DESTINATION: Oglebay Resort | Wheeling, West Virginia
Updated: Feb 14, 2019
If you're looking for a recommendation or tips on going to Sand Valley, Streamsong or Pebble Beach, you're probably looking at the wrong site. Don't get me wrong, we'd be the first ones on the tee if presented the opportunity, but if you live within a six hour radius of Wheeling, WV (go ahead and check, we'll still be here after), then Oglebay Resort (pronounced OH-gul-BEE) should be on your radar when planning your next buddy golf trip.
About the Region:
Wheeling is found in the northern panhandle of West 'By God' Virginia. It's actually very accessible (via I-70) and is a pretty easy drive from Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincy, Columbus, Indy, Buffalo, DC/Baltimore, Charleston, WV etc. Even Louisville, Kentucky and Detroit, Michigan are less than a five hour drive away.
So while it isn't the first place you think of, this little burgh of about 50K on the Ohio River has great accessibility if you're willing to rise with the sun, hit the road and make it on the box for an early afternoon tee time to get things started!
The Oglebay Resort itself has a plethora of things to do besides golf. A few mentions include their own Zoo, typical spa and restaurants, gardens, a lake, horseback riding, an aerial challenge course, and more. In wintertime, they have skiing, sledding and tubing, plus their own drive-thru Christmas light display! If that's not your speed, then they've got a horse track and casino on an island in the middle of the Ohio River!
About the Golf:
The best part of a weekend trip here is that you never have to drive more than a mile to do anything. It's not a gated-resort, so its very low key and relaxed, adding to the charm of this place. If staying on property (more on that in a minute), then you have about a half-mile drive to your morning tee time, or your afternoon one, or the next day, etc. You don't have to replay anything either, which is a huge plus for golf nerds like us!
You've got two very good championship tests provided by the Speidel Golf Club within the resort grounds. The older of the two, the Klieves Course, a Robert Trent Jones design, hosted the West Virginia LPGA Classic for over a decade, so you know you're going to use every club in your bag.
You can play it anywhere from 5500 to over 7000 yards, something of a rarity for courses in the Mountain State. Keep in mind these are the hills of West Virginia when selecting how much of the course you want to try to chew off...
The other big boy was laid out by Arnold Palmer. The King himself even hit the first tee shot on the course upon its opening. While earth was undoubtedly moved to help find some green sites and tee boxes, both courses at least appear to follow the original contours of the land extremely well.
The Palmer Course can play much shorter if you desire at just 4200 yards from the forward tees, but still packs a punch from the tips at 6800 yards and change. The conditions on the Palmer seemed to be the best of the lot. It's not that anything was lacking with Jones' Course, but the bunkers and turf on the Palmer seemed superior vs. the Jones - perhaps due to nothing more than advancements in architecture between the two builds.
But we're not done yet...
Easily the shortest of the three 18-hole regulation courses on site, the Crispin Course would be considered by most to be a 'local course' instead of resort worthy. Our guess is that some golfers may even scoff at the top yardage of 5627 yards, lack of a big-name architect, think it isn't worth their time or effort and go find somewhere else to play a third round or replay one of the big boys across the street.
That'd be a mistake.
Crispin should be the last course you play here. Not because it's easier (it is), not because its cheaper (with a stay and play package it only carries a $15-$20 add on for your cart), but because it is like playing in a time warp. The guy that built this course (Robert Biery - please don't think we knew it, we Googled it) only built this course. He was a local guy that wanted to build a golf course.
Don't think this is just some grass cut to different lengths though. It was pretty clear to me that Mr. Biery played himself some golf in his day. It's got some hints of a Raynor-like (half) Punchbowl (seen at left on desktop/above on mobile) to go along some of the best views on the expansive property.
There's not a lot of bell-and-whistle here, but that's the fun of it. Where as the other two courses have upwards of near 100 bunkers combined, the Crispin course has just five. If the two courses at Speidel followed the land pretty well, this course takes it to another level. The greens aren't as fast, but they are smaller, encouraging the safe play to the tight space. All in all, it's just the right way to end your trip here.
Except of course for the nine hole Par III course. No pictures of the Par III survived the trip, mainly because it was an impulsive decision the morning of our departure. We maybe had a few bets to settle, so six of the eight of us that stuck around, drove over after our complimentary breakfast at the lodge (comp in that it was included in our package each morning) and found that there was no one there to take our money. So, all six of us took with us a putter, one club each and some cash to try and end the weekend on a high note, though most of us probably wish we had just hit the road when we had the chance. There isn't much to it, but if you are a course collector - you need all the help you can get!
I'm sure the hotels in town are the same as you see everywhere, but there's just something authentic about staying in a cabin, on-property no less - with all your group all together grilling out on charcoal, drinking beer and smoking cigars until the wee hours. Golf groups of 8 or more will find plenty of options at through Oglebay Stay & Play offerings.
This was the first trip we embarked on with this group. We left wanting to make it an annual event and created rules for trips based on our tremendous stay at Oglebay, like everyone having to stay together under one roof, no re-buys during no-limit Texas Hold-em and everyone shares in the dinner duties.
Our trip was meant to bring friends together and deepen bonds formed in our formative years. Oglebay was the perfect setting for such a reunion. We hope it is for you as well!
Pricing for what we had (taken from Oglebay's website based on 2018 pricing):
Eagle Weekend Package
ALL SEASON: Starting at $299 (March 23rd to October 27th)
Call 800.577.1289 to Book your Next Package!
Package includes: • One round on the Arnold Palmer Course • One round on the Robert Trent Jones Course • Friday/Saturday night lodging at Wilson Lodge (CRUSADER TIP: Groups 8+ can get golf cabins. Make sure you ask about it!) • Mountaineer Buffet Breakfast each morning • Bucket of range balls at the Speidel Driving Range • Crispin Course green fees based on availability. Golf cart not included.
In case you didn't get enough, here's more of the best from Oglebay!
JONES COURSE (Klieves)
Thanks for visiting! Feel free to check around the site and drop us a note using the form on the ABOUT page! Until then, keep it off the cart path.