Spring has sprung, or should we say swung, at Chateau Elan Winery & Resort, where the fairways are just starting to get back to their bright Bermuda green and golfers are making their way to wine bottle tees.
This AAA Four Diamond property beckons golf travelers, located just an hour drive from Atlanta, where guests choose from elegantly-appointed accommodations at the inn or opt for a two- or three-bedroom golf villa by the courses. Complete with a kitchenette, living room and a fairway as your backyard, these villas are as spacious as they are convenient if you plan to tee off more than once on your vacation and with Chateau, Woodlands, Legends and a par-3 course, you could spend a long weekend here and not play the same course twice.
Chateau Elan takes advantage of the area’s beautiful landscape at every turn. At the resort’s four impressive courses, forest views, rolling hills, lakes and creeks combine to challenge every facet of your game. Though Chateau and Woodlands, the hotel’s two main courses are located right next to each other and were both designed by local architect Denis Griffiths, they play quite differently. Chateau is the signature course, highlighted by beautifully contoured, wide-open fairways that are perfect for those that love to swing away at the tee. That’s not to say the 7,030-yard par-72 is not a challenge. Three large valley lakes mean water comes into play on almost every hole and the rolling hills can either help you or hurt you.
Narrower and surrounded by forest, the Woodlands Course is less forgiving, requiring much more precision and probably an extra sleeve (or three) of balls. No two holes are alike, and you never quite know what is coming next on this 6,735-yard par 72 course that mixes challenging par 3s with reachable par 5s. Thanks to the hilly landscape that makes for a ton of elevation changes you’ll have to finesse your up- and down-hill shots, too.
Privately owned but open to hotel guests, Legends is the course nextdoor that’s a total bonus. Here, Griffiths had help from Sam Snead, Gene Sarazen and Kathy Whitworth to design a course that was reminiscent of some of the most popular in the states, including hole 5 and 15 which were modeled after Augusta National’s 13 and 12. Back at Chateau Elan, there’s also a nine-hole par 3 course that is great for beginners with no shot playing longer than 115 yards.
But it’s not just all about golf here, the hotel’s championing of the Georgia landscape is also prevalent at the property’s 3,500-acre vineyard where the area’s high elevation, generally warm temperatures and moisture soaking soil blend to grow an impressive list of varietals. Since joining the team in 2013, Italian winemaker Simone Bergese has helped establish the property as a must-visit for any wine lover with an affinity for U.S. brands. Chateau Elan labels have picked up more than 200 awards over the past five years, making it one of the most awarded wineries on the East Coast. It’s all sourced and made on property, save for some grapes grown at sister wineries in California and the pineapples that are shipped from Tahiti. You heard that right – inspired by his wife’s Tahitian heritage, Bergese has even created a sparkling pineapple brut that awaits at the landmark Chateau-style building at the heart of the property.
Travelers can take advantage of Chateau Elan’s Villas Golf Package with rates starting at $525 for two per night in a two-bedroom villa with capacity for four. The package includes unlimited golf at the Chateau, Woodlands and Par 3 courses, golf carts and unlimited driving range access. You’ll just have to spring for the pineapple brut.
Update: On April 9 the Chateau Elan team announced plans for a $25 million renovation including a full redesign of guestrooms, updates to the lobby and other common areas, and added F&B options to be completed by November 2019.