For meeting groups driven by a love of the game, golf resorts are the perfect location.
To help planners discern the best among these amenity-filled gems, Northstar Meetings Group has honored 16 properties with 2019 Stella Awards, which celebrate convention centers, hotels, conference centers, airlines, cruise lines, convention and visitor bureaus, and destination management companies. The awards are determined by votes from our community of experienced meeting planners. Explore all 278 winners and finalists here.
The 143-room Skytop Lodge features a mountain-style track in Pennsylvania's Poconos. The 6,656-yard course is fit for both serious golfers and casual players, and the facilities include a putting green, a grass practice range and a short-game area. For groups, the property offers 14,526 square feet of meeting space, including the Skytop Executive Center.
On 670 acres of woodland on the Jersey Shore, the 298-room Seaview is home to two challenging layouts: the 6,366-yard links-style Bay Course, featuring seaside views and deep pot bunkers, and the 6,731-yard Pines Course, whose woodlands setting challenges players with elevation shifts, doglegs and large bunkers. The South Jersey venue — an easy 10 miles from Atlantic City — offers 34,500 square feet of space among 21 meeting rooms.
Kiawah Island, S.C.
Players love South Carolina's Kiawah Island Golf Resort and its five championship courses: The Ocean Course, Osprey Point, Oak Point, Turtle Point and Cougar Point. The Ocean Course, in particular, features the most surfside holes (10) in North America, and often ranks as one of the world's most challenging courses. The luxury, 255-room beach resort near Charleston has indoor and outdoor event and prefunction space, plus a large conference center. Groups also can gather in the property's golf clubhouses and Mingo Point, a riverside outdoor event space.
This old favorite of many golfers opened its doors in 1962 as the Doral Country Club. The 643-room South Florida resort now features four courses: the legendary Blue Monster, the Red Tiger, the Golden Palm and the Silver Fox. In the evenings, the Blue Monster can be transformed into a miniature golf course where players use glow-in-the-dark balls to navigate the dark putting greens. Trump National Doral also offers a state-of-the-art, 8,500-square-foot LED facility that allows for chipping, pitching and bunker practice; the Rick Smith Golf Performance Center, for private instruction and multiday golf schools; and the True Spec Golf fitting lab. For meetings, the property has 100,000 square feet of space.
Shingle Creek Golf Club at Rosen Shingle Creek, just minutes from Orlando International Airport and the Orange County Convention Center North/South Corridor, features an 18-hole, par-72 championship layout created by Arnold Palmer Design. The world-class golf destination provides instruction at the Brad Brewer Golf Academy, which offers a practice area, state-of-the-art swing analysis and game-improvement technology. For events, the 1,500-room convention hotel has three column-free ballrooms, an open-air terrace, 136,000 square feet of outdoor space and 410,000 square feet of indoor space.
Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa's four championship golf courses are set in the scenic Galena Territory, a semiprivate community in the northwest corner of Illinois. Gorgeous views of the tristate area and a 250-foot elevation change along the way mark the General, which opened in 1997, and the North Course features elevated tee boxes and views of Lake Galena. The 9-hole, par-34 East Course is perfect for those new to the sport. The 80-room resort offers 15,000 square feet of IACC-certified conference space.
Among the freshwater beaches and hardwood forests of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, the 614-room Grand Traverse Resort and Spa has three championship courses: the Bear, the Wolverine and Spruce Run. The resort also has a 2,000-square-foot Golf Academy featuring three heated, indoor-outdoor hitting bays equipped with mirrors and motion-capture technology for swing analysis. Ideal for group golf instruction is the Dave Pelz Scoring Game School, whose curriculum includes corporate clinics, team-building events and on-course lessons. The property has 91,817 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space.
Lake Geneva, Wis.
Wisconsin's Grand Geneva Resort & Spa has two acclaimed championship courses. The first is the Brute, at more than 7,000 yards, which waylays players with its 68 bunkers. The par-72 course is considered one of the most challenging in the Midwest. The second, the Highlands, is a links-style layout set among scenic hills, creeks and lush foliage. The 355-room Grand Geneva Resort & Spa's meetings offering includes the Forum Convention Center, which was renovated in 2019 and offers 13,000 pillarless square feet of event space, a private entrance, and an outdoor patio. Also available for events is the 7,680-square-foot Grand Ballroom, the 6,480-square-foot Evergreen Ballroom, the 5,500-square-foot Maple Lawn Ballroom, the 3,870-square-foot Loramoor Ballroom, and the 1,890-square-foot Linwood Ballroom.
