Golf in Sea Island, Georgia

Sea Island Resort is where old world gentility meets new world order. This tranquil outpost halfway between Savannah, Georgia, and Jacksonville, Florida, has played host to everyone from Bobby Jones to 20 world leaders at last year's G8 Summit (President Bush chose the resort because his parents honeymooned here in 1945).

The $42 million Lodge at Sea Island opened in 2001 to complement the regal Cloister Hotel, which is closed for a major facelift until 2006. PGA Tour star Davis Love III grew up at Sea Island, designed one of its three golf courses, and lives nearby. Who better to provide the inside scoop on how to enjoy the local brand of southern comfort?

The Golf:
Sound Choices

There are three courses at Sea Island Resort, but as many as 10 designers get credit for them--each track having been altered at least once. Tracing the design DNA of each would merit an episode of CSI: Sea Island. Each offers its own challenges. "You have the variety of three courses that play three different ways," says Love III. "I don't think any of the courses favor one particular shot, but hopefully you possess a shot you can play in windy conditions!"

The Best:
The Seaside Course
Par 70, 6,945 yards; $240

Seaside has undergone more sea changes than a candidate running for office. The first architects credited with this masterpiece are Harry S. Colt and Charles Alison in 1929; the most recent is Tom Fazio in 1999. What hasn't changed is the superb setting for one of the finest courses in the southeast.

Davis Love III says
"My favorite hole on Seaside would have to be number thirteen because of the challenges and options it presents. You have to carry a tidal creek and avoid the marsh on the left and bunkers on the right. It can be a different hole every time you play it, depending on the wind."
Fazio married the original Seaside nine with Joe Lee's later Marshside holes to create a linksy, lowland treasure that skirts St. Simons Sound. The fairways are hemmed by waste areas and deep, flash-faced bunkers that create an illusion of tightness. In fact, the landing areas are hard to miss. However, the greens are slick and guarded with mounds that repel sloppy approaches. Holes don't come much more beautiful than the 14th, which curls 407 yards alongside a marsh with views of the sound and the causeway bridge. Bobby Jones practiced on Seaside regularly during his Grand Slam year of 1930.

The Classic:
The Plantation Course
Par 72, 7,058 yards, $190

Though located cheek-by-jowl, the Seaside and Plantation courses occupy different ecosystems. In 1998, Rees Jones completed an extreme makeover on this course, which began as nine holes by Walter Travis in 1927. It is routed through thick forest--and around a few of the island's multimillion-dollar "cottages"--and is noteworthy for small greens protected by closely mown mounds. The Plantation is rated the toughest of Sea Island's courses--but only if you compare slope and rating; in reality, Seaside is the hardest--but several of the par 3s are knee-knockers when the wind kicks up off nearby St. Simons Sound. Holes 7, 11 and 15 require a carry over water and are devilishly bunkered to boot.

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