Course: Omni Bedford Spring Resort (Old Course)
Location: Bedford, Pa.
Course Architect: Spencer Oldham (original, 1895) | Donald Ross and A.W. Tillinghast (renovation, 1923)
From The Tips: 6,785 yards
Saturday morning green fee: $$$$ ($150-$199)
Caddie service: No
Walker friendly: Yes
Starter: A trip to Bedford Springs is more for the history than the golf. Starting in 1819, when United States President Thomas Jefferson visited the resort, the mountain sanctuary has been visited by a number of U.S. Presidents, including James Polk, Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. The grandeur of the resort captures visitors immediately, with rocking chairs on the front porch harkening back to a different time in America. The golf? That’s secondary.
Play because …: Not too many golf courses in the world can boast Donald Ross and A.W. Tillinghast as architects. Their flair and design ingenuity still exist today in the design. The par-3 fourth hole, called the Volcano, is a prime example. The hole measures 223 yards, but the green is perched nearly 30 feet higher than the teeing ground, which makes finding the green seemingly impossible. The hole can be maddening, but it’s an experience not found on many golf courses in the world.
Takeaway: This is a must for any bucket list. The golf course, the resort, the spa — if into that sort of thing — are just part of the well-rounded fun experience at Bedford Springs. There are mountain walking trails with spectacular views and the food experience is terrific. The chefs grow much of ingredients in their own garden, creating a pure farm-to-table atmosphere. Also, the staff is as friendly as any found.
RATINGS [1 to 10 scale, 10 being the highest]
Food | beverage: 8
Pro shop: 8
Pace of play: 8
Best par 3: 10th hole (124 yards). The shortest hole on the course is not the easiest. A ravine sits in front of a smallish green that has a tier running through the middle. This hole has just about everything a hole should have, but length. And that’s not necessary.
Best par 4: 1st hole (310 yards). A great starting hole that takes driver out of play. A wood or long iron into the fairway is the proper play and from there the lessons begin about elevated greens and how Ross and Tillinghast design holes.
Best par 5: 9th hole (525 yards). There does not appear to be much to this hole with the tee shot and approach shots being straightforward. The fun begins with the green, which features a lot of speed and movement. This is a fun, but challenging, end to the outward nine.