The Olde Farm Golf Club is located at Bristol in southwest Virginia and the Bobby Weed-designed course opened for play in 2000.
Weed routed Olde Farm through a valley that was once a thoroughfare for Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War. The club is located close to the Mason-Dixon demarcation line and new club members are presented with a bag containing one blue and one grey marble which represent either the Union or Confederate uniform. Whichever coloured marble they blindly pick determines which team they represent in the Olde Farm Ryder Cup–style Blue/Grey competition each May. Olde Farm Golf Club’s founder and owner, coal-mining baron Jim McGlothlin, dreamed up the concept.
The front nine holes are both strong and strategic, starting with the 589-yard, par five 1st. A brace of lengthy par threes at holes 4 and 6 have then to be negotiated before tackling the 322-yard 8th, a right doglegged short par four offering several tee to green options.
If anything, the inward half plays even tougher with a trio of par fours forming the backbone of the back nine at holes 13, 16 and 17. Measuring over 440 yards from the back tees, each of these uncompromising holes demand long, straight striking of the golf ball.
“As a construction manager at Long Cove, Bobby Weed was my first boss,” said Tom Doak in The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses, “and this is his best solo design… The pastoral setting is dotted by farm structures, and you might even play your approach shot off a barn roof onto the 6th green.”
What can I say about The Olde Farm. This continues to be the standard that I rank courses by. Due to is small membership and exclusivity it gets little play. First the practice facility is outstanding with its spacious range and wooden baskets full of range balls.
The clubhouse is small and quaint and the staff is first class. They make you feel like you are the most important person on the property.
Let's get to the course, the 3 times I have been fortunate enough to play The Olde Farm, it has been in perfect shape.
#1 from the back (Medal) tees is a great hole to start your round-like most holes here, it a very what you see is what you get. The course gradually changes elevations as you move through your round.Take a minute to breathe it in when you are on the #3 tee box (one of the higher points on the property). #5 is a short but fun par 4. When you finish #6 don't pass up the opportunity to drive thru the rustic barn that houses a indoor putting green, simulator, a few card tables and a fully stocked 'help yourself' snack and beverage area. #8 is another short but challenging par 4.
On the back 9, the holes tend to get stronger with the layout and elevation. #16 is one of my favorite holes, the tee box is set back in the corner of the property, leaving you a great visual of the pound/marsh-you need to carry the first 100 yrds, to what appears to be a 20 ft wide fairway. #18 is 521yrd strong finishing hole. Should your match ends in a tie or just need one more hole, you can't pass up the #19-par 3.
The Olde Farm is one of my top 5 golf courses. If you ever get the invite to play DO NOT pass it up. If you do, contact me and I will take your place.