The James River course is one of three impressive 18-hole layouts used by members of the Country Club of Virginia. The Westhampton course lies four miles from the other two, and it’s a Donald Ross creation from 1921.
On the main property, nine holes of the Tuckahoe Creek course were designed by Ed Ault in the late 1980s then Joe Lee added another nine soon after.
The James River course was originally laid out by William Flynn in 1928, five years after he designed the acclaimed Cascades course at The Homestead. Many believe that if more golfers were able to play the private James River layout, it might achieve a similar lofty ranking position to that of Flynn's earlier creation at Hot Springs.
Flynn originally mapped out two 18-hole courses – the “Valley” and “Hill” – but the final layout ended up with nine holes from each; the James River’s front nine on the more level part of the course was from the Valley whilst the more undulating back nine was taken from the Hill.
George O’Neil – who some credit with the original design of the Greenbrier course at White Sulphur Springs in 1924 – made some modifications to the course in 1938 then it was changed further before it hosted the US Amateur Championships in 1955, when Jack Nicklaus qualified for the first time. Rees Jones also added his architectural stamp during a full renovation in 1992, altering bunkers and greens.
During a Lester George restoration in 2003/04, a couple of lakes were built on the front nine to help with drainage and new holes were built at the 4th, 6th and 18th. The remaining greens were redone, twelve new tees were constructed and a number of fairway bunkers were rebuilt.
Andrew Green is the consulting architect at the Country Club of Virginia his intention is to gradually restore the James River course back to William Flynn’s original design intent.