French Lick, Ind.
Indiana's French Lick Resort is a golf enthusiast's paradise with four layouts. Of notable mention is the 8,100-yard Pete Dye Course on one of Indiana's highest elevation points; its claim to fame is a 40-mile panoramic view of the southern Indiana countryside. The resort also features a refurbished Donald Ross layout, designed by the acclaimed golf architect in 1917, featuring 80 of his trademark bunkers with flat bottoms. French Lick Resort is a grand dame of American properties, featuring the French Lick Springs and West Baden Springs hotels, with a combined 443 rooms and 45,700 square feet of meeting space.
Colorado Springs, Colo.
The 784-room Broadmoor in the Cheyenne Mountain foothills has more than a century of golf legacy and two iconic golf courses that were designed by two of the best ever, Donald Ross and Robert Trent Jones Sr. For groups, the Broadmoor's golf staff has created an All-Inclusive Tournament Services program, which includes complete planning and full setup, scoring, contests and prizes. The luxury resort has numerous accommodation options and 141,000 square feet of meeting space.
Pebble Beach, Calif.
Pebble Beach, home to three prized golf courses on the Monterey Peninsula, has hosted the U.S. Open Championship six times. The 6,821-yard, 72-par Links at Spanish Bay delights with a stunning beachside backdrop that makes the challenging experience one-of-a-kind. The Pebble Beach Golf Academy & Practice Facility offers group lessons that can be tailored to attendee expertise. For events, the 161-room Lodge at Pebble Beach features more than 10,000 square feet of meeting space, while the 269-room Inn at Spanish Bay offers 14,000 square feet and panoramic ocean views.
This Southern California gem features an Arnold Palmer–designed course that is complemented by a practice range, putting and pitching greens, Kip Puterbaugh's Golf Academy and the Gears Performance Center. The 327-room resort offers night golf, which takes over the practice putting green and clubhouse with glow-in-the-dark ropes and light-up flag sticks. For groups, the property has 78,478 square feet of event space.
In the foothills of Central Oregon's Cascade Mountains, Sunriver thrills golfers with four courses, one a family-friendly nine-hole layout, designed by such top names as Bob Cupp, Robert Trent Jones Jr. and John Fought. A resort for the outdoor crowd, the 245-room property also offers 40 miles of biking trails, a nature center and an observatory, as well as a world-class spa. For groups, Sunriver offers 45,000 square feet of meeting space.
INTERNATIONAL AND U.S. TERRITORIES
Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
This 400-room Wyndham resort is truly grand, set amid the El Yunque Rainforest's mountains, the Mameyes River and the Atlantic Ocean. The property features two 18-hole golf layouts: The 6,716-yard Ocean Course from Tom and George Fazio promises seaside vistas and sand iguanas at every tee, and Greg Norman's 6,945-yard River Course winds through the local terrain along the Mameyes. A multimillion-dollar renovation has been completed at the property's 35,000-square-foot Clubhouse. Events are held in the 92,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space.
Sciacca, Sicily Island, Italy
The 10-year-old Verdura is one of Europe's elite golf resorts, with an 18-hole links-style course and a 9-hole par-3 course that overlook the Mediterranean, both designed by the Kyle Phillips firm. Site of the Rocco Forte Sicilian Open, the property is now home to a European Tour Performance Institute. Among the 203-room hotel's 10,000 square feet of function space are 10 meeting rooms, an outdoor amphitheater and a ballroom.
Kerikeri, New Zealand
Originally built by David Harman of Golf Course Consultants, Kauri Cliffs has undergone a transformation by architect Rees Jones. The par-72, 7,139-yard course offers 15 holes with views of the Pacific Ocean, some on the edge of cliffs that plunge into the sea. The 23-room luxury lodge in the Bay of Islands in New Zealand's Northland region welcomes corporate retreats for up to 48 people.