I parred the Volcano. I have very little to brag about from my trip around the Old Course at Pennsylvania's Bedford Springs Resort, but at least I have that. After pulling a hybrid well left of the green, I hit a beautiful chip and, for once, didn't choke the 5-foot par putt.
I'd been curious to see the Old Course since Sports Illustrated's Pittsburgh natives, writer Gary Van Sickle and photographer Fred Vuich, told the tale of the resort's grand history and revival. My wife and I booked a long weekend with our 19-month-old son and visited last weekend.
The Volcano, shown at right, is a Donald Ross-designed, 217-yard par 3 with an elevated green surrounded by bunkers. It's a seriously intimidating tee shot that I yanked far enough left to avoid the most punishing trap and set up the par-saving chip. Of the many challenges the course presents, this was the only one I was able to meet. But it sure was fun trying. My favorite hole was No. 6, known as Ross's Cathedral, a tree-lined, 361-yard par 4 with an elevated tee and green. For me, the greens were the most challenging aspect of the course. They were slick with tricky breaks, and I had as many 3-putts as 2-putts.
The resort and spa facilities are also very impressive, especially the grand old indoor pool, which is spring-fed and constantly 82 degrees. Located in south-central Pennsylvania, Bedford Springs is just a 90-minute drive from Pittsburgh, two hours from Washington and Baltimore, and three hours from Philadelphia and Cleveland. The drive from New York is longer, four and a half hours (five-plus if you have an infant in the car), but well worth the trip.
For a more thorough description, see Gary's story, and check out the official site for hotel information and a hole-by-hole description of the course. For more resort options, see our guide to the game's greatest destinations.
Do you have a Bedford Springs story or a favorite historic golf resort you'd like to tell us about? Leave a comment below Photo: Fred Vuich/SI