The PGA Tour is in Cromwell, Connecticut this weekend for the 70th edition of the Travelers Championship. Not far from TPC River Highlands – about 80 miles northwest – is the Wyndhurst Manor & Club which can trace its roots back to the 19th century, making the New England tour event seem like a relative startup.
Anchored by its Gilded Age Mansion, and headlined by an historic golf course, the Lenox, Mass. resort is an exceptional destination for golfers and families who want to absorb life in a bygone era with all the modern amenities.
Designed in 1926 by Wayne Stiles and Jon Van Kleek, on the site of the original Berkshire Hunt Club, the tree-lined golf course is the epitome of golf’s golden age of architecture – roughly defined as the period from 1910 to the late 1930s.
Contemporaries of legendary golf course designers A.W. Tillinghast and Donald Ross, among others, Stiles and Van Kleek have had their legacies flourish in recent years as this era of golf course architecture became cemented as the most historically significant.
The duo built its best-known course, the Taconic Golf Club in Williamstown, MA., the year after they designed the course at the then Wyndhurst Club.
Harold Gulliver, writing in Golf Illustrated for the November 1932 issue, described the then six-year old golf course this way:
“One of the sportiest championship 18 hole links in the land, sixty-four hundred and thirty yards of emerald smoothness.
“Here is a course that is not too trying for the average golfer, and is yet worthy of attention of the bright-eyed ones who do not have to count over eighty.
“Interesting and unique as a test of skill, this links appeals as well to the the feeling for beauty, with its recurrent glimpses of the bright panorama of hill and dale, sky and lake.”
One of those “interesting and unique” aspects that Mr. Gulliver may have been referencing are the course’s contrasting nines: the front being more secluded, requiring accuracy to small, sloped greens, while the back nine is more open with larger, more subtle putting surfaces.
Today’s layout still features the primary design “signature” of Stiles and Van Kleek: dramatic back-to-front sloping greens.
“It makes for an engaging and challenging experience, navigating the course with tons of replay factor,” said Director of Golf Luke Salvatore. “Keeping the ball below the hole is absolutely paramount.”
The Mansion embodies the Berkshires’ nickname, “Inland Newport,” and includes 11 guest-rooms inspired by the palatial estates of the Berkshires’ heyday in the early 20th century.
The 1894 Fireside Bistro & Bar, which sits on the main floor of the Mansion, features a lounge and rose terrace with views of the first and 18th holes, as well as a stunning backdrop of the Berkshire Hills. It also holds the music room with a fireplace, glass-walled tea-room, and private board room with a vaulted ceiling and inglenook fireplace.
The Ballroom includes an all-new outdoor deck which plays host to weddings, meeting, and other functions. An additional 35 guest rooms, dotted around the property grounds within cottages and suites, round out Wyndhurst Manor’s accommodations.
Once a retreat property for novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” every guest-room is named after a famous New England artist, author or poet, such as Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost.
The Wyndhurst Manor was built in 1894 by John Sloane, a relative of the Vanderbilts and co-owner of the famous furniture firm, W & J Sloane. He commissioned Frederick Law Olmsted, considered “the father of American landscape architecture,” to design the grounds. Olmsted’s sons would later work with Stiles and Van Kleek on several projects, including the Wyndhurst golf course.
The Golf Club at Wyndhurst Manor still has 13 original holes intact from the 1926 design. The five holes that were recreated and/or modified over the years feature many of the design elements of the architects’ original intent. The Mansion, which sits on the site of the new first tee and 18th green, serves as the landmark for the start and completion of each round.
“We are receiving an incredible amount of interest for overnight stays in the coming months and are so thankful to our guests for their continued support,” said Wyndhurst General Manager Vic Cappadona.
“We are also seeing a resurgence in golf, from guests who hadn’t picked up a club in years to families who are introducing spouses and children to the game due to an increase in time on their hands and the amazing life lessons the game can provide.”
While the golf course is one of the main draws of Wyndhurst Manor & Club, the resort is centrally located from several attractions and renowned cultural institutions that are just minutes from the property.
For instance, art lovers can explore places such as the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams and/or the Norman Rockwell Museum in Sturbridge. Even closer proximity, guests can experience world-class performances at the Tanglewood Music Center and Jacob’s Pillow.
“Wyndhurst Manor & Club is the perfect destination for exploration and immersion,’’ Cappadona said. “We offer the ideal experience for every type of traveler, from golfers to families and couples.”
Wyndhurst is currently offering a “Stay & Play” package, through Oct. 31, 2021, for guests to experience the masterfully designed course and the tranquil splendor of the Berkshires.
The package includes a two-night stay in one of Wyndhurst’s array of accommodations, including the Gilded-Age Mansion, historic Beechers Cottage, and the family-friendly Barnes, Griswold and McKinley Cottages; three rounds of golf; and 20 percent off golf lessons.
On the web: WyndhurstManorAndClub.com