If you want to experience PGA
Tour-grade pressure, enter a pro-am.
If you want to indulge in Tour-caliber
pampering, visit Reynolds Plantation
in Greensboro, Ga., and treat yourself to
the Tour Experience at the Kingdom,
a TaylorMade-run orgy of clubfitting,
instruction and mingling with A-list pros.
If it sounds pricey, that’s because it
is—nearly $9,000 for three days (for less
lavish options, see below). But this is the
Vatican for gear geeks, offering access to
the game’s most advanced swing-analysis
and custom-fitting technology.
The fitting process begins with you
rigged head to toe in reflective markers that
allow nine high-speed cameras to capture
your every movement. The result is a
3-D rendering of your swing and putting
stroke that is at once enlightening and
alarming. Those metrics are married to the
stats gathered during an extensive hitting
session, and club by club, your dream set
materializes, with shaft flexes, lofts and lie
angles handpicked for your swing.
The coolest perk comes after the fitting.
You’ll have dinner with a TaylorMade
pro—Sean O’Hair, say, or Corey Pavin—retire to your room at the Ritz, then wake
up to play 18 holes with your spanking-new
clubs, built overnight by technicians.
Now that’s the Tour life we could all enjoy.
The Kingdom Experience
• 3 nights at the Ritz-Carlton Lodge
• An expert 14-club fitting via MATT
(Motion Analysis Technology by TaylorMade)
• A custom set built on-site and
overnight by TaylorMade technicians
• Mingling, playing and dining with a
TaylorMade Tour pro
• Full-swing and short-game instruction
by Top 100 Teacher Charlie King
• 18 holes with your new sticks
• A Tour bag, Adidas clothing, shoes,
and other goodies
Fittings Without the Frills
Humbler fitting options are also available,
starting at $100 for a single-club session
(driver, putter, etc.). You’ll still enjoy
all the benefits of motion-capture
technology, but you’ll demo fewer
sticks than you would during a Kingdom
session. The Kingdom itself also offers
less elaborate fittings, ranging from $695
for a single club to $4,095 for a full set, a
night at the Ritz and a round of golf. The
downside: You won’t get to talk golf with
Hale Irwin over Carolina mountain trout.
Where You’ll Play
The five excellent public courses at
Reynolds Plantation force golfers to make
some tough scheduling calls. The most
critically acclaimed of the quintet is Jack Nicklaus’s Great Waters (No. 42 on
our Top 100 You Can Play list), with Rees Jones’s Oconee Course (No. 58) close
behind. The front side of Great Waters
snakes through towering dogwoods, while
six holes on the back skirt Lake Oconee.
The Oconee, built in 2002, is the newest of
Reynolds’ public tracks (a private course,
the Creek Club by Jim Engh, opened in ’07).
Its finishing kick, Nos. 14-18, may be the
best five-hole stretch on the complex. For
now, anyway—a seventh course, a private
routing by Pete Dye, is underway.
Where You’ll Stay
Most guests bunk at the Ritz-Carlton
Lodge, a sumptuous retreat on the
shore of Lake Oconee. The 251-room hotel
offers all you’d expect from a Ritz (private
terraces and 400-thread-count linens)
and a couple of things you might not (a
car-detailing service and a separate 5,400-
square-foot house where two U.S. presidents
have slept; it starts at $2,500/night). The six
cozy golf cottages are also a great option.
What You’ll Pay
The Oconee Course $145-$240
Great Waters Course $155-$240
Plantation Course $105-$155
The National Course $125-$175
The Landing Course $125-$175
Ritz-Carlton Lodge From $219/night
Lakeside Cottages From $1300/night*
Info 888-298-3119; reynoldsplantation.com
(*prices subject to change)