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Cascades holds the high ground

Omni Homestead course remains No. 1 for the third year

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Print this page by Kevin Brafford
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Legendary golfer Sam Snead said, "If you can play the Cascades, you can play
anywhere." Courtesy The Omni Homestead Resort

For the third consecutive year, the Virginia Golf Ratings Panel’s rankings of the commonwealth’s top 50 golf courses is topped by the venerable Cascades course at The Omni Homestead in Hot Springs.

The William Flynn design, which debuted in 1923, has withstood every test of time, including the myriad advances in technology in the past two decades. As the legendary pro golfer Sam Snead said of the course that flows seamlessly through the Allegheny Mountains, “If you can play the Cascades, you can play anywhere.”

While the Cascades remained No. 1, there’s a new No. 2 — The Olde Farm in Bristol, which jumped two spots from the 2018 rankings. Designed by Bobby Weed, it opened for play in 2000. Also moving up in the top 10 is The Highland Course at Primland, which improved from 10th to eighth.

The only addition to this year’s rankings is the Danville Golf Club, a Donald Ross design that opened in 1916 and has hosted the Virginia State Open five times. It debuted at No. 49.

The mission of the Virginia Golf Ratings Panel is to provide rankings that a broad spectrum of golfers can appreciate and to promote what we believe is a great game. The panel currently includes 46 men and women who, while their playing ability varies, share a passion for the game and an appreciation for course design. Each also maintains his or her primary residence in Virginia.

In voting for the top 50 courses, panelists were asked to consider a number of factors — variety in design, routing, strategy, fairness, shot values, memorability and aesthetics — in determining their individual rankings. Of course, they could only vote for courses they’ve played (and there are more than 300 courses in the commonwealth).

From their ballots, the top 50 was determined by a blended scoring system that, first, averaged a course’s ranking per number of panelists who had played it and, second, rewarded total points received (the higher the ranking the greater the number of total points). 

Kevin Brafford is executive director of the Virginia Golf Ratings Panel, virginiagolfratings.com.

Top 5 golf courses in Virginia for 2019

1. The Omni Homestead (Cascades)

Previous year’s rank: 1
Location: Hot Springs
Par: 70
Championship tee yardage: 6,667
Few courses have withstood the test of time better than this William Flynn design. Both fun and challenging, no two holes seem alike. More to that point, its unique set of four finishing holes — two par 3s and two par 5s — shows that the architect wasn’t bound by conventional wisdom.

2. The Olde Farm
Previous year’s rank: 4
Location: Bristol
Par: 70
Championship tee yardage: 7,119
Members and guests cross cattle guards as they come through the club’s gates, an ode to what was once a working farm. Bobby Weed, a Pete Dye protégé, designed the course, which opened in 2000, to flow through the rolling hills rather than up and over them, preserving its walkability.

3. Kinloch Golf Club
Previous year’s rank: 2
Location: Manakin-Sabot
Par: 72
Championship tee yardage: 7,203
Named by no less than Golf Digest as the “Best New Private Club in America” when it debuted in 2001, this parkland-style layout has gotten better with age. Two of the biggest names in Virginia golf — Lester George and Vinny Giles — were the brains behind this masterpiece.

4. The Virginian Golf Club
Previous year’s rank: 3
Location: Bristol
Par: 72
Championship tee yardage: 7,025
That two of the top five courses reside in a tucked away part of the commonwealth speaks in part to the topography. Said designer Tom Fazio when this club opened in 1993: “In some locations, blessed by Mother Nature, there was little issue figuring out where to place the holes.”

5. Farmington Country Club (North-South)
Previous year’s rank: 5
Location: Charlottesville
Par: 70
Championship tee yardage: 6,766
This 27-hole, traditional country club had its first 18 holes — the North and South nines — designed by Fred Findlay in 1927. Thirty-eight years later, fittingly, the final nine holes were developed by his grandson, Buddy Loving. The club’s practice facilities are considered second to none.

 

Top 50 golf courses in Virginia for 2019

Ranking 2018 ranking Name Location Par Championship tee yardage
1 1 The Omni Homestead (Cascades) Hot Springs 70 6,667
2 4 The Olde Farm Bristol 70 7,119
3 2 Kinloch Golf Club Manakin-Sabot 72 7,203
4 3 The Virginian Golf Club Bristol 72 7,025
5 5 Farmington Country Club (North-South) Charlottesville 70 6,766
6 6 Keswick Hall & Golf Club Keswick 72 7,134
7 7 Robert Trent Jones Golf Club Gainesville 72 7,445
8 10 The Highland Course at Primland Meadows of Dan 72 7,053
9 8 The Country Club of Virginia (James River) Richmond 72 7,025
10 9 Spring Creek Golf Club Gordonsville 72 7,389
11 11 The Federal Club Glen Allen 72 7,073
12 14 Ballyhack Golf Club Roanoke 72 7,294
13 12 Trump National Golf Club (Championship) Potomac Falls 72 7,693
14 15 The Club at Creighton Farms Aldie 72 7,410
15 13 Bay Creek Resort and Club (Palmer) Cape Charles 72 7,250
16 16 Kingsmill Resort (River) Williamsburg 71 6,831
17 17 Golden Horseshoe Golf Club (Gold) Williamsburg 71 6,817
18 19 Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech Radford 72 7,685
19 23 Independence Golf Club Midlothian 72 7,135
20 18 Hermitage Country Club (Sabot) Manakin-Sabot 72 7,048
21 20 Two Rivers Country Club Williamsburg 72 6,911
22 21 Army Navy Country Club (Arlington) Arlington 71 6,640
23 22 River Bend Golf & Country Club Great Falls 71 6,917
24 24 Wintergreen Resort (Stoney Creek) Nellysford 72 7,158
25 26 Bayville Golf Club Virginia Beach 72 7,138
26 25 Bay Creek Resort and Club (Nicklaus) Cape Charles 72 7,417
27 28 Hermitage Country Club (Manakin) Manakin-Sabot 72 6,955
28 29 Birdwood Golf Course Charlottesville 72 6,920
29 27 The Foundry Golf Club Powhatan 72 6,901
30 33 Glenmore Country Club Keswick 72 6,951
31 30 Army Navy Country Club (Fairfax) Fairfax 72 6,644
32 31 Boonsboro Country Club Lynchburg 72 6,428
33 32 Trump National Golf Club (Riverview) Potomac Falls 72 7,234
34 35 The Dominion Club Glen Allen 72 7,229
35 34 The Country Club of Virginia (Westhampton) Richmond 70 6,214
36 38 Royal New Kent Golf Club Providence Forge 72 7,480
37 37 Jefferson Lakeside Country Club Richmond 71 6,272
38 41 Roanoke Country Club Roanoke 71 6,504
39 39 Princess Anne Country Club Virginia Beach 70 6,042
40 40 Mattaponi Springs Golf Club Ruther Glen 72 6,937
41 42 James River Country Club Newport News 70 6,598
42 46 Poplar Grove Golf Club Amherst 72 7,059
43 44 Williamsburg National Golf Club (Jamestown) Williamsburg 72 6,953
44 43 Belle Haven Country Club Alexandria 72 6,965
45 45 Winchester Country Club Winchester 70 6,367
46 47 Golden Horseshoe Golf Club (Green) Williamsburg 72 7,120
47 50 Draper Valley Golf Club Draper 72 7,070
48 48 The Homestead (Old Course) Hot Springs 72 6,099
49 NR Danville Golf Club Danville 70 6,235
50 49 Laurel Hill Golf Club Lorton 71 7,010

NR: Not rated                          Source: Virginia Golf Ratings Panel           





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