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Champions of Charm
By Kelsie Allen Barton | Photo: Courtesy of Champions Retreat | February 21, 2017
Home to a private club from three legendary golfers, Champions Retreat in Augusta exudes unparalleled Southern hospitality—complete with a pristine course and upscale cottages perfect for a guys’ getaway.
Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player. No three names are more synonymous with greatness in the world of golf, as their combined 13 green jackets, 34 major championship victories and 159 tournament wins prove. So when the talented trio collaborated on a private golf club, the result was a hole-in-one.
Burrowed in the rustling pines on 365 acres outside Augusta, Ga.—the golf capital of the world and home to the Masters Tournament—Champions Retreat is the realization of these iconic figures’ shared vision. The 27-hole course inhabits a former untouched timber plot only 2 ½ hours from Atlanta and is broken into three nines—the Island, the Bluff and the Creek—designed by Palmer, Nicklaus and Player respectively. The immaculate tract of land hugs the banks of the Savannah River, offering breathtaking vistas and challenging yet fun play for golfers of all handicaps.
But the uniqueness of Champions Retreat extends beyond the links. Upon stepping off the course, golfers find themselves in a community of handsome cottages available for rent that can accommodate four to eight couples. Each cottage boasts a fully equipped kitchen, luxurious king-size beds, and access to fire pits and porches that lure the party outdoors.
A short golf-cart ride away is the Grille House, which serves sophisticated versions of comfort-food classics—try the Champion’s Burger, a custom blend of Angus beef and short rib, pimento cheese, bacon and housemade pickles. With certified sommelier Doug Snyder helming the food and beverage program, diners can expect top-notch recommendations for wine and cocktail pairings with every plate.
Staff members are eager to arrange special outings for members and guests, including after-dark putting competitions; personal training sessions on the helipad; in-room spa treatments after a long day on the green; and live music and s’mores by the campfire on Deck 5, located at the Island’s fifth hole overlooking the river.
Although Champions Retreat is rightfully revered for its world-class golf, guys who have the pleasure of visiting may argue that its amenities, dining and service rival that premier course down the road. The seamless experience the exclusive club creates is best summed up in the words of the late, great Palmer: “There is not a better setting for golf in the South.” Open to the public for the 2017 Masters April 3-9, three-bedroom condo from $6,800 for the week, six-bedroom cottage from $45,3400 for the week, 706.854.6960