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August 13, 2009

Golf Getaway: MGM Grand at Foxwoods

If you're looking for a venue that is as prepared to host a raucous bachelor party as it is a romantic weekend stay, then look no further than the MGM Grand at Foxwoods. Vegas-style fun is closer than you think if you live in the Northeast.

Nestled in the scenic countryside of Ledyard, Conn., the MGM Grand is a recent addition to Foxwoods, which was originally established as a high-stakes bingo hall by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation in 1986. That modest hall has since expanded to comprise the largest casino in the world, with 340,000 feet of gaming space (50,000 of which are in the MGM Grand's casino) and more than 40,000 visitors every day.6a00d8341caaef53ef0120a537680d970c

But Foxwoods is not only about gambling; it's home to two of New England's finest championship golf courses: Lake of Isles North and South. While the South course is private, the North course is open to the public, both as a daily-fee course and to guests of the resort. It was included in GOLF Magazine's most recent ranking of the Top 100 Courses You Can Play.

The 2005 Rees Jones design is a true test at  more than 7,300 yards from the tips. It features several island tees and greens, and tons of elevation. While I really enjoyed the picturesque views, you definitely want to be accurate off the tee because the rough presents a real challenge if you lack Tiger-like forearms. Case in point: The hazard on the 18th hole can be a real devil, so I recommend keeping the driver in the bag if you can afford the loss of distance.

I was feeling a bit wound up after my round, so I decided to book an appointment for a sports massage at G Spa, the MGM Grand's 21,000-square-foot oasis. I'd never had a deep-tissue massage before, so I didn't really know what to expect –- the "re-training" of lazy muscles calls for some really tough love on the table, but I was certainly loosened up for the night ahead. If you're not in the mood for a treatment, there's also a great outdoor pool at your disposal, and plenty of room around the grounds to roam and relax.

After my experience at the spa, it was time to think about dinner. The concierge pointed me to David Burke Prime. One medium filet and lobster tail later, I was really glad that I heeded his advice. The contemporary steakhouse offers an expansive wine menu (and one of the most gigantic wine cellars you've ever seen), and the cuts of meat are hand-picked from Creekstone Farms in Kentucky and dry-aged in an impressive on-site salt-tiled aging room.

For a night out with friends, Shrine is perhaps a better option. Kevin Long, the executive chef, does a beautiful job with the menu of Pan-Asian cuisine, and a shared meal of several exquisite appetizers will leave you as satisfied as a full entrée (you can't go wrong with the Lobster Rangoons and the Fried Calamari Crunch). If you're not ready to leave after dinner, you don't have to –- you can head downstairs to keep the party going at Shrine's Lounge and Nightclub.

For a quick weekend getaway, the MGM Grand at Foxwoods really delivered with great golf, dining and entertainment. If you want to go too, check out this deal: Beginning at $209 per person per night (based on double occupancy), you can book the Foxwoods Golf Package at Lake of Isles, which includes:

-One night's accommodation
-18 holes at the Lake of Isles North Course
- Unlimited use of the practice facility
- One sleeve of Callaway golf balls and a Lake of Isles golf towel
- $15 Foxwoods Food & Beverage voucher (redeemable at Junior's if you stay at the MGM)
- A complimentary drink at Shrine or The Scorpion Bar
- All applicable taxes and service charges included

The package is available through Oct. 31, 2009. To book the Foxwoods Golf Package, call the Lake of Isles Concierge at 888-475-3746.

Photo: No. 17 on the Lake of Isles North Course
Credit: Lake of Isles Golf Course, MGM Grand at Foxwoods

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