LPGA in eclectic Virginia resort golf community this weekend

        All blossoms should be in bloom this weekend in Williamsburg, VA, where the LPGA tour is making its annual spring visit to the Kingsmill Resort. The bustling golf community, which appeals both to vacationers, second-home owners and year-round residents, is ideally suited to host a professional tournament, given the amount of resort housing on site; the three excellent golf courses, including the River Course that was originally designed by Pete Dye in the 1970s, and then redesigned by Dye 10 years ago; and the built-in corps of volunteers who live around the golf courses.

        The event, now known simply as The Kingsmill Championship, has suffered some inconsistency in sponsorship after founding sponsor dropped out during the recession, but the tournament’s place as both a player and fan favorite stop on the tour helped bring it back in 2012 after a two-year absence. That competition was noteworthy last year in that Paula Creamer and Jiyai Shin endured a nine-hole playoff and a fifth day before Shin won with a par.


Viewing stands surround the 18th green on the River Course at Kingsmill, where the Kingsmill Championship on the LPGA is being played this weekend.  The James River could come into play.


        When I visited the 4,500-acre Kingsmill golf community a few years ago, I noted that a third of the space at the resort was not occupied by real estate, giving the large development an open feel. Most of the condominiums inside the community are owned by investors who rent them to visiting golfers and families. The families like the proximity to Busch Gardens across from the entrance to Kingsmill. The buddy golfers used to like the proximity to the Busch brewery, which was so close they did not need a designated driver to enjoy the after-tour samples. Sadly for many, the tours have stopped at the Williamsburg brewery.

        Kingsmill does a good job of keeping the resort and residential parts of the golf community separate. Each neighborhood is an “enclave” with a defining cul de sac at its farthest reach. Regulations about leasing single-family homes for less than one-year at a time are enforced. On average, no more than 5 percent of those homes are permitted to be leased at any one time; this ensures that the golf courses are not overrun by vacationers and other transients. At the time I visited, one golf course of the three was closed to non-member play every day .

        Although PGA Tour players have criticized Pete Dye for making his golf courses too difficult, he actually softened his own layout on Kingsmill’s River Course after the PGA Tour ceased playing its Michelob Open there after a 20-year run. Today, the LPGA event is played from 6,300 yards, about the distance of the “men’s” tees on the River Course, a setup I found challenging enough yet extremely pleasant. The course, which plays along the James River, was in peak condition, another reason the lady pros enjoy the stop on the tour.

        Resales condos at Kingsmill start in the low $200s, and single-family homes begin in the mid $300s. The resort is selling brand new three-bedroom cottages that overlook the James River and start in the $800s. If you are interested in the Williamsburg area, other golf communities to consider include Governor’s Land, whose private Tom Fazio golf course runs along the James River as well; Ford Colony, which has sorted through some financial issues it faced during the recession; and Colonial Heritage, an age restricted community (55 years and older) whose Arthur Hills golf course was the toughest I played during my visit to the area.

        Please contact us if you would like more information on golf homes and golf communities in Williamsburg.

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