Laid out over rolling terrain in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, the Virginian Golf Club is a wonderfully member-friendly course where the fairways are wide and forgiving, often appearing to play downhill from many of the tees. The course hosted the US Senior Amateur Championships in 2003.
Holes are routed around a residential development that has, unfortunately, grown substantially in size since Tom Fazio designed the layout in the mid 1990s and it’s a pity that so many enormous properties loom so large over a number of the fairways.
A point in case is “The Maiden,” the 235-yard, par three 13th hole which is set in a natural amphitheatre. To preserve the landscape, the club installed a 30-yard tunnel to allow golfers to get from the green to the 14th tee but it could do nothing to prevent a huge mansion being constructed immediately to the right hand side of the green, dominating the setting.
On the front nine, “Highlands,” the par four 4th is rated the most difficult hole. With out of bounds to the left, it plays downhill to a left to right-sloping green that’s protected to the front by a combination of sand and rough.
The par three 8th is a lovely hole on the outward half where the green sits to the right of a small pond formed from a natural spring. It’s followed by a sequence of four very good par fours.The 16th is another fine two-shotter that doglegs to the right with trees encroaching down the left of the fairway. The green drops away to the right, punishing any faded approaches that fall short of the target.
The Virginian is a wonderful club and course. A Fazio design, it also has three full practice holes, two par fours and a par three. Nice touch.
The first hole is a straightaway welcoming par four. The two-tiered green has a bunker front right. The first par three is downhill and has greenside bunkers left and front right. The green is wide but not deep. The easy part is now over. The first par five leans left. While there is some water in front of the tee it should not come into play. Favor the right off the tee. The fairway narrows considerably on your second shot and is uphill with trees right and left. The green has a false front with two bunkers left and one right. The 4th is the longest par four and deservedly the number one handicap hole. Ideal drive is over the right fairway bunker, however, there are trees and OB right. On the long approach there is a large bunker in front of the green with a split fairway on either side. The downhill left leaning fifth is a small respite. Favor the right side off the tee, but don’t go crazy as there are two fairway bunkers right. A water hazard on the left comes into play and covers the left half of the green. The 6th is an uphill right tilting par five that is reachable. The tee shot is tree lined, favor the left side to give yourself the best angle in. There are 6 fairway bunkers on the inside right elbow. The green has a large bunker front right and one rear left. The 7th is a short par four that some maybe able to drive and most will be tempted to try. I was found wanting and paid the price. My advice layup to your preferred attack wedge distance. The 8th is a long demanding par three. Having said that, it is a pretty hole with a water hazard, an old tobacco shed and a well left. The front ends with a long strong par four. The tee shot is over a ravine to an hourglass compressed fairway with bunker left and rough hollow right. The approach is demanding as the green is perched on a ledge with three bunkers and a large tree right surrounding it.
The back starts with a good birdie oppty. A short valley par four. Favor the right off the tee and pay attention to pin location as this is a two tiered green. The 11th is the longest par four on the back and leans left. Fairway bunker right, long straight drives can clear the ridge and get extra rollout. Not in my case. This is a large undulating green with bunkers front left and right. The 12th is a short par four with five bunkers down the right side. The 13th is the longest par three and a valley hole. The green slopes significantly back to front with two bunker right. The 14th may be reachable by a few, certainly not me. Fairway bunkers both sides in the landing area. For your approach pick your favorite yardage nad favor the left side. The mid-length par three 15th is supposed to be the easiest hole on the course. Not the case if you are the in the large deep front eft bunker. The long par four 16th is a tough hole. Fairway bunkers both sides and the preferred shot off the tee is a fade,. The preferred approach is a draw. I am not that good. The long 17th looks more intimidating than it is. On the tee all you see is a boatload of bunkers. The ones on the right side are in play, thus aim at the left fairway bunkers which are not. The left to right redan green also slopes left to right and there are two bunkers front right. The 18th is the longest par five. Off the tee there are fairway bunkers both sides. Pick your preferred yardage to set up your attack wedge.
Super layout that was in great condition. I highly recommend it.