Over the last 25+ years travelling for work in the golf industry there have been more than a few places where I have found myself with the chills. Whether it was the setting, the confirmed history, or some other factor that put my senses on high alert I can’t tell you, but I would definitely categorize them as “spooky”.
On this Halloween I thought I would share a few of them, just in case a golf trip with a little extra “tingle” up your spine is of interest.
1. Jekyll Island Club Resort (Georgia)
In close proximity to the historic (1898) Jekyll Island Golf Club and their 63 holes of golf, the Jekyll Island Club Resort first opened as a private club 1888. The Queen Anne style main building remains true to its roots with a period look even though it was fully restored in the 1980’s.
As a retreat for the richest families in the world (they controlled 1/6 of the world’s wealth at the time) the island colony has plenty of whispered stories about unusual happenings. That includes apparitions of bell-hops and ghostly children at play.
Walk the lower hallways at the club and try not to have your mind wander. I couldn’t.
2. St. Augustine (Florida)
With many golf courses nearby, including those at the World Golf Village, St. Augustine is a worthy golf travel destination. That said, any visit there draws you in with the history of the city.
Founded in 1565, the prevalent Spanish architecture gives it a European flare and walking the narrow cobblestone alleyways downtown will take you back in time.
They have multiple tours that exploit the dark layers of city history, but it is easy to find on your own. Once, at dusk, while walking the city for photo opps, I cut through an empty lot only to realize it was an overgrown historic cemetery.
Creepy? You bet.
3. St Andrews (Scotland)
When the Starbucks coffee-house is said to be in a “new” building yet it still dates from the 1700’s you know you are dealing with a lot of history when you visit St Andrews.
Like St. Augustine, cobblestone streets, often shrouded in morning and evening fog can easily make the hair on your arms stand at attention.
Head for the Cathedral cemetery to visit the graves of golf’s pioneers (Old Tom Morris Sr. and Jr., Allan Robertson, etc.) and try not to let your imagination go wild. There might be a reason they lock the gates in the evening.
At least you’ll have the seven fantastic Links Trust golf courses to keep your mind off otherworldly thoughts.
4. Carolina Inn (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)
The Triangle region is flush with golf courses and southern charms. No finer accommodation will you find in town than the Carolina Inn but be prepared, it is considered among the most haunted in the state.
Voted among the Top 10 Haunted Hotels in America by an About.com Poll in 2011, word is that the structure built in 1924 is home to up to 20 roaming spirits. Some friendly, some more mischievous.
The thoughts of stories outlining bedding being moved on its own, showers coming on by themselves, and odd temperatures shifts will keep you on edge.
It did for me.
5. Hilton Ft. Worth (Texas)
Shady Oaks, Colonial. Amazing golf clubs. Ft. Worth has a storied place in golf and the attractive downtown is a fabulous place to spend your off-time with its many fine restaurants and outdoor spaces. The Hilton Ft. Worth is a comfortable place to set-up for your stay. But…
The former Texas Hotel has evolved much since it was constructed in 1920. Now a modern hotel, I was unaware of its full history until I checked in there for a multiple-day visit there a few years ago.
While getting settled in my room I discovered that this was the hotel where John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy spent their last night before he was assassinated the next day in Dallas.
The leaflet I thumbed through in my room told me they stayed in room 850.
My room? 842.
Each day when I left and returned to the room I could not keep my eyes from wandering to the door just down the hall.