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A Pair of Kings

The last thing you would ever call Arnold Palmer is wooden. So go figure that two of his latest layouts, the Signature at West Neck in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and the Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course at the new Stonewall Resort near Weston, West Virginia, sport nearly identical oaken Arnies, each in his signature free-swinging follow-through and squinting to watch a ball that will never land. Prior to our recent test drives at his new tracks, the King told T&L Golf that these totems aren't all the pair has in common.

"I find them both commendable courses," Palmer said. "With its location in the mountains of West Virginia, Stonewall is particularly nice. West Neck is in more of a beach-type area, and we put a lot of undulation into what was a flat piece of property. It turned out beautifully."

West Neck is muscular, too, despite topping out at just over 7,000 yards. Treacherous "beach bunkers" receding directly into lakes figure on eight of the fourteen water holes. The menace of the two brutish finishers, a 562-yard par five followed by a 451-yard par four, is tempered as elsewhere by magnificent landscaping. A mini-Eden of roses, azaleas and other botanical lovelies around the property will happily pull even the most engaged golfer off the scent.

Stonewall needed no such assist, its sylvan splendor bestowed by Earth's original developer. A spectacular setting makes even the mundane memorable: A plain dogleg like the 424-yard ninth becomes a postcard hole when framed by sumptuous mountain cleavage. The front side often brings Stonewall Jackson Lake into play; the back stars three cloud-scraping holes that make it hard to obey golf's cardinal rule—keeping your head down risks missing too much scenery. Stonewall and the Signature at West Neck should mature into crown jewels of Palmer's kingdom.
—Chris Rodell

Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course at Stonewall Resort. Greens Fees: $60-$75. Tee Times: 888-278-8150 or visit stonewallresort.com. Nearby: The Lakeview Resort & Spa, Lakeview course (53 miles; 800-624-8300). Signature at West Neck. Greens Fees: $40-$71. Tee Times: 757-721-2900 or visit signatureatwestneck.com. Nearby: The TPC of Virginia Beach (5 miles; 757-563-9440).

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