2002 Twisted Gun Road,
West Virginia (WV) 25651,
- +1 304 664 9100
No website available
5 miles N of Wharncliffe
Twisted Gun Golf Club is one of the more off-the-beaten path golf options in West Virginia, located in the far southwest corner of the state, near the border with Kentucky. It’s even a somewhat isolated internet experience, featuring no website to provide further information for potential visitors.
What we know is that it was created by Mark Nicewonder, and it’s the only 18-hole golf course in the surrounding tri-county area, due to the region’s extreme terrain. Twisted Gun became possible because it was built on a former strip-mining site, one of only two such mountain-top sites in the United States. The result is a course that, although not totally flat, is hardly “mountain golf.” Railway cars from the site’s former purpose also serve as decoration for players who make the journey out.
The course was opened during 2002, but was eventually turned over to the municipality of Mingo County, which continues to operate it at a very reasonable price (it was named one of the best courses that can be played for less than $50).
Twisted Gun is located on a firmer coal mining site and the site is indeed an interesting one because the course is isolated and free of any invasive clutter.
The main issue is that the design is fairly ordinary. The design details that could have really helped are missing and far too often you have basic holes with the obligatory bunker or two in concert with fairly vanilla greensites.
For the average golfer the time at Twisted Gun will be enjoyable. But, if you are an architectural maven the sum total of the parts that cause your pulse to speed up is only present at few times.
The par-4 10th is quite attractive. From an elevated tee you must avoid the water penalty area that lines the right side with the green hugging the same water area on the approach.
The other design element of note is the double-green encountered at the 9th and 18th holes. Both holes play roughly the same yardage -- and a water penalty area comes into play on both holes by the mega-sized putting surface. The approach shot on both holes is truly tested because the available landing area for either hole is quite limited. It's too bad this type of design creativity could not have been carried out a number of other holes.
Of the two sides -- the inward half is a bit better and more diverse in terms of hole types. The short par-3 13th is a fine counterpoint to the much longer par-3 10th.
Getting to the course is no small feat and in my visit I was amazed at the beautiful scenery West Virginia provides. Twisted Gun clearly is a fine addition to the Mountaineer golf scene but in terms of ammo provided the net result is a layout that's shooting more blanks than real firepower.
M. James Ward