THE PUBLIC GOLF COURSES
Opening in 2007 and built on 1.5 million tons of utility fly ash to create a semblance of elevations in the dead flat low land swamps of Chesapeake. The fairways have nice modern flow with sizable contouring and plenty of bunkering and grassy hollows. Most of the fill material was used to create the mounding between holes and build up the slightly elevated greens. The greens have some nice undulation but you won't find any tiering on these very small greens. There are a few spots where your might have up to forty feet of elevations but most of the course rolls and swails gently. The idea behind this course was to bring a links style course to the area full of Carolina style courses. The wind is usually a factor but perhaps not as much as if the course were actually on the ocean. For a links style course, there is a lot of water to contend with. Eight holes have large lakes or small ponds which must be carried or played around. Don't be fooled by the yardage, it is a par 70 not a par 72 and plenty long. Being so new, there is still a lot of growing in to do but good values can be had and the greens are very nice for such a young course.
Architect Bobby Holcomb (2008) Par: 70
Yardage 6192 · 5869 · 5420 · 5024
Rating/Slope 70.8/128 · 69.1/125 · 66.6/121 · 67.9/125
Address: 1001 Centerville Turnpike, Chesapeake, VA 23322
Telephone 757.409.1358 Web: www.playthebattlefield.com
BAY CREEK - NICKLAUS COURSE
A great contrast to the Palmer Course. Superb routing where placement will pay dividends, on the provoking par 5s. The sea side holes are a bear. The massively uphill par 5 eleventh usually plays 2 extra clubs to the pedestal green with the wind howling from behind. The par 4 thirteenth is a monkey puzzle of a hole. It sits directly on the ocean and plays in between dunes which seem to narrow to nothing. There is a green up there somewhere hidden in the dunes. Full practice facility. Semi-private since it alternates public access with members. One of the two Bay Creek courses is always open to the public.
Architect: Jack Nicklaus (2006) Par: 72
Yardage: 7417 · 6789 · 6456 · 6091 · 5244
Rating/Slope: 76.78/144 · 73.9/137 · 72.5/135 · 70.7/128 · 68.7/124
Address: 1 Marina Village Circle, Cape Charles, VA 23310
Telephone: 757.331.8620 Web: www.baycreekresort.com
Quality Rating: 10/10 Value Rating: 7/10
BAY CREEK - PALMER COURSE
The number one handicap hole par 4 third hole can crush your enthusiasm early. Not only must you get your tee shot far enough to have a reasonable approach over the seaside lagoon, the green is surround on both sides by trouble. The par 5 eighteenth is probably the best and most spectacular finishing hole in the region. A straight tee shot down the middle, but not to long, will leave a gamblers chance to get home in two over the water and the menacing beach bunkers. Playing a little right of the green might yield a fortunate bounce onto the putting surface. Full practice facility. Semi-private since it alternates public access with members. One of the two Bay Creek courses is always open to the public.
Architect: Arnold Palmer (2001) Par: 72
Yardage: 7250 · 6832 · 6328 · 5687 · 5195
Rating/Slope: 75.2/142 · 73.2/132 · 70.8/130 · 67.7/120 · 69.8/119
Address: 1 Clubhouse Way, Cape Charles, VA 23310
Telephone: 757.331.8620 Web: www.baycreekresort.com
You might not expect a course with a silly name located in the working class neighborhood's of south Portsmouth to be of championship caliber. But here it is. The Scottish name means to "stay a while." Whenever Ault, Clark & Assoc. join with Curtis Strange for a project, you can bet lots of people do stay a while. The underlying terrain was not remarkable and flat. But this design team utilized the old corridors from the old course, saved the majestic pines and oaks, dug nine lakes and ponds and rebuilt this thing from the ground up. The result is a wonderfully modern and playable design. The fairways have been reworked to provide some undulation and fine drainage. Around 50 bunkers and waste areas always give you something to think about. And the slightly elevated greens complexes feature grassy hollows and expertly placed mounding. There is always a good side and bad side to miss your approach on. You just won't get bored here and with a reasonable price, you will be back.
