At Sterling Golf and Swim Club, golfers send balls sailing down the tree-lined fairways of an 18-hole, par 54 golf course, and swimmers backstroke across two 25-meter pools. For nearly half a century, club-wielders have traversed past water and dodged bunkers at the executive course, giving the pines and weeping willows ample time to flourish, and the nonprofit club itself has existed for four decades. Two kiddie pools flank the club’s two larger pools, enabling wee ones to practice breathing through their gills while their older siblings butterfly down lanes, and a game room provides indoor entertainment. An adult lounge lets weary golfers relax in peace, and the clubhouse’s pro shop outfits players searching for golf balls whose dimples perfectly match their own.
Augustine Golf Club's award-winning course was sculpted to reflect its natural beauty with its distinctive par 4s sculpted by course architect, Rick Jacobson. Although the greens at Augustine declined for a few years, recent renovations have restored the course to its former glory, once again luring golfers to its babbling streams and forest. Farther north, rivals Augustine's sister course, Raspberry Falls. Course architect Gary Player remarked that the Falls, once an 18th-century plantation, “was made for a golf course.” Inspired by this ideal setting, he dreamed up the links-style course at Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club, whose meandering brooks, stone walls, and stacked-sod bunkers evoke Scotland, while its vista of the Catoctin Mountains remind players they’re in Virginia.
These golf havens have more than picturesque views in common—they are two of six award-winning courses united by Raspberry Golf Management’s portfolio, which stretches from Virginia to Pennsylvania and skips over to Arizona. Gary Player’s design team for Raspberry Falls included Tim Freeland, who went on to design two of the firm’s other courses: Royal Manchester Golf Links, whose bentgrass fairways sidle up to the Susquehanna River, and Old Hickory Golf Club, a parkland-style course crisscrossed by Beaver Creek. The management company's other gems include The Legacy Golf Resort, where cowboys used to ride their rocking horses around a 7,500-acre ranch, and Bull Run Golf Club, which sprawls across more than 450 acres of meadows and woodlands at the foot of the Bull Run Mountains.
Komodo dragons, quicksand, and headhunter’s darts are just some of the dangers that lurk in the jungle depths of the Perils of the Lost Jungle miniature golf course at Woody’s Golf Range, whose innovative attractions caught the eye of The Washington Post and earned it a place in Newsweek Magazine’s recommended mini-golf courses in 2005. Harder hitting clubs hone their swings at the driving range. Golfers can spend their time there digging up divots in Patriot-Bermuda-grass hitting stations or sending balls whistling over AstroTurf mats. The range’s heated, lighted, and covered stalls let players practice year-round. Along with separate practice areas for pitching and chipping, a sand trap invites golfers to practice the best way to get out of a bad lie—by digging an escape tunnel. Guests can trade in their clubs for bats at four softball cages and five baseball cages, and themed picnic areas enable groups to turn their visit into a day-long extravaganza.
Located in the rolling hills of South Riding, Virginia, South Riding Golf Club's 18-hole, championship-caliber course is the only golf course in northern Virginia created by renowned designer Dan Maples. Intended to engage the community, South Riding Golf Club's 18 holes wind through open spaces, between wetlands, and around existing buildings. Today's deal alleviates fears of getting lost on the course with just a jar of peanut butter and a copy of Rodney Dangerfield's autobiography, because South Riding's golf carts come equipped with ParView color GPS systems. Grab your directionally challenged golf pants and enjoy driving through your globally positioned 18-hole jaunt.
Interspersed with rolling hills, meandering woods, and rippling water obstacles, each of these featured courses provides a challenging round for golfers of any skill level. Designed by renowned course architect and Jack Nicklaus-protégé David Heatwole, 1757's par 70 layout rewards crafty shots made on deceptively subtle greens and around towering brick barriers camouflaged to match the surrounding foliage. 1757's practice facility drills drivers with more than 100 hitting stations of grass and synthetic SportTurf tees, as well as a full short-game training area complete with facsimile fairways, bunkers, and greens. The Virginia Oaks course, considered one of Virginia's most difficult, was designed in 1995 by putting-placement legend P.B. Dye, challenging players with a narrow 18 holes rounded out by artfully placed obstacles. Home to a Nike Golf Learning Center, Reston National provides an accessible environment for players to learn and perfect their strokes away from the incessant creaking of rickety mini-golf windmills.
Course designer Tom Clark of Ault, Clark, & Associates earned Pleasant Valley Golf Club a 4.5-star rating from Golf Digest, whose editors applauded the architect’s creativity in the site’s rolling hills and dense hardwood forest. Clark’s 18-hole brainchild allows players to tee up from one of four tee boxes and test their mettle against the par 72 course, taking care to avoid the water in play on six holes and the grassy meadows that lie outside the fairway borders. Players can bookend their round with a warm-up session on the range and a cooldown at the grill, helped along by a club sandwich, a Gatorade, or a glass of ice water dumped on an overused foot wedge.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 6,915 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 73.5 from the back tees * Course slope of 137 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole * Scorecard