Playing with Horse Sense at Griffin Gate Golf Club

Lexington, Kentucky and its outlying reaches are known for four things – Wildcats, horses, bourbon and green. That last color is everywhere from the rolling hills to the endless pastures of horse farms to the money the previous three Kentucky specialties bring home.

The Griffin Gate Marriott Resort and Spa sits amidst all of that rolling viridian, offering a popular home base for travelers experiencing everything from horse races at Keeneland to the region’s major distillery tours like Maker’s Mark and Woodford Reserve. Tucked away behind the hotel is one of the area’s best golf courses, the Griffin Gate Golf Club.

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Designed by Reese Jones, the course recently underwent a renovation and is now in pristine order. Griffin Gate once hosted a popular Senior Tour event, however the introduction of course side housing took away the course’s practice range facilities — and a range is a tournament hosting requirement.

That left the course to the enjoyment of locals and travelers eager to enjoy the bluegrass countryside while testing their skills on what is essentially a big, friendly and welcoming park style course. Its renovation made it even more inviting to the average player, allowing him or her to make a mistake or two and still enjoy a round.

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The Griffin Gate fairways are wide, the hazards infrequent and the hole lengths reasonable. The greens crew deserves credit for keeping the course looking great between Kentucky’s hot, humid summers and surprisingly cold winters.

While you may have heard of the green, rolling hills of this southern state, you won’t find too many of them at Griffin Gate. It’s a flat track and as far removed from the hilly links experience as you can imagine.

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A round at Griffin Gate passes quickly and pleasantly with even a mid-handicapper able to score well. And, it doesn’t hurt that the adjoined Marriott Hotel offers a restaurant, full bar and spa for after round recovery.