Architect : Fred Findlay (1956) Ault, Clark & Assoc w/ Curtis Strange (1999) Par : 72
Yardage : 6940 · 6380 · 5860 · 4944
Rating/Slope : 73.5/130 · 71.0/126 · 68.5/121 · 68.8/113
Address : 1 Bide-A-Wee Dr., Portsmouth, VA 23701
Sort of an under appreciated local muny course. Very short.
Architect: Fred Sappenfield Par: 70
Yardage: 5917 · 5593 · 5181
Rating/Slope: 67.9/120 · 66.3/116 · 69.1/112
Address: 3425 Clubhouse Rd., Virginia Beach, VA 23452
A nice effort at a Scottish style links course where they really moved a lot of dirt here to create wonderful separation, mounding and plateaued greens. Without trees and a flat canvas, they needed to do that to give the course character. We would say they succeeded. Even the fairways have significant undulations and you may find yourself behind a fairway swale with a partial obstructed view as they like to do in the old world. This is a good course for the driver with lots room and some risk reward out there. The par 5 eighteenth hole will be one to remember. One of the few course with tee to green bent grass. Even for most of the offseason the course stays green.
Architect: Ault, Clark & Assoc. Par: 72
Yardage: 7141 · 6456 · 5871 · 4929
Rating/Slope: 85.1/139 · 71.4/131 · 68.8/123 · 69.3/120
Address: 1501 Cahoon Parkway, Chesapeake, VA 23322
Telephone: 757.436.2775 Web: www.cahoonplantation.com
One of the Hampton Roads courses, sister courses to Cypress Point Country Club, Honey Bee Golf Club, Stumpy Lake Golf Club, Lake Wright Golf Course, Lambert's Point Golf Club & Owl's Creek Golf Club. Semi-private. The golf course features several strategically placed water hazards and unique doglegs that present a wonderful challenge.
Architect: Ellis Maples (1986) Par: 71
Yardage: 6184 · 5694 · 4957 · 4776
Rating/Slope: 70.0/123 · 67.5/120 · 64.5/105 · 68.1/116
Address: 1201 Clubhouse Dr., Chesapeake, VA 23322
Telephone: 757.547.1122 Web: www.hamptonroadsgolf.com
One of the most scenic courses in the area with lots of elevations changes, lagoons, marsh views and tall strands of pine and hardwoods mixed with holes rolling over old peanut fields. Definitely the best local effort by Curtis Strange and company. There is some modest housing on the course, particularly the front side, but it really does not detract from the course. The course builds to a crescendo with six finishing holes as tough a stretch as you'll find in the area. Holes 15, 16 and 17 are some of the most photogenic holes your will find in the area, not just in design, but is the pure nature surrounding them. Finishing with a strong par 5 with vast bunkers and sentry trees tops the experience.
Architect: Ault, Clark & Assoc. and Curtis Strange Par: 72
Yardage:7156 · 6573 · 6015 · 5136
Rating/Slope: 74.5/134 · 71.2/130 · 69.7/126 · 69.1/118
Address: 600 Cypress Creek Parkway, Smithfield, VA 23430
Formerly a private course that now allows both public and membership play. A lot of effort was put into this golf course to make it one of the higher end venues in town. For a golf course manufactured from the ground up, they did a great job. Extensive mounding and shaping was necessary to give this flat terrain some character. Every hole has a good sense of flow. You won't find many straight tee shot and working the ball off the tee is helpful. These generous and meandering fairways are framed in by the mounds, thoughtful bunkering and lots of strategic trees. The medium sized greens complexes are very sophisticated. Besides the good bit of slope on the putting surfaces, they are protected by an array of defenses. The bunkers, hollows, collection areas and elevation from the fairway, all work against your efforts toward par. The big negative here is the countless houses around the holes. Fortunately, they are set back sufficiently and the O.B. does not come up to much. But the housing lines almost every holes, and once in a while both sides, which is a big design faux pas. With all the natural marshes and inlets around, its unfortunate that we only see some nature on the sixteenth and seventeenth hole. All the holes present themselves nicely except the quirky sixteenth. It is a short par four where something between your irons and driver is all that is needed in order to set up an nice wedge in. It looks a little claustrophobic off the tee with the marsh on the right and homes on the left, all hemmed in with overhanging trees. But the landing area open up nicely, just don't try to shave off the corner. There are not a lot of high end public courses in the north end of Virginia Beach, so it is good to have one here.
Architect: Tom Clark Par: 72
Yardage: 6541 · 6072 · 5738 · 5248
Rating/Slope: 71.1/124 · 68.8/120 · 67.2/115 · 70.3/119
Address: 5340 Club Head Rd., Virginia Beach, VA 23455
Telephone: 757.490.8822 Web: http://www.hamptonroadsgolf.com/cypresspoint/
THE HAMPTONS - 27 holes (WOODS/LAKES/LINKS)
Owned and operated by the City of Hampton, north of Virginia Beach and Norfolk, across the Hampton Roads Bay.
Architect: Michael Hurdzan Par:
Address: 320 Butler Farm Road, Hampton, VA 23666
Telephone: 757.766.9148 Web: www.hampton.gov/thehamptons
Most of the courses in the area have a lowland feel. Hell's Point goes one step further, it definitely provides the unique feeling of solitude in the Virginia swamps, but in a good way. The course has a lot of natural beauty with the surpisingly wide Hell's Point Creek dissecting the course and the mature swamp pines framing every hole. No housing in sight anywhere. This 1982 strategic design is showing its age a bit and the contouring is somewhat under whelming compared to bigger shouldered modern projects. However, the test provided remains very strong. The only real elevations come from the tee boxes and greens which are just a few feet above the medium wide fairways that have just a little ebb and roll. Sixty one bunkers guide play across the fairway which sit about a foot or two above the surrounding runoff areas. The runoff areas are the remnants of the swampy lowland and not only aid in course definition, they aid in drainage and provide a suitable growing environment for the swamp pines. The course design has a nice mix of gentle doglegs, cape holes around large lakes, strategic par 5s and beautiful par 3s. The greens are medium sized with some mild undulation. While not as flashy as more contemporary designs, it still can hold its own in a peaceful environment. You might be tempted on the short par four 13th to hit driver but water is all down the left and it is hard to see that it really pinches in at around 125 yards in. Play here is during the hottest days of the summer is not for the faint of heart.
Architect: Rees Jones (1982) Par: 72
Yardage: 6766 · 6030 · 5624 · 5003
Rating/Slope: 73.3/130 · 69.7/122 · 67.9/118 · 71.2/116
Address: 2700 Atwoodtown Rd., Virginia Beach, VA 23456
Telephone: 757.721.3400 Web: www.hellspoint.com
Fred Couples does not have a whole lot of courses in his design inventory but what he has are all exciting tracks with unique routing and extensive bunkering. You will find it all here plus a lot of manufactured elevations. Beware of the downhill par 3 fifteenth. Short is bad, but long is death with a steep drop off to water.
Architect: Fred Couples and Gene Bates (1999) Par: 72
Yardage: 7017 · 6479 · 6044 · 5458 · 5011
Rating/Slope: 73.9/131 · 71.4/125 · 69.0/118 · 66.3/111 · 68.5/111 2973
Address: Heron Ridge Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23456
Telephone: 757-426-3800 Web: www.heronridge.com
Apparently the name was given by the wife of the developer. Much of the course is within the tight confines of a housing development.
Architect: Rees Jones (1988) Par: 70
Address: 2500 South Independence Blvd., Virginia Beach, VA 23456
Telephone: 757.471.2768 Web: www.golfhamptonroads.net
Operated by the ampton Roads Golf Clubs association which is a partnership with local government.
Architect: John Kelly (1951) Ellis Maples (1985) Par: 70
Yardage: 5843 · 5524 · 4877 · 4475
Rating/Slope: 68.3/122 · 66.5/120 · 63.1/108 · 65.3/109
Address: 4840 Princess Anne Rd., Virginia Beach, VA 23462
Architect: Ault, Clark & Assoc (1989) Par: 72
Yardage: 6888 · 6357 · 5897 · 5316
Rating/Slope: 73.4/139 · 70.4/125 · 68.8/121 · 69.5/19
Address: 1003 Brick Kiln Blvd., Newport News, VA 23602
This 1966 muny layout is usually in below average condition but has some good rates. This might have been cutting edge fifty years ago but is now a prime candidate for renovations. Hopefully they will do to it what they did to Bide-A-Wee and Red Wing and soon. The pros are the course plays entirely around the rather large Lake Wright and is unencumbered by residential housing. The only elevations come from the few feet in areas flowing toward the lake. The cons are the fairways are dead flat, the pushed up bunkers and greens do little to inspire, the fairways are barely differentiated and the design fails to take full advantage of the lake. Just to many negatives to recommend unless you are desperate. The range is sub par as well.
