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Golden Isles, Georgia Golf Vacations

Southern Georgia golf Welcome to the Golden Isles, where history, nature and exceptional golf come together on the south Georgia coast. Repose, tranquillity, undisturbed natural splendor, a step back in time and internationally acclaimed golf courses. These are the ingredients that have earned the Golden Isles its rightful reputation as one of the world's most attractive golf and travel destinations.

Situated between Jacksonville, Florida and Savannah, Georgia, the Golden Isles are the tightly-clustered barrier islands comprised of St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Little St. Simons Island, and Jekyll Island. Entered through the gateway colonial town of Brunswick, these small islands are a Winslow Homer seascape of marshes and tidal flats, bright sandy beaches, fishing skiffs and wharves, and lush maritime forests of pines and moss-draped oaks.

Saint Simons

The largest of the group is St. Simons, an island with a rich Colonial and antebellum history. In the mid-1700s, royal troops ambushed a large Spanish force at the famous battle of Bloody Marsh, thereby ensuring that English would be spoken in the Colonial south. Both the British fortifications at Fort Frederica and the battle site are now national monuments. In the 1800s, the island was strewn with cotton and indigo plantations. These included Hampton Plantation on the north end where Aaron Burr is said to have escaped after his infamous duel with Alexander Hamilton in 1804.

Other points of interest include Christ Church, a restored post-Colonial church with a cemetery where some of the island's prominent residents are buried including American novelist Eugenia Price, who immortalized the island in her St. Simons trilogy. St. Simons Lighthouse, built in 1872 and standing 104 feet high, is one of the oldest operating lighthouses in the US. Adjacent to it is the lighthouse museum. Just south of the lighthouse is the village with its jutting pier, specialty shops, restaurants and few night spots, some featuring live music.

Golf on St. Simons begins with the Sea Island Golf Club, which includes The Plantation Course, a Rees Jones "parkland by the sea" redesign of two separate 9s by Walter Travis and Dick Wilson, and The Seaside Course, a sparkling Tom Fazio 18 that combines two 9s by Colt & Allison and Joe Lee and has hosted the international UBS Warburg Cup matches. It is framed by tidal creeks, salt flats, and St. Simons Sound. A mile away is the more recently opened Retreat Course, which is a Mark and Davis Love renovation of a 1970s Joe Lee design set amidst ancient oaks and lakes. The club's entrance is the Avenue of the Oaks, lined on both sides by dignified, old live oaks that stand at attention as if in formal receiving line. Along the quarter mile stretch on the left is the tabby ruins of an antebellum hospital for slaves who worked in the Retreat Plantation cotton fields.

The private Sea Island Golf Club is accessible to guests of the on-site 40-room luxurious Lodge at Sea Island and The Cloister, a Mobil 5-star resort on just about everyone's Top 25 resorts in the world. Located a 15-minute drive away on Sea Island and established in 1928 by Howard Coffin, inventor of the Hudson automobile, The Cloister, with its Mediterranean style hotel and oceanfront villas, has been the vacation spot of choice for some of the world's most sophisticated and discerning travelers. A full-service spa, tennis, shooting school, horseback riding, kids programs, a private beach, fishing, and waterway excursions are just a few of the amenities of the resort which is in the midst of a $350 million capital expansion program.

Also on St. Simons, a $4 million renovation has been completed on the three 9-hole courses at The Sea Palms Golf and Tennis Resort. On the north end is The Hampton Club at Hampton Plantation, which features a Joe Lee course that has 800 feet of marsh-spanning bridges. The course is owned by The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort, an oceanside resort hotel, located in the heart of St. Simons village.

Little Saint Simons

For nature-lovers, Little St. Simons Island is perfect for an overnight or day trip. Accessible only by boat from Hampton Point on St. Simons Island's north end, the thickly forested island is completely undeveloped, save for the lodge that accommodates 30 guests and provides an intimate, secluded setting for family reunions and small group gatherings. Activities on the island include guided nature walks, canoeing, kayaking and horseback riding.

Jekyll Island

Jekyll Island, the southernmost of the Golden Isles, was once an exclusive winter retreat and hunting ground for some of America's wealthiest families. Established in the late 1880s, the Jekyll Island Club counted among its members men like J.P. Morgan, William Rockefeller, and Joseph Pulitzer. The clubhouse is now a 157-room hotel that has been fully restored to its original Victorian charm.

Located a short drive from the hotel is the Jekyll Island Golf Club with its lodge-style clubhouse. The clubhouse serves 63 holes all in one location that include three 18s by Joe Lee, Clyde Johnston and Dick Wilson, and the 9-hole Oceanside Course, the refurbished original Walter Travis design built for the founding members in the 1920s. All four parkland-style courses wind through undisturbed forests where sightings of deer, fox and other game are common. Ideal for outings, these courses are superb, and at fees of around $50, they can't be beat for value.

Jekyll Island was purchased by the State of Georgia in 1947 and is today a popular year round destination for families and business travelers. Fully 65% of the island has been designated state parkland and will never be developed. In addition to golf, the island has tennis, 20 miles of bike and walking trails, the Summer Waves Waterpark, and long stretches of secluded beaches where visitors could easily imagine they're Robinson Crusoe on a desert island.

Climate

The Golden Isles are semi-tropical with a yearly average temperature of 68 degrees.

Travel Specifics

Brunswick & The Golden Isles of Georgia are just a one-hour drive north of Jacksonville, FL and a one-hour drive south of Savannah, GA.

The Brunswick Golden Isles Airport is served by Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA/The Delta Connection), which offers round-trip regional jet service to Atlanta four times daily. Private pilots may use Brunswick Golden Isles Airport, McKinnon St. Simons Airport on St. Simons Island or Jekyll Island Airport.

Easy access via automobile is afforded via I-95 at Exits 29, 36, 38 and 42 as well as GA Route 520 and US Highways 17 and 341. For boaters, Brunswick & The Golden Isles are located on the Intracoastal Waterway and numerous full-service marinas serve the area. *

Golden Isles, Georgia Golf Vacations

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