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.
The vintners at Vint Hill Winery craft nuanced wines out of ripe fruit plucked from California, Washington, and Virginia. Tint your taste buds with two flights of wine per person while lounging on the balcony, which overlooks a barn that was used to intercept messages during WWII and shelter stray cats in 1991. Vint Hill sends sommeliers on their way with a bottle of french-oak barrel-fermented 2008 chardonnay and a 2008 merlot—an herbaceous red with harmonious notes of wild fruit, tobacco, and black pepper. Adopted quaffs may be sipped from the provided, decorative wine glasses or poured down the gullet of a timid schooner before its maiden voyage.
The Arnold Palmer signature designed course at the private Dominion Valley Country Club features 18 holes and fulfills Arnold Palmer's vision of integrating golf design into the surrounding terrain. The 7,000-yard golfing gauntlet (measured from the back tees) challenges both new swingers and skilled clubsmen on a course that incorporates natural elevation changes, fairways hugged by rows of trees, and a bevy of wetland hazards that will leave golf balls as wet as a puppy that fell into a dunk tank. Lunch on the day of play includes a deli sandwich or hot dog, a bag of chips, and a fountain soda. To play, golfers must garb up in golfing-specific gear instead of catcher's masks or pants made out of hockey pucks.
Raspberry Falls: 18 holes | Par 72 | 7,191 yards from the tips | Five tee options
Caddy's Report: Reminiscent of a course in the British Isles, Raspberry Falls whisks golfers across rippling terrain outfitted with streams, bunkers, and stone walls. In past lives, this property hosted fox hunts and was also a raspberry farm, which explains the name and the wild raspberry bushes growing about today.
Bull Run Golf Club: 18 holes | Par 72 | 6,961 yards from the tips | Five tee options
Caddy's Report: Water hazards come into play from the very first hole, where a pond lies in wait to swallow up balls that don't carry or aren't fitted with mini propellers. Located in the foothills of Bull Run Mountain, the course fluctuates between wide open fairways and challenging stretches hemmed in by rows of trees.
Old Hickory Golf Club: 18 holes | Par 72 | 7,077 yards from the tips | Five tee options
Caddy's Report: Every hole at Old Hickory is bunkered, and fast greens mean players must practice caution. To that end, mounded fairways also cause balls to bounce back toward the middle of the fairway?skilled golfers can take advantage of this feature by using the mounds to move shots forward.
Augustine Golf Club: 18 holes | Par 71 | 6,817 yards from the tips | Five tee options
Caddy's Report: Emerald-green fairways and white bunkers set against a darkened hardwood forest provides a lesson in contrast, but players can't be lulled by this club's beauty. Several holes readily decimate scores, including the 572-yard fourth hole, which features a double dogleg and a particularly tiny green.