Architect Al Jamison (1966) Par: 70
Yardage: 6189 · 5884 · 5146
Rating/Slope: 69.3/116 · 67.9/112 · 68.2/105
Address: 6282 Northampton Blvd., Norfolk, VA 23502
Telephone: 757.459.2255 Web: www.hamptonroadsgolf.net
This is not your regular executive course but
rather how every executive course should
be. In fact, it is better than most middle
tier full scale courses. It was built on a
landfill behind Old Dominion University and is
entirely bordered by the industrial waterfront of
Norfolk and the Elizabeth River. Take an
eyesore and turn it into a refuge for man and
animals, this is a good idea. It is a modern
links style course with 60 foot high hills and
unique holes. No course within an hour's drive has
anything even close to this much elevation.
Undulated fairways peppered with bunkers
framed by high mounds of fescue grasses
all leading to sophisticated greens complexes. Two
par 5s, three par 4s and four par 3s.
Playing the course more than once might help since
you often find yourself wondering what club to hit
to the landing zone and where to aim when your are
confronted with a semi-blind shot obscured by the
high mounds. Missing a fairway or green can be
costly where often one side steeply falls off,
sometimes right into the water. It is most
certainly a shot makers course. Having a bunch of
par 3s can slow play when the golf traffic is up,
but you will be able to take in this very unique
scenery of he waterfront shipping, docks, refineries and
industrial Norfolk. If you want to get in a quick
nine, this is your place. A first rate
practice facility to work on all aspects of your game
is also available.
Architect: Lester George (2007) Par: 34/33
Yardage: 2789 · 2500 · 2197 · 1846
Rating/Slope: 33.7/113 · 32.4/107 · 31.3/101 · 30.5/99
Address: 4301 Powhatan Ave., Norfolk, VA 2358
Telephone: 757.489.1677 Web: www.lambertspointgolf.com
LINKS AT CITY PARK
Nine hole executive course along the waters of the west branch of the Elizabeth River in Portsmouth. Driving range available.
Architect: Thomas Clark (1919) Ault, Clark Assoc. (2000?) Par: 30
Yardage: 1846 Rating/Slope: 30/94
Address: 5 City Park Ave., Portsmouth, VA 23701
Telephone: 757.465.1500 Web: www.visitportsva.com/recreation.html
A drop dead gorgeous course featuring expansive marsh views and uniquely laid out holes. Most of the elevations come from the high bluffs overlooking the Nansemond River with its basin coming into play most of the day. The course eases you into your round but quickly picks up speed and difficulty by the third hole. The only slight blemish on the course comes at holes eight and nine where housing is a little tight along the right hand side. Be very careful here since O.B. demarcates the backyards of these homes. This is especially true on the par 5 ninth where hitting driver not only brings the houses in play on the right, but a large pond on the left. Many a golfer have found the water hazard trying to avoid the housing. The conventional wisdom is to tee off with a control club and take the water out of play then play the hole as a true three shot par 5. The unique par 5 thirteenth is a brute of a long hole requiring a good tee shot cutting off just enough of the marsh running down the entire right side to shorten the hole a bit. This hole has two total separate green complexes so be sure you know which one you are playing to before you take your second shot. Preferably, know this before you tee off at the beginning of the day. The par 4 seventeenth requires an accurate tee shot to a blind landing zone just over a knob in the fairway. You absolutely need a tee shot that sets up a short iron since the green is virtually an island with no bailout area. A definite round killer. Full range.
