The former Golf Performance Center has transitioned into a golfer’s paradise, complete with a private hitting bay.
By Ashley Ryan
Back in the early 1990s, Sea Island was ahead of the game, offering new ways for athletes to enhance their performance on the course. “The original Golf Learning Center was a new vision in golf instruction, where a group of instructors would be based at a single facility rather than be a traveling roadshow like in years past,” says Craig Allan, the director of Sea Island’s current Golf Performance Center. “In 1995, the United States Golf Association actually recognized the Golf Learning Center as the first of its kind in the USA.”
The center was designed by Jack Lumpkin, who serves as senior director of instruction at Sea Island. Lumpkin was also a close friend to Davis Love Jr., who originally dreamt up the Golf Learning Center but passed away before seeing his vision come to fruition. Allan says that the center was a place for those of all skill levels to go to work on their game with instruction and assistance from prominent, high-level instructors.
Despite various renovations over the years, the program eventually outgrew its space next to the driving range. “A few years ago, it became clear that what had now evolved into the Golf Performance Center was just not able to be reconfigured any further to meet the needs of our world-class team of golf instruction specialists and, in turn, service our students at the level we felt was appropriate.”
The decision was made to build a new center a few hundred feet down the driving range, leaving the resort to determine a new use for the old facility. “A building with such great history and [a] prime location should not be lost. And so it was decided to reconfigure the building one more time,” Allan notes.
Now, the structure has been converted to the commanding 4,200-square-foot King Cottage, named for the family that once owned the land that it is located on. First opened during The RSM Classic that took place at Sea Island in November of last year, the cottage serves as a dream getaway for golfers and nongolfers alike.
Deemed a “super cottage” by Director of Golf Brannen Veal, the King Cottage features four bedrooms, an open great room and a full kitchen with dining space. The modern accommodations are further enhanced by hardwood floors, marble bathrooms, iron light fixtures and paintings crafted by local artists that give the cottage a comfortable feel. It also features a private indoor hitting bay, which allows those staying at the cottage to strike balls toward the adjacent driving range. Plus, the prominent Southern-style porch with views of the Atlantic serves as an ideal space to relax.
The cottage is set only a short distance from The Lodge, Sea Island’s main golf retreat, but ensures that members and guests have their own area to relax. “I think it offers a little more privacy,” Veal says. “… You’ve got a living area to be around other people, whether it’s family or friends or whoever it may be. It gives you an opportunity to be together without having to go outside.” It remains within convenient walking distance of eateries like the Colt & Alison steakhouse or the rustic Oak Room tavern, though the King Cottage also offers the option of personal chef services as well as butler service.
With the state-of-the-art Golf Performance Center mere steps away, private lessons or training sessions can also be arranged.
“It’s a golfer’s paradise to be able to walk directly out onto the range, directly over to the putting green or the practice greens, and even the golf course itself, so the proximity is fantastic,” Veal says. “… I think it really is the ultimate golf buddy cottage.”