Goose Pond is affordably priceless
SCOTTSBORO, Ala. - A golfer shouldn't have to take out a home equity loan to be able to afford a resort vacation. The staff at Goose Pond Colony understands that. At Goose Pond, a fivesome and a cabin totals $307, or $61 each - a level of affordability that draws golfers to this resort in the shadow of the Cumberland Mountains.
Golfers won't encounter hosts in tuxedos or a stuffy "good morning, sir" when they arrive at the 4-star resort. But they might encounter Scottsboro Mayor Ron Bailey or bank vice president Steve Beaird - outfitted with mugs of coffee - offering a Southern "Hey ya'll" greeting. It's an Alabama down-home experience from the minute golfers unpack their clubs at the 360-acre resort.
Along with their X-14s and Eye-3s, golfers should pack fishing poles,beverages of choice, and steaks because the fun doesn't end when the lastgimme is picked up on No. 18. The cabins are a short 5-iron shot across thestreet, and one of the hottest largemouth bass lakes in the country sits inthe backyard. EZ-GO's and ZEBCO's go together like birdies and pars, andnever is it more apparent than at Goose Pond Colony Resort.
The reasonably priced golf and accommodations at Goose Pond shouldn't fool golf enthusiasts who look for the very best in design and condition. The Colony and Plantation courses offer 36 holes of challenging golf at reasonable rates. At 6,854 and 6,901 yards, respectively, and with water on 18 of the 36 holes, the test is a multiple choice:
A) Championship tees where the courses require pinpoint accuracy off thetee and precise iron shots; or
B) Middle tees where even the high-handicapper can get home on any of thewinding par 4s; or
C) Front tees where the encounter becomes a benign stroll through thescenery that only Lake Guntersville and the Cumberland Mountains canpresent.
The par-3 13th signature hole on the Goose Pond Colony Course epitomizes the pleasantry that golfers will experience during their round. The 175-yard tee shot over water comes equipped with views of the lake and marina, and a misfired 5-iron doesn't spell doom. There's plenty of room for error, and golfers can still par the hole with a nice chip and putt.
The Colony's Par-5 15th winds around Lake Guntersville while anglers reeling in largemouth bass set the backdrop for eagle and birdie putts. The pines and oaks that surround the large, undulating green beckon the group to seize the day.
The Plantation Course presents golfers with a diverse test of length and finesse, demonstrated by the par-4 7th hole that's reachable for those linksters who like to let the big dog eat. The risk-reward hole offers golfers the choice of a 3-iron and pitching wedge safe play or a 240-yard carry for a possible eagle putt.
Where to Eat
Local golf professional Barry Chandler can be found on most days diningat The Docks (256-574-3071), a highly acclaimed restaurantthat overlooks the lake and marina. Located at the Goose Pond ColonyMarina across the lake from the Colony Course, this locally ownedcasual restaurant offers fresh-catch entrees and a come-as-you-are loungewhere regulars welcome stories of the day's events. The nightly menu teemswith favorite dishes as well as laughter and high-fives about theaccomplishments on the lake or course.
For more local flavor, golfers can drive five minutes to Russ T' s (256-259-0641) where steaks and neighborhood dishes are served with a family-style smile.
But if five miles is too far, there's plenty of back-porch sittin' and golf-round reminiscin' outside the cabins, where the aroma of steaks and chicken on the grill fill the air. A line-and-pole, a lawn chair and a beverage are all that's needed on the private pier, with the sun reflecting off the lake.
Where to Stay
Right at Goose Pond Colony Resort (800-268-2884), natch.Located on the banks of the Tennessee River's LakeGuntersville, Goose Pond Colony is municipally owned and offerslakeside cottages, a lodge and a relaxing waterfront campground. For acomplete photo tour and more information visit the Web site at goosepond.org.
Scotsboro, located in Alabama's Jackson County, offers myriad off-course activities ranging from Southeast Sharkfest, the largest gathering of BMW enthusiasts, to the world-famous Frantic Frog Triathlon. County-wide events include the Siege of Bridgeport Re-Enactment (the largest Civil War re-enactment in Alabama), a catfish festival, the Jackson County Fair, the Bridgeport Jubilee and the Ole Timey Craft & Bluegrass Festival. For information about all the events in Jackson County, contact Jackson County Tourism at (256) 259-5500 or visit the website at www.sjcchamber.org/tourism.html.
February 12, 2005