Architect: Tom Steele (1999) Par: 72
Yardage: 7337 · 6725 · 6292 · 5612 · 5171
Rating/Slope: 75.2/136 · 72.5/130 · 70.5/126 · 67.8/119
Address: 1000 Hill Point Rd., Suffolk, VA 23434
Telephone: 757.539.4356 Web:www.nansemondrivergolfclub.com
NEWPORT NEWS - DEER RUN
Architect: Ed Ault Par: 72
Rating/Slope:Address: 901 Clubhouse Way, Newport News, VA 23608
Quality Rating: ?/10 Value Rating: ?/10
NEWPORT NEWS - DEER RUN
Architect: Ed Ault Par: 72
Rating/Slope:Address: 901 Clubhouse Way, Newport News, VA 23608
In 2000, the entire course underwent a $2.8 million redesign including rebuilding all 18 greens. With an name like Ocean View you might be disappointed that while only two blocks from the ocean, it has no view of the ocean. You can tell this used to be a dog track where they tried hard to make a respectable course in this compact area. In most regards, they succeeded. The fairways have a hint of just enough undulation for drainage even though the entire plot is dead flat. Most holes are separated by a thin line of mature trees that have been saved from the old course. The course really shines around the greens and it's bunkering. A lot of ground was moved to give them a nice modern feel. The twenty bunkers not only direct the line of play but provide a great deal of the positive aesthetic effect. The other main feature here are the two long lakes which come into play along the fairways of four holes. Keep in mind that this is a par 70 with three relatively short par 5s. Because of that, it plays about 300 yards longer than the total yardage on the card when compared to a par 72. No housing and easy to walk.
Architect: John Kelly and Fred Bingham (1929) redesign (2000) Par: 70
Yardage: 6011 · 5615 · 5062 · 5005
Rating/Slope: 69.2/119 · 66.9/115 · 64.4/105 · 66.7/113
Address: 9610 Norfolk Ave., Norfolk, VA 23503
Telephone: 757.480.2094 Web: www.oceanviewgc.com
Two par 5s and four par 4s. Basically an executive course.
Architect: Brook Parker Par: 62
Address: 411 South Birdsneck Rd., Virginia Beach, VA 23451
RED WING LAKE
The original 1968 George Cobb design got a major
renovation and reopened in 2007 to high acclaim.
The splendid renovation followed many of the same
routings but clearance of trees and the addition of
contouring has made this a local and
visitor favorite This is how a muny
track should be. Modern holes and sophisticated
green complexes, yet easy to walk. Not overly
penal but plenty challenge for any level golfer.
They even managed to manufacture a bit of
elevation which is surprising so close to the
ocean. While the holes are a little close to each
other, they are all separated by thick mature tree
strands of big pines and thoughtful contouring so you
never feel cramped. The course has a
natural feel and a good portion borders
a nature preserve. Bald Eagles are known to nest
here and witnessing one flying down your
fairway is more impressive than the navy aircraft
on maneuvers overhead from the nearby base.
The price is very reasonable for this type of
quality. The only knock on the course is the
very heavy play it gets and 5 hour rounds are
common in peak season.
Architect: George Cobb (1968) Kevin Tucker (2007) Par: 72
Yardage: 7124 · 6653 · 6133 · 5601 · 4841
Rating/Slope: 73.9/129 · 71.9/125 · 69.3/115 · 66.5/109 · 67.2/108
Address: 1144 Prosperity Rd., Virginia Beach, VA 23451
Telephone: 757.437.2037 Web: www.redwinglakegolf.com
A design that takes advantage of the natural underlying terrain while imposing modern features upon the abundant riverfront holes, marshes and moderate elevations. Plenty of natural beauty makes the drive west of Norfolk worth while. The front side plays a bit more through housing than the back, but the housing is sufficiently withdrawn. A repeating strategic feature here are the dissecting marshes the force you to decide whether to lay up or attempt a carry.
Architect: Tom Doak (1999) Par: 72
Rating/Slope: 72.5/129 · 70.3/126 · 68.0/119 · 69.7/117
Address: 5200 River Club Drive, Suffolk, VA 23435
Telephone: 757.484.2200 Web: www.riverfrontgolf.com
SIGNATURE AT WESTNECK
Perhaps the most
upscale course near the beach and central Virginia
Beach. Big splashy bunkers guard the serious
greens complexes. Position on approaches is
critical. Missing greens on the wrong side usually
leads to a delicate pitch over a deep
bunker if not in a bunker. The par 5s are
fantastic here and all culminate in risk reward
greens. The course does lie in a large upscale
residential neighborhood but thankfully, the homes
are set back a good bit from the wide fairways.
