Ireland, Myrtle Beach, Florida. What do all of these places have in common? They are considered meccas in the golf community. Whether it’s the home of golf or various locations that are synonymous with the game, you can include the Shenandoah Valley in this group of travel destinations. In just the small 30-mile radius of the Winchester – Front Royal area, you have over 144 holes of golf to choose from in 6 different courses. You’ll have a weeks worth of golfing pleasure in a stay and play excursion to the Shenandoah Valley. I’ll list the three top courses below that I would recommend you visit if you’re looking to travel to the Valley.
Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club (18 holes)- Front Royal, VA
As the name would suggest, located in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Blue Ridge Shadows is the new kid on the block in the Front Royal golf community. This 18-hole layout is the truest test of golf in the area. Multiple elevation changes, a few blind tee shots, and some large greens complexes make this a great test of golf for all skill levels. All skill levels are welcome to try and challenge the lurking “Monster is the Shadows” as there are 5 different tees to choose from that make this course range from extremely difficult to fairly manageable.
The signature hole at Blue Ridge Shadows is a Risk/ Reward par 4 #18. It is in the shadows of the waterfall and clubhouse that over look the course. Depending on the tee you are playing and your skill level, the player will have to decide if they want to try and drive the green or layup and have a short iron/ wedge into a difficult multi-level green complex. There is a catch however, there’s a large creek that runs in front of the green and grabs many a players errant shots.
The added benefit of Blue Ridge Shadows is the Holiday Inn that is right on the property. Blue Ridge Shadows also has a Package Coordinator to tailor all of your Stay and Play package needs. Each individual group can pick and chose where/ when they would like to play and what’s included for amenities. The Shadows have partnered with the other area courses and can get you a tee time that you might be looking to play while visiting the area.
Shenandoah Valley Golf Club (27 Holes)- Front Royal, VA
Shenandoah Valley Golf Club has arguably the highest brand/ name recognition in the area and this isn’t even for just golf. Shenandoah Valley is one of the oldest courses in the area and hosts several golf and non-golf events every month. You have the ability any given day to play all 27 holes between 3 different 9’s. This beautiful location has scenic views of the mountain, several tree lined fairways, and a crisp country smell in the air.
The layout suits golfers of all skill and age. This is a classic design that is shorter, tighter, and has smaller green complexes. While it is shorter, the challenge comes from accurate tee shots to find the fairway and then precise shots into the greens as most of them slope fairly dramatically from back to front. I don’t think I would want to pin point any one, signature hole. The entire course has it’s own character and each hole is unique in itself. You can never go wrong with Shenandoah Valley Golf Club, and this truly is a gem and a great representation of the Valley.
Rock Harbor (36 holes)- Winchester, VA
Located off of Rt. 37 in Winchester, Rock Harbor Golf Club is the only Public Course in Winchester. This new style design offers many different tests and challenges for golfers of all skill levels. This 36-hole design incorporates the “Rock” and the “Boulder” Courses that differ from your typical Valley courses. This expansive design has very few tree-lined holes and is much more “open” for golfers who might lose the occasional golf ball left or right. There are however, several water-lined holes that cause some challenges for even the most experienced of golfer.
I would consider #7 of the original 9 or “Rock” Course to be one of, if not the, signature hole. At only 150+ yards, this island green par 3 is quite the test of nerve and execution. Picking the right club is crucial. A ball that is only 5-10 yards long or short of your desired distance will likely find a watery resting location and a dropped shot with it.
This historic area has several different attractions to choose from while visiting. While history and scenery are the top two, don’t discount the superb golf that this area has to offer. If you’re new to the area or looking to visit, give one of these courses a call and schedule a tee time. You wont be disappointed!
Many thanks to John Judy, an avid Shenandoah Valley Golfer for this blog. John will be joining the Go Blue Ridge Travel staff in May. His title will be our Social Media – PR Traditional Research Stat Assistant. He will also be a blog writer for Go Blue Ridge Travel.