Standing on the elevated first tee at the Kingwood Golf Club in the northeast Georgia mountain town of Clayton, I took a deep breath and surveyed my surroundings.
Hardwoods (though bare, as I was teeing up in December) and evergreens hug each side of the fairway. The Blue Ridge Mountains rise up behind the green, making for a dramatic first shot.
The serenity and beauty of the place causes me to pause for a second, and then I remember there’s a golf ball on a tee that needs my attention. The scene repeats itself on the second tee, which is the beginning of a short par five that requires a little fade to navigate the dog-legged fairway.
As my wife and I navigate the course on a brisk afternoon, we are constantly struck by the majesty of the course and its surroundings. In addition to the physical attraction, the par-71 course is demanding as accurate shot-making is required at every turn. Creeks that wind their way through the course–as well as a couple of ponds–and small greens add to the challenge of the 6,016-yard course.
You can hear the water rippling through the creeks on nearly every hole on the front nine, leaving an impression that this is as much a hike through the woods as it is a round of golf.
The golf course is the jewel of Kingwood Golf Club and Resort, which is surrounded by more than 148,000 acres of national forest. Head golf pro Vickie Shirey makes sure the links are a place the entire family can enjoy. The course is open year-round depending on the weather, and special events are planned throughout the year. The parent-child tournament on July 25 always is a big draw for members and guests alike, Shirey said.
While I was most interested in the golfing, Kingwood offers plenty of other things for the whole family. There are indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts and a full-service spa that offers everything from facials to massages. After the round of golf, I enjoyed some relaxation time in the steam room. There also are saunas and hot tubs in the spa area.
The resort features an upscale restaurant and bar with a cozy feel that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Guests of the resort can choose from three seating areas – the Lodge is the formal dining area that overlooks the golf course. For a more intimate setting, a roaring fire sets the mood in the Fireside Lounge. And for a casual meal, the Back Porch is an all-season dining area that features hardwood floors and panoramic views of the mountains.
The dinner menu includes everything from basil-crusted grouper, pork scaloppini, a 12-ounce ribeye steak, and shrimp and grits.
Accommodations at Kingwood’s condominiums are as cozy as they are spacious. We were greeted by a fire blazing in the fireplace. Hardwood floors spread throughout the three-bedroom condo, which backed up to the second tee. Our digs also included a screened-in porch with a swing, which we enjoyed as we had drinks and watched the sun set.
The Inn at Kingwood features 48 well-appointed rooms, all with individual balconies and views of the surrounding mountains. Also, two- and three-bedroom condos, all privately owned, are available to weekend, weekly or monthly rental.
Rooms at The Inn are available during peak season for $69 a night Sunday through Thursday and for $99 a night on Fridays and Saturdays. The condominiums are available for $250 a night during peak season.
For more information on The Kingwood Resort and Golf Club, call (866) 546-4966 or visit www.kingwoodresort.com.
Kingwood is about 110 miles from DeKalb County, which makes it perfect for a weekend getaway, or more.