The Jekyll Island Club Resort, a member of the Historic Hotels of America, is situated in the Golden Isles of Georgia, a collection of barrier islands of remarkable beauty in the southeastern corner of the Peach State along the Atlantic Ocean. The historic riverfront Island Club is a restored Victorian jewel, once the winter home of the richest families in America, now a premier vacation, meeting, and wedding destination boasting four restaurants and an ensemble of recreational amenities. The AAA Four Diamond Resort recently added the boutique Ocean Club featuring 40 oversized one-bedroom suites all with oceanfront balconies, beachside outdoor and indoor dining at Eighty Ocean Kitchen and Bar, a pool, spa and a cozy firepit.
Today, this former retreat for the ‘Gilded Age’ tycoons is a family-friendly treasure of historical homes, natural settings, seven miles of public oceanfront beaches, delightful dining including the elegant Grand Dining Room, multiple accommodation choices and golf. Jekyll Island is a 5700-acre state-owned barrier island operated by an Authority for the residents and visitors to Georgia with plenty of activities for the young and old. Biking and walking trails, fishing and water sports, tennis and croquet, Mosaic Jekyll Island Museum, Summer Waves water park, Georgia Sea Turtle Center, and Driftwood Beach make Jekyll Island one of the best places to enjoy the Fall. Besides the period decorated rooms and suites in the Hotel, visitors can request stays in three of the club cottages, summer homes of the wealthy members, from days gone by.
Jekyll Island has the bragging rights as Georgia’s largest public golf resort with 63 holes of golf in a pristine natural setting. In 1898 members of the Jekyll Island Club created the Island’s first golf course. Then in 1924, they hired famed designer Walter ‘Old Man’ Travis to construct Great Dunes, an intriguing par 36, 3,229-yards nine-hole course swept with sea oats and reflective of the unique coastal terrain, which still plays along the beach road and overlooks the ocean. In the same year, the USGA picked the Jekyll Club as the testing site for steel shafts versus the current hickory shafts, ball sizes and density tests that would change the game of golf forever. The Jekyll Island Club is a member of the Georgia Golf Trail presented by Bridgestone Golf, a collection of 23 of the finest resorts and courses throughout the Peach State from the mountains to the plains to the ocean. Georgia is home to the great Bobby Jones, The Masters, Tour Championship, and FedEx Cup recently won by Dustin Johnson.
After the state purchased the Island the Authority started expanding the golf facility. The first 18 hole design, Oleander, came from the creative mind of golf course architect Dick Wilson, and is the most challenging of the three at 6,679 yards from the tips with a slope/rating of 128/71.8. It is the favorite of the locals and mine as well with a nice selection of left and right doglegs and a bit of water to contend with. Oleander was the host course of the Georgia Open during its beginnings before it moved on to other locations around the state.
The second course and the longest, Pine Lakes, another Wilson design, opened in 1968 and was reimagined by Clyde Johnston in 2002, adding family-friendly tees so adults and youngsters could play the course together. The par 72, 6.700+ yards layout meanders through pine forests and undisturbed marsh hammocks providing ample challenges on all 18 holes.
Indian Mound is a Joe Lee masterpiece that opened in 1975 with 7 holes with ponds in play, Lee’s signature fairway bunkering, and 6,459 yards to round out the trio with the shortest but enjoyable 18 holes. The golf course highlights the pristine beauty of Jekyll Island and winds its way through woodlands. The courses are less than a mile from the Jekyll Island Club and the Ocean Club.
The three 18 hole courses play out of the sizable two-story clubhouse which includes a large well-stocked pro shop, the newly remodeled McCormick’s Grill serving light fare and cold beverages. The upstairs area is available for various events such as weddings, charity golf tournaments, and business meetings with a full-service catering menu. Director of Golf, PGA Professional Spencer Bookman, and his fine staff can help with personnel instruction, junior classes, and ensuring your golf event is an enjoyable experience.
Along with the Jekyll Island Ocean Club, a complete redo of the beachfront retail area includes the new dynamic Westin Jekyll Island Hotel featuring 187 guest rooms, 13 suites, three exquisite dining venues, and some great packages to enjoy Jekyll’s ensemble of activities. Right next door to the Westin is the totally new 78,000 square-foot Convention Center which is the perfect venue for business, religious gatherings, and conventions. Visit WestinJekyllIsland.com
The Jekyll Island Authority wants visitors to the area to be aware that the covid-19 protocols are being followed along with social distancing at any gathering place. Masks are required when entering buildings on the Island and the best measures are being kept to make a visit as safe as possible.
Find your way this fall to Georgia’s Jekyll Island and enjoy all this coastal sanctuary and Jekyll Island Club Resort have to offer. Visit JekyllIslandClub.com