The James River was one of the first named by English visitors to the new world, and perhaps mindful of this fact, the originators at James River Country Club elected local James McMenamin to design the club’s first course during 1931.
It’s a route that remained in use for more than 60 years, however the past 30 have seen a flurry of action. First Virginian Lester George reworked the course during the ‘90s and then John LaFoy handled a more complete overhaul during 2008. Although the McMenamin routing remains, the course was improved to satisfy the needs of both environmental advocates and modern players, who had been overpowering the former course (the updated version is still rather member friendly, having been extended only to around 6,600 yards).
The hole that everybody talks about is No. 18, both for its strength and for bringing the club’s title river into play. Much of the course is set inland but players spend this 550 yards heading toward a green settled above the membership’s beach along the salty river. Although true water hazards exist on the property, they come from irrigation ponds, not the mighty James.