In honor of "50 Days of Love," we’re exploring the top five ranked golf courses in Virginia.
For the golfers of Virginia by the golfers of Virginia, the Virginia Golf Ratings Panel has issued their third annual Top 50 rankings of Virginia’s golf courses. These rankings are based on a study conducted of an almost 50-member panel of Virginia residents who have a knowledge of golf course design, as well as a passion and appreciation of the game.
While the rankings are not an exact science, Kevin Brafford, the Executive Director of Virginia Golf Ratings Panel, says, “Our mission is to recognize excellence in course design and operations through competitive annual rankings that promote golf in the Commonwealth. Our desire is to have these rankings stimulate interest and conversation.”
The voters were asked to rate only the courses they have played (Virginia has over 300 courses; therefore, there was a wide variety of choices) and rank them on the following factors: course design, routing, strategy, fairness, shot values, memorability, and aesthetics.
Below are the top five picks, so grab your clubs and let's check them out!
Courtesy of Omnihotels.com
Par: 70 | Yardage: 6,873
The Omni Homestead’s Cascades Course is voted No. 1 yet again. Considered the best mountain course in the country, the Cascades was designed by prominent course architect William S. Flynn. Golfers can enjoy this unconventional and challenging course which is set against the splendid Allegheny Mountains. Legendary golfer Sam Snead was born in Hot Springs and launched his career at this renowned golf course. In homage to his contribution to the sport, the road upon which the resort is located is named after him – Sam Snead Highway.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Homestead is the oldest resort in America, celebrating its 250th anniversary in 2016. Therefore, after a day of golf, take a step back in time and enjoy pure luxury with amazing spas, traditionally decorated and lavish rooms, iconic hot springs, restaurants, libraries, and so much more. This is not only the No. 1 voted golf course, but an amazing golf getaway.
2. The Olde Farm: Bristol
Courtesy of Links.com
Par: 70 | Yardage: 7,119
The Olde Farm was voted No. 2 in this survey because of its location in the southwestern foothills of Virginia. With views of the Clinch Mountains, this place is truly an escape from the real world. The expertly and thoughtfully planned-out course was the vision of owner James McGlothlin, a coal-mining mogul, golf lover, and philanthropist whose goal was to create a refuge for friends to gather and play golf. McGlothlin enlisted course architect Bobby Weed to execute his vision. The course’s route was deliberately designed in the valley alongside the hills rather than up and over them to promote walkability while enjoying the natural beauty of the historic land. Dedicated to escaping the stressors of everyday life while enjoying golf in a magnificent environment, the Olde Farm is an established golf refuge.
Courtesy of GolfDigest.com
Par: 72 | Yardage: 7,203
Selected as No. 3 on the list, the Kinloch golf course offers a traditional and wide open area on a lush and beautiful property. When it opened in 2001, Golf Digest named it “Best New Private Club in America.” That is quite the recognition for a new golf club. Designed by Lester George, the open corridors allow adequate tee shot areas while the rolling landscape creates a variety of shots. However, don’t let this open course fool you; there are hazard features throughout – such as tactful bunkering and a 70-acre lake which will keep you on the tip of your soft-spiked toes. As a bonus, there is a 19th hole on the walk back to the clubhouse. Who doesn’t like one last shot?
Courtesy of Links.com
Par: 72 | Yardage: 7,025
The Virginian is a distinctive course situated with beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The epitome of Southern tradition, it melds itself naturally with the land. Designed in the early 1990s by multi-award-winning architect Tom Fazio, whose philosophy is that “golf courses should reflect the natural beauty of their environments,” the Virginian features a harmonious transition from the existing topographical conditions of lush rolling hilltops, where the fairways are wide, and the lush greens offer golfers of varying skill-sets a challenging yet enjoyable experience. It is obvious: the fourth choice on this list is due to both the love of golf and the traditional Southern countryside.
Courtesy of Golf Advisor.com
Par: 70 | Yardage: 6,766
Farmington Country Club is the fifth-rated course in this survey. The original architect, Fred Findlay, used the colonial architecture, beautifully planted grounds, and views of the Blue Ridge Mountains as the background for the original North and South Nine course in 1927. He took what the land gave him and made a great course out of it. The diversity of the holes is excellent in terms of elevation changes, doglegs, and length. In 1965, the East and Nine was designed by Fred Findlay’s grandson, Buddy Loving. However, even Farmington cannot stand par for the course. Keeping an eye on the future, while preserving Farmington’s history, the East and Nine was recently renovated into a unique 10-hole course by world-renowned Coore & Crenshaw. The newly renovated course is ideal for all levels of golfers to have a fun, exciting, and challenging experience in less than two hours.
To see the complete list of top 50 golf courses in Virginia, click here.
Do you agree with how the panel voted and ranked these courses? Have you played any of these? If so, don't forget to leave us your thoughts in the comments!