History nerds should have a field day when they check in to Kingsmill Resort, where golfers can gaze over the massive James River, and enjoy sunrises and sunsets – the same that British settlers saw in 1607 and where Pocahontas once walked. It is where America was born.
But Virginia’s only AAA Four Diamond Condominium Golf Resort has so many family friendly activities you might never think about the history even with Colonial Williamsburg right next door.
It’s always a treat to play golf on a course that has been hosting a televised event for years. That’s Kingsmill, which hosts the annual Pure Silk Championship on the famous River Course designed and updated by a legend, Pete Dye.
LPGA players love the week-long event staged each May because of the hospitality shown to them by Kingsmill and many local fans, businesses and volunteers. Players compete for a $1.3 million purse in a 72‐hole stroke play tournament. The River Course plays to a 6,379-yard, Par 71 during the championship.
The River Course
You, too, can play the same course that is highlighted by a stunning finish that brings you within sight of the James River.
On hole No. 16, hit it long on the fairway’s left side for the best approach to this par-4, 458-yarder. Two deep bunkers guard the back portion of the green making an accurate second shot essential. Playing short provides the best opportunity to score. And next you climb to a famous signature hole.
The beautiful par-3, 177 yards could be the most historic spot in American golf.
On The James River, this area was part of the American Revolution and the first place the Jamestown settlers actually docked. The surroundings include a cannon, an Indian shell mound, an island just upriver is where there are traces of a pier and road to Williamsburg. Foundations for a tavern, storehouse, and brothel are also close by.
It’s also a formidable par 3.
Kingsmill’s signature hole features a deep green making proper club selection on the tee shot the highest priority. The right side poses a lot of danger making the safety zone just short and left of the green.
Finish your round with a beautiful par 4 of 450 yards. Length and accuracy off the tee demand a booming forced carry drive.
The longer hitter may take a more aggressive line while others should aim well to the right, which provides the shortest carry distance to the fairway. The water hazard behind and to the left of the green requires a precise mid to long iron approach.
The Plantation Course
The Plantation Course, Kingsmill’s more player-friendly 18 is an Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay design that moves out to 6,432-yard, par 72. This course favors accurate iron play and good putting.
Fairway landing areas are generous, but water comes into play on eight holes, and there’s no shortage of deep woods or rugged ravines. Greens are large and provide inviting targets for approach shots. Once on the putting surface, undulations and swales make getting down in two a satisfying accomplishment.
The Plantation course is historic, too, with landmarks from Richard Kingsmill’s 1736 plantation woven into the landscape.
Golfers must be overnight guests or members of Kingsmill Resort.
The Rebirth of the ultimate estate house
Did you know there is a 7,000-square-foot private estate with panoramic views of the James River that you can rent? It was formerly known as Pettus House – originally built as the private mansion for the Busch family, of Budweiser Beer and Busch Gardens fame.
Now, after a $3 million renovation the Estate at Kingsmill is available as a luxury rental for vacationers, corporate retreats and to those celebrating a milestone or special occasion.
“With inspiring design and the finest materials, we have created a premier living, gathering and entertaining space that modernizes and elevates the guest experience,” says David McDonald, President of Escalante Golf, owner of Kingsmill Resort. “The estate offers stunning views through expansive walls of retractable glass and unparalleled service that includes an estate manager and chef.”
The four-bedroom residence provides full access to Kingsmill Resort’s world-class amenities including golf, tennis, spa treatments, yoga and Pilates classes, two luxury SUVs, customized golf carts, private jet skis, personal shoppers, laundry service, and personalized menus and music selections.
The family fun never stops
And if your family is not on the links with you, they can head to Kingsmill’s River Pool and Lazy River. The kids can dive down the water slide or slide into the on the zero-entry pool. The Lazy River is built for fun or a race with 250,000 gallons of water and a current of nearly five miles per hour – and adults have just as much fun.
Guests have three other options: two quieter outdoor pools, one at the sports club, and an expansive indoor pool where the water is always at 87 degrees.
The Marina is Kingsmill’s nautical hub. The James River has a full-service marina for watercraft or a relaxing day cruising on a pontoon boat. Ever tried a stand-up paddle board? You can here.
Kingsmill today and in the future
Xanterra Parks and Resorts purchased Kingsmill in 2010 and in 2017, Ft. Worth, Texas-based Escalante Golf bought the golf courses.
You might know Xanterra from its operations at national parks and lodging. Escalante Golf, a small owner and operator of luxury golf properties in nine states, bought the 2,900-acre property located along the James River for around $30 million.
Dining at Kingsmill
Select the Captain’s Platter at The James Landing Grille. You will not be disappointed by the food or the views at the dining locations. Fresh seafood, desserts and craft beers hightlight this restaurant overlooking the James River.
Elements 1010 is for breakfast and lunch then more upscale at night. The view – yep is awesome of the river and Plantation Courses.
Kingsmill Ressort is located off I-64 between Richmond and Norfolk the property is within minutes from Williamsburg’s numerous destinations including Busch Gardens, Colonial Williamsburg, The College of William & Mary, Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center. To plan your trip to Kingsmill, visit www.kingsmill.com.
Story by David R. Holland