Villas give traveling golfers a group mentality

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Crosswater
Crosswater Golf Club in Sunriver, Ore. offers beautiful houses for rent, which provide panoramic views of Central Oregon along with quick access to golf.

Websters defines villa as a holiday house especially by the sea or in the mountains.with its own garden. Today that definition has been loosely interpreted, expanded and massaged, so that any place that is free-standing ' and often even those that are attached ' are called villas. It just seems to some to sound classier, sells better, but villas can be houses, condos, bungalows, cottages and cabins.
 
Whatever you call it, were talking about places where golfers stay together in one place. Typically these places have multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, large common room, kitchen, multiple TVs, DVD player, fireplace, patio and other comforts of a private residence. Many have pools and come with pool tables, hot tubs, foosballs, ping pong, and saunas.
 
Its all about the camaraderie, a place you can hang out, eat take-out while watching a game, grab a beer from the fridge and generally do what guys (or girls) do. And aside from the convenience of the concept, usually sharing a place makes a lot of sense economically. When you divide the nightly rate by the number of people, the math tells the story.
 
These resorts are sure to please. You might even try planning your trip around one of the professional events hosted in the area. Cozy up, and hit 'em straight!
 

  • August 11-17: Champions Tour Jeld-Wen Tradition; Crosswater Golf Club at Sunriver, Oregon.
     

    In Sunriver, 16 miles south of Bend, Oregon, you can rent a four-bedroom home for around $200 and up a night. Homes are mostly built in a casual ski lodge contemporary style with lots of wood siding and paneling, expansive windows revealing mountain views. Furnishings also reflect a sense of the rustic outdoors with four- poster pine beds and natural muted-colored fabrics. Dont be surprised if a moose crosses your back yard. www.sunriver-resort.com; www.sunriverexperience.com
     
    In addition to more than 30 miles of paved bike pathways, two pools and 23 tennis courts, Sunriver has three excellent golf courses: The Woodlands, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and set against a backdrop of the mountains and outcropping of lava rock; Crosswater, a heathland-style course, located on 600 scenic acres of woodlands and preserved wetlands; and the Meadows where seven holes border the meandering Sunriver.
     
    Stay at a Sunriver Resort home or condo and you can purchase a special golf package at $169 allowing you to play all three championship courses. Resort guests also get breaks on the public green fees.
     

  • September 25-28: PGA TOUR The Tour Championship, presented by Coca-Cola, Atlanta, Ga.
     

    Couples especially would enjoy Barnsley Gardens in Adairsville about 75 miles north of Atlanta. Gables, fretwork and shingles along with roof peaks and cupolas, porches and shutters create a tidy village of 33 guest cottages housing 70 suites along with a clubhouse, spa and golf course.
     
    Cottages are spacious with sitting rooms, fireplaces, 12-foot tray ceilings, beadboard paneling and French doors leading to porches with rocking chairs and private gardens. Oriental-style carpets cover dark wood floors and accessories include nostalgic things like old luggage pieces and model cars. King beds are extremely comfortable with duvets and piles of pillows and bathrooms are large with showers big enough for two.
     
    The General at Barnsley designed by Jim Fazio is ranked No. 5 in the state by Golf Week (public and resort courses, 2007) and is known for its excellent par 3s. Playing to 7,350 yards from the tips, the course provides beautiful vistas of the mountains and the estate. If youre going to take on The General, take plenty of ammunition.
     
    Green fees for guests are $90 to $100, including cart. A Golfers Getaway priced from $484-$654 for two includes one night stay, unlimited golf both days, and breakfast. www.barnsleyresort.com
     

  • September 18-21: PGA TOUR Viking Classic, Annandale GC, Madison, Miss.
     

    You wont be singing the Blues playing northern Mississippis courses, especially those on the Magnolia Golf Trail.
     
    In Holly Springs, Kirkwood National Golf Clubs four-bedroom cottages make an ideal base for staying and playing. Warm up with a round on Kirkwood National then tee up at designer layouts like Dogwoods (Gary Roger Baird) carved out of more than 200 acres in Hugh White State Park. This is a straightforward track with no quirks or gimmicks.
     
    Mallard Pointe in John Kyle State Park, a muscular, Bob Cupp-designed course is another matter challenging your target game with two diabolical holes over a treacherous gully (No. 9 and No. 18).
     
    Put your golf vacation over the top with a stay at Old Waverly, a private club in West Point, where guests get to play the superb Jerry Pate/Bob Cupp-designed course. Additional good golf options include Big Oaks Golf Club near Tupelo awash in water hazards and three designer courses in Tunica, home of 10 casino resorts.
     
    Order catfish at Taylor Catfish, in Taylor, tune into Thacker Mountain Radio Show, Oxfords version of the Prairie Home Companion, sip a Planters Punch on Old Waverlys Clubhouse Terrace while the sun sets; later head into Old Waverlys Murphys Pub for a nightcap.
     
    Kirkwood Cottages from $97.37 include room, golf, cart and breakfast; 2 nights/3 days from $167.99 per person; Old Waverly-accommodations from$135 per person; two- three- and four-bedroom villas from $270. Guest green fees & cart $122 to $152. www.kirkwoodcottages.com; www.oldwaverly.com; www.magnoliagolftrail.com
     

  • September 25-28: LPGA Navistar Classic, Capitol Hill Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, Prattville, Ala.
     

    In addition to playing the 54 holes of the Robert Trent Jones courses, point south to Alabamas Gulf Shores/Orange Beach. Dig your toes into the relatively un-crowded white sandy beaches along Alabamas coastline and take your pick of more than ten superb golf courses.
     
    Kiva Dunes, with its wide fairways, dozens of undulating bunkers and water features on every hole is challenging but forgiving with ample bail-out areas. At Craft Farms Cypress Bend, an Arnold Palmer course, be prepared for sprawling bunkers, super putting surfaces, doglegs, and plenty of lakes. And whoever said coastal areas are flat will have to eat their words at Rock Creek where dramatic elevations and carries over wetlands and water make this a must-play for serious golfers. Other excellent tracks include Lost Key Club and Peninsula Golf Club.
     
    At the end of the day, settle into one of the well-equipped beach houses planted in the white dunes by the sea ' some even come with pool tables. Several are available for rental and some sleep up to 12 people (or more). www.Kaiserrealty.com; www.gulfshores.com
     

    Katharine DysonKatharine Dyson is an award-winning freelance travel, lifestyle, golf and guidebook author based in the northeast.
     

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