West Virginia's Oglebay Resort, As Fun as a Golf Destination Can Be

West Virginia's Oglebay Resort, As Fun as a Golf Destination Can Be
Set on 1,700 bucolic acres of Oglebay Park in the scenic foothills of the Appalachian Mountains just outside Wheeling, W.V., the resort has two superb layouts at its Speidel Golf Club that are all the golf you'll ever want. The par-71 Arnold Palmer design there is a links-style course that takes full advantage of the gorgeous undulating countryside with strategically-placed bunkers, well-designed mounding flanking the roomy fairways and excellent sloped greens that demand your full attention.

With numerous elevation changes from tee to green and several tiered putting surfaces, the 18 is delightfully tricky, especially if you're gunning at the pins. Thankfully there is usually a safer route for the less bold. After holing out on the last at the dogleg right par-4 18th, you just want to go back to the first tee and give it another go. It deserves high marks in every category: diversity of holes, scenery, playability and challenge. Best of all, it's just plain fun.

Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., the Jones Course transverses the higher ground away from the welcoming clubhouse as it rolls over the hills and dales of a former dairy farm. There's a delightful pastoral “away from the hustle and bustle” ambience to the proceedings once out on the 18 as all kinds of birds frolic playfully throughout myriad groves of trees including more wild turkeys than I've previously seen in my lifetime. For me, it's always a great sign when golf and nature coexist in harmony.

The holes on the Jones Course are championship caliber which is probably why the layout hosted the West Virginia LPGA Classic for 11 years. Be sure to pick the right tees based on your ability as playing from the very back can lead to a severe shortage in your golf ball inventory. Thankfully the course offers multiple tee boxes allowing the course to play from 7,000 yards (championship tees) to 5,515 yards (forward tees). The Jones Course is special and as fine a natural setting for playing the ancient Scottish game as you'll find. I absolutely loved it.

Oglebay also features the 18-hole Crispin Course – Oglebay's original layout – at just over 5,600 yards and ideal for warm-up rounds, seniors and beginners. It's an absolute blast to play as you try and make your ball behave as it careens along often severe slopes of the hilly terrain. Also perfect for warm-up are the full-service practice range and short-game area over at Speidel Golf Club. I have a weakness for downhill practice ranges like this one as it makes you think you're hitting it farther than you probably really are.

Don't think Oglebay is just all incredible golf. The resort teems with family-friendly year-round activities including swimming, tennis, horse riding, miniature golf, fishing, miles of paved walking and jogging trails, shopping, sightseeing, a tranquil spa and even a 30-acre zoo. There's truly something for all.

Accommodations options include the invitingly comfortable 270-room Wilson Lodge and numerous quaint cottages and spacious estate houses spread throughout the property. Be sure to stop by the Glassworks Grill in Wilson Lodge for lunch and a cold one. For dinner, Ihlenfeld Dining Room (next door to Glassworks Grill) overlooks Schenk Lake and offers a mesmerizing view of the surrounding countryside as well as first-class chef-driven cuisine.

For more information about Oglebay Resort & Conference Center and their wide array of packages visit www.oglebay-resort.com or call 800.624.6988.