The 45-hole Wintergreen Resort features the 18-hole Devil’s Knob course which Ellis Maples designed in the late 1970s. Sitting at an elevation of more than 3,800 feet above sea level, it’s the highest golfing layout in the state of Virginia.
Give architect Ellis Maples credit in creating this mountainous course. The wherewithal to slot fairways through the trees is clearly something to behold. But the architecture is fairly redundant. The saving grace comes in playing the course at such an elevation in order to reap the benefits of the much cooler air. Play the companion Stony Creek course down below and you are sure to be sweating bullets in handling the higher temps and humidity.
The two really special holes are the ones concluding each side. The par-4 9th climbs uphill and provides an elevated putting surface in which getting an approach to land nearby will be tested.
The concluding 18th is also very good. Here the hole climbs uphill and turn right in the drive zone. Working the ball is essential to get into a position for the elevated green approach.
Devil's Knob would gain immeasurably from a makeover that adds a number of design elements that truly provide a clear hole differentiation. It's a fine course but the possibilities for being much more is clearly present.
M. James Ward