Where the course lacks in nature and solitude, it
makes up for in design features and
Architect: Arnold Palmer (2002)
Par: 72 Yardage: 7010 · 6569 · 6072 · 5502 · 5012
Rating/Slope: 73.8/135 · 71.2/126 · 69.3/122 · 66.6/117 · 71.0/121
Address: 3100 Arnold Palmer Dr., Virginia Beach, VA 23456
Telephone: 757.721.2900 Web: www.signatureatwestneck.com
Renovations in 2003 took this old traditional style course into the modern era. While still not as eye popping as some of the other newer local tracts, there are a fine number of good holes here and virtually no housing. The update turned an ok course into a solid test with vastly improved conditions which takes advantage of the geographic gifts afforded here. The modern golfer will find plenty of challenge with nice moderate elevations, good routing and plenty of water hazards. The mile-wide Nansemond River borders the course and 18 plays right down along it to a green dangerously hanging against the marshy backwater.
Architect: Russell Breeden (1972) Tom Clark (2003)
Par: 72 Yardage: 7070 · 6566 · 5950· 5335 · 4945
Rating/Slope: 74.9/143 · 72.9/135 · 69.2/129 · 66.4/121 · 69.1/119
Address: 4700 Sleepy Hole Rd., Suffolk, VA 23435
Telephone: 757.538.4100 Web: www.sleepyholegolfcourse.com
We are not real sure about this one. Is it even open for play?
Architect: J.B. Harris
Par: 71 Yardage: 5917 · 5522 · 5070
Rating/Slope: 67.5/110 · 66.0/107
Address: 20081 Brewer's Neck Blvd, Smithfield, VA 23430
Telephone: 757.357.3101 Web:
The area has the potential for a decent
course with mature woods and marsh views but the
old school dead flat fairways are prone to
flooding and soggy conditions. This 1958 Robert
Trent Jones design does not portray the
genius he was known for. It was either an early effort
of his or he drew it up on a cocktail napkin as a lark.
Architect: Robert Trent Jones (1944) Par: 72
Address: 4797 Indian River Rd., Virginia Beach, VA 23456-1246
Telephone: 757.467.6119 Web: www.golfhamptonroads.net
Architect: Dick Wilson and Russell Breeden Par: 72
Yardage: 6340 · 6000 · 5700
Rating/Slope: 70.3/121 · 68.5/116 · 71.1/112
Address: 1227 Holland Rd., Suffolk, VA 23434
Telephone: 757.539.6298 Web:
VIRGINIA BEACH NATIONAL
Formerly the TPC of Virginia Beach and still the toughest test on the beach. Since the City of Virginia Beach took over from TPC, the price became far more reasonable. It is a sprawling complex with a lot of manufactured elevations and devoid of housing. Just pure, beautiful golf. Like most Pete Dye courses, he throws a lot at you. Terraced fairways, menacing bunkers, shot defeating waste areas, holes playing into the teeth of the wind, demanding tee shots and tricky greens, all stand ready to test your metal. Check your ego at the door at this place, take if for what it is, and thoroughly enjoy a test fit for professionals.
Architect: Pete Dye Par: 72
Yardage: 7436 · 7002 · 6535 · 6129 · 5314
Rating/Slope: 76.2/142 · 74.1/137 · 72.0/129 · 70.1/125 · 70.7/119
Address: 2500 Tournament Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23456
Telephone: 757.563.9440 Web: www.vbnational.com
This misnomer really comes from the street its on, not the few patches of trees along four holes. Poorly shaped fairways and greens complexes with mump like bunkering. If you are across the bridge in Hampton, it might be worth the little coin you pay, but there are far better options nearer to the beach.
Architect: Par : 69
Yardage : 5391 · 4990 · 4467 · 4154
Rating/Slope : 65.9/113 · 63.8/109 · 62.0/105 · 62.9/106
Address: 9 Woodland Road, Hampton, VA 23663
Telephone: 757. 727.1195 Web: www.hampton.gov/thewoodlands
Quality Rating: 3/10 Value Rating: 4/10
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