Great Golf Getaways in Williamsburg
Increasingly known as a top golf destination, Greater Williamsburg boasts more than a dozen championship courses. Here are some of the best places to tee off.
The great British golfer Harry Vardon once observed, "For this game you need, above all things, to be in a tranquil frame of mind."
If that's the case, then the Greater Williamsburg area is the place to establish your Tranquility Base. It has become one of the nation's top golf destinations. Why? More than a dozencourses were designed by the big names in the game — Robert Trent Jones, Rees Jones, Pete Dye, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Curtis Strange.
Cigar Aficionado magazine labeled the area "a golfer's paradise" and "one of the most complete golf destinations in the country." Golfweek lists two courses — the Gold Course at the Golden Horseshoe and the River Course at the Kingsmill Resort — among the 10 best in the state.
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Here are the courses to have your “good walk spoiled,” highlighted by the return on July 1 of the legendary Gold Course at the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club after an extensive renovation.
The Gold Course is a Robert Trent Jones masterpiece that has been freshened up in a renovation overseen by his son, Rees. The course is set on 125 acres of hardwoods connected by gullies, ravines and ponds just around the corner from Williamsburg’s historic area. It’s widely considered one of the finest compact golf layouts in history. Golf Digest, in its 2015-16 biennial survey, named it number 62 on its list of America's best public courses. But it’s not a course for the fainthearted.
The Green Course, designed by Rees Jones, is carved from the same terrain as the Gold Course and is more typical of contemporary trends in golf course architecture. The executive-length Spotswood Course is the elder Jones’ 1964 update of the Williamsburg Inn’s original 1947 nine-hole course. Golf packages are available year-round.
Rolling over 175 acres of hills, streams and pine forests, this Arthur Hills-designed public course is right for players of all abilities. Beware the water lurking along the fairway on the home 18th hole. The practice facility features a sprawling driving range outfitted with natural-grass tee boxes, as well as an arched chipping green. The Bistro offers after-round American fare for lunch or dinner.
Located just outside of Williamsburg, Stonehouse is a painting on 6,962 yards of steep forested hills, wide plateaus, and abrupt ravines. A challenging painting, to be sure. The slopes on many holes are severe. There are a ton of blind tee shots. But the greens and fairways are huge and more forgiving than you might expect. Stonehouse is laid out over wild, tumbling hills near the York River in the Tidewater Region. When it opened in 1996, The Tradition Golf Club at Stonehouse was named one of the “Top New Ten You Can Play” by Golf magazine.
The views are spectacular; the layout as challenging as the beauty. Kiskiack Golf Club is set on land once occupied by the Chickiack, a group of Virginia Algonquian Indians. Set along the ridge of a natural bluff, Kiskiack offers something for everyone. You might relax on the front nine, but be ready for the turn and a tough back nine where the par-3, 11th green is surrounded on three sides by water. Course architect John LaFoy said, “after playing Kiskiack, 18 golfers may each have a different favorite hole.” How’s that for an invitation? The Wood Iron Grill is the place for burgers, sandwiches and snacks.
Ford’s Colony offers a trio of choices, depending on the experience you’re seeking. The designer, Dan Maples, says the layouts were "built with championship qualities capable of challenging the skills of any pro, but without taking away from an amateur's enjoyment." The Blackheath Course is scenic with lots of water — it comes into play on 13 holes — and bunker-guarded greens. Marsh Hawk has narrow but traditional tree-lined fairways with small, undulating greens. The longest course, Blue Heron, winds through dense wetlands filled with wildlife, a bonus for birdwatchers. The club also has a well-stocked pro shop and a golf academy. Dine on site at the Between Rounds Café or grab a table before or after a round for the American bistro fare at Murdoch’s.
You will find two courses here, the Jamestown Course, designed by Jack Nicklaus, and the newer Yorktown Course, designed by Tom Clark. Both span more than 7,000 yards of mostly flat terrain with narrow fairways and a whole lot of sand. The Nicklaus Grille offers burgers and sandwiches.
Need some help planning your trip? Ask the experts at Williamsburg Golf Vacations, who will fit an itinerary to your tastes like your favorite pro fitting new clubs to match your game.
Looking for some fun off the green while in the area? Check out the most popular attractions in Greater Williamsburg or enjoy a romantic dinner after a long day walking the fairways.