Big Cedar Lodge
While there are three magnificent golf courses at Big Cedar Lodge, golf is just part of the story at this idyllic 4,600-acre resort hidden amid the Ozark mountains of Missouri. Sling a fishing line, hire a motorboat to explore Table Rock Lake or fasten your hiking boots to head up nature trails, with an abundance of tracks for adventures on mountain bike or horseback also awaiting at this rustic nature reserve. Skiing becomes the primary outdoor activity over winter, so when Big Cedar describes itself as “America’s Premier Wilderness Resort,” it’s hard to argue.
Untouched nature combines seamlessly with contemporary luxury here, with a broad range of grand lodges, cozy cottages and beautifully crafted log cabins nestled into the wooded hillsides, while the resort’s spa combines all-natural products and treatments with a stunning sense of tranquility.
With the golf, Big Cedar Lodge owner and conservationist Johnny Morris brought in Tom Fazio to design the acclaimed 18-hole Buffalo Ridge Springs course, before Gary Player created the 13-hole Mountain Top Course. Completing the set is a nine-hole, par-three course of breathtaking beauty, Top of the Rock, for which Morris collaborated with Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Arnold Palmer—people with vision, then.
The doors of the mighty Gleneagles Hotel first opened in June 1924, built by the Caledonian Railway Company. Gleneagles cannot be classed as Victorian or even Edwardian as it was built after the reign of those monarchs, but the five-star hotel and estate has the feel of a stately home of which Queen Victoria would very much have approved.
The hotel features walls that are extensively oak panelled—and which are maintained to stunningly high standards— while the high ceilings are edged with intricately decorated plaster coving. Perhaps the epitome of Gleneagles’ early-20th century grandeur is found in its stately Royal Lochnagar Suite, which is furnished with antique book cases, extravagant Persian rugs and uninterrupted views across the magnificent hills of Glendevon and Ochil.
It is easy to understand how Gleneagles became a fixture of the UK’s high society calendar back in the “Downton Abbey” era between the World Wars, when golf and grouse shooting at Gleneagles would follow the “London season” and yachting at Cowes on the Isle of Wight.
Gleneagles was labelled the “Riviera of the Highlands” when it opened, and while its Perthshire seat is south of the Scottish Highlands proper, the estate has the feel of Highlands remoteness and weathered, unspoilt land, lying unblemished and exactly as it has done for millennia.
The resort’s PGA Centenary Course was Ryder Cup venue in 2014 and follows-up as Solheim Cup stage in 2019.
If your GPS doesn’t help you find the Stonewall Resort you could miss it altogether, despite the resort sprawling over 2,000 acres of verdant, serene West Virginia woodlands and mountains.
The seclusion of Stonewall amplifies the sense of escape, particularly as it borders the vast stillness and solitude of Stonewall Jackson Lake. The resort is the centerpiece of the Stonewall State Park, with guest lodges and cottages carefully interspersed into this protected landscape and built in the classic Adirondack style that evolved in centuries past across the mountains of the Northeastern United States.
Visitors can enjoy the expanse of Stonewall Jackson Lake whichever way they choose, whether via paddleboard, pontoon boat, canoe, fishing boat, aqua-cycle or even via the high-octane option of the resort’s new CraigCat mini powerboats. These very stable two-seaters are easy to maneuver and can power a fishing trip just as much as a spin around the lake. On firmer ground, guests can enjoy a guided Segway tour of the park, take a hike on trails that total more than 16 miles, or go for the aerial route with a forest canopy tour and a ride on the property’s zip lines.
The sporting highlight at Stonewall is undeniably its entrancing Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course, which weaves in and out of the woodlands and around the water’s edge. Maintained to the highest tour standards, but with seven sets of tees to give every golfer a suitable challenge, an early-morning round on the Palmer course, with the sun rising up behind the mountains and reflecting across the lake, is summer golf at its very best.