new year on the PGA Tour, are the two courses at the Kapalua Golf Resort on Maui. Others connected to Ritz-Carlton locations are Reynolds Lake Oconee in Georgia; Half Moon Bay in California; Dorado Beach in Puerto Rico; Dove Mountain in Arizona; and Bachelor Gulch in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
Visit the website for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and there’s a good chance one of the first things you’ll see is one of the more dramatic opening tee shots in golf: the starting hole of the St-Laurent nine at Le Manoir Richelieu outside Quebec. The tee for this elevated par five is a jaw-dropper, sitting high above the fairway and the sprawling St. Lawrence River. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is a global chain, operating luxury hotels at more than 70 properties worldwide, but has a particularly strong presence in Canada. That’s reflected in its golf offerings as well, which include scenic spots such as Banff Springs, Chateau Whistler, and Jasper Park Lodge, in addition to a U.S. gem like the Tom Fazio-designed Grand Del Mar Golf Course outside of San Diego.
Are there other prominent hotel brands with multiple golf properties that you’d add to the list?