The historic Greenbrier in West Virginia continues to be an asset in the sport of golf, whether it is via a vacation destination, the locale of a reality television show or a popular event on the PGA Tour.
The Greenbrier Classic will be played at The Old White TPC course, July 1-7, 2013. It was designed by C.B. Macdonald. The 2012 winner last July was Ted Potter, Jr. (featured photo), who won in a playoff.
The Greenbrier is also featured on the Golf Channel’s new “Big Break Greenbrier” series, a reality show which premiered last month. Twelve professional golfers (with legitimate credentials), compete in a series of golf-related skills. At the end of the series, the winner will receive cash, prizes and, most importantly, an exemption to the 2013 Greenbrier Classic, which is a regular stop on the PGA Tour.
Last month, Greenbrier purchased one of the nation’s oldest golf courses, Oakhurst Links, located just a few miles away in White Sulphur Springs. The history and charm makes this course unique. Instead of modern golf clubs made from high-tech materials, it was not unusual to see players opting for hickory-shafted clubs, gutta-percha balls and other charming accessories and traditions of golf from games from more than 100 years ago.
The 232-year-old Greenbrier has been host for the PGA event since 2010, but it also has a long history away from the greens. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for good reason.
It has been a gathering spot for royalty, presidents, celebrities and legendary athletes, including golfers.
As secretary of state in 1815, James Monroe supposedly visited the White Springs area to not only revel in the area’s beauty, but to use the alleged “healing waters” to boost his health ailments. Twenty six presidents have been hosted at Greenbrier.
The hotel has more than 700 rooms, a spa, casino and a mysterious bunker that was a U.S. top-secret facility.
In the 1950s, the secret bunker was apparently built as a refuge for Congress, like an emergency relocation center, during the Cold War. It was a secret hiding place in case of a nuclear attack. The whole area was “classified” – and located within the everyday business of the hotel without anyone suspecting a thing – at least for about 30 years.
However, the spot was never actually used, even during the Cuban Missile Crisis, although though several people working for the government would regularly clean up, inspect and make sure everything was working properly in case of an attack. Men would dress up as television repairmen and fool the staff about necessary TV repairs that had to be made on the property. In reality, they would sneak into the bunker to do their cleanup work.
There is also plenty of golf history at the resort. The original nine holes were designed by Alexander Findlay and golf pro emeritus status was held by Sam Snead and Tom Watson.
Cool stuff. Greenbrier, named by Golf Magazine as one of the top premier resorts. It features a touch of modern with a reality show and a PGA Tour event, as well as a touch of old with its unique history.