Last year marked our first visit to The Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, VA. A few years ago, I worked with Mark Spadoni, General Manager at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort. We wrote and published an article about the property and had it published on numerous websites and magazines. About a year after doing the article, I called him to see how things were going and was told he had retired. I sent him a private message through social media congratulating him on his decision.
A year or so went by and I got a call from Mark, asking me if I would like to come out to The Omni Homestead Resort in Virginia and write an article about the two golf courses and the resort, which was – and still is – undergoing a $150 million renovation. After explaining that my idea and his idea of retirement were totally different, I graciously accepted the invitation.
I can usually get an idea of how good a resort is by speaking with some of the employees. If they’ve been there a while, that’s a good sign. At The Homestead, I spoke with a lot of workers and couldn’t find anyone who had been there less than 10 years – other than Mr. Spadoni! Membership Director Cindy White has been there for over 25 years; Lee Peery, a starter at The Cascades has been there for over 37 years, and Arthur Bryan, in the Dining Room, has worked there for almost 50 years. That says it all!
The Omni Homestead Resort is home to two incredible golf courses. The Old Course was the resort’s first course and was established in 1892 when the first 6 holes were opened for play. That first hole is still in use today, making it the oldest first tee in continuous use in the United States. The Cascades was built in 1923 and on Friday, April 21, 2023, celebrated its 100th birthday with a celebration worthy of state dignitaries. Director of Golf Mark Fry served as the host and he and his staff did a remarkable job, debuting their new plus-fours uniforms! Mark and Head Golf Professional Barry Ryder gave a brief 15-minute clinic on ball striking, followed by Mark’s youngest son Caleb – an aspiring World Long Drive competitor – wowing the crowd with a 400-yard drive! Mark has been named as one of the top 10 instructors in the state of Virginia on numerous occasions.
After delivering a brief history of The Cascades course, Mark Spadoni introduced Mike Hill, Managing Director, Championships at the United States Golf Association. Hill delivered some big news: The Cascades will play host to the 2025 Senior Women’s Amateur Championship and the 2029 US Senior Amateur Championship.
The Cascades Course had an auspicious beginning. After being told by several renowned golf course architects that included A.W. Tillinghast, Seth Raynor, and Peter Lees that the land was unsuitable for a golf course, the owners turned to William Flynn who had a different idea. The end result was The Cascades.
Over the years, The Cascades Course has received numerous accolades, including a place on Golf Digest’s list of “America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses” from 1969 through 2007. The Cascades has hosted the U.S. Amateur, the U.S. Women’s Open, U.S. Women’s Amateur, the U.S. Mid-Amateur, and the NCAA Championships, in addition to more than 30 state amateur championships.
Here are five fun facts about The Cascades
- Golf legend Sam Snead once remarked that if he could play only one course, it would be The Cascades in Hot Springs, Virginia.
- Jacqueline Bouvier – aka Jackie-O – learned to play golf at The Cascades in the 1930s.
- The Cascades has hosted over 200 Virginia State Golf Association championships.
- President Gerald Ford, an avid golfer considered The Cascades among his favorite courses. His best score on the course was 81.
- US Presidents, foreign royalty, and captains of industry have all played a round of golf at The Cascades. Among them were President Dwight Eisenhower, The Duke of Windsor, and George W. Bush.
If you’re serious about golf, you owe yourself a trip to The Homestead and a round of golf on both the Old Course and The Cascades. Play them once and you’ll be hooked. Better yet, play it in the fall – late October is best – and you will be surrounded by such beauty that you may forget how magnificent the golf course is! And, once you’re hooked on The Homestead, the next logical step is becoming a member. Contact Cindy White, Membership Director, for more information. You can also visit their website at www.omnihotels.com/hotels/homestead-virginia and check out the package specials they have.