Lieutenant General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson once stood on the first hole's green—or at least somewhere near it—and gave a rousing speech to motivate 17,000 Confederate troops before the First Battle of Winchester on May 25, 1862. Today, Jackson's Chase Golf Club hosts more peaceful pastures atop its rolling hills, with golf clubs replacing weapons and golf balls replacing the instant smoke-cloud spheres that Jackson would use during his renowned magic shows.
Set along the undulating countryside, the 18-hole course challenges golfers of all stripes to navigate a labyrinth of unforgiving holes, such as the 191-yard 11th hole, a par 3 with a pond stationed around the peninsula-like green. Rental carts whisk players up and down frequent elevation changes, saving caddies from giving piggyback rides across the 6,513-yard jaunt.
Course at a Glance
Ranked 12th in Travel + Leisure's World's Best Family Hotels and Cruises, The Homestead has been pampering guests—including 22 U.S. presidents—with an assortment of leisurely activities since its pre-Revolutionary War construction in 1766. This Groupon includes one night of well-appointed slumber for up to two guests in one of the historic resort's luxurious classic rooms, featuring down pillows, featherbeds, and midnight golf tips from the ghosts of former boarders. The sun porches and authentic fireplaces in some rooms reflect influences of quieter times, whereas WiFi and flat-screen TVs keep guests technologically apprised of happenings in the outside world. Honk your golf cart's horn in triumph after launching a dimply ball off the nation's oldest first tee in continuous use at the Old Course (an extra round of golf may be purchased for $35). The hilly, par 72 course was originally completed in 1892 but has received fairway contouring and silicone calf implants to keep golfers on their toes. Patrons allergic to grass or 9 irons can partake in a slew of indoor excursions, such as complimentary afternoon tea in the Great Hall, free film showings in the historic theater, and spirited rounds of sphere hurling at the on-site bowling center.
As a professional golf instructor, Leslie W. Mercer worked tirelessly to make the game accessible to everyone. His daughter, Anne Marie, opened The Highlands Golf Park in 1997 to ensure her father's efforts–and more importantly, perhaps, his love of golf–made an impact on future generations. To this day, The Highlands remains a family affair. Anne Marie's daughter, Gretchen Scheuermann, now runs the park and guides golfers as a LPGA Class A teaching professional.
The Highlands Golf Park provides a robust golfing experience to match its rich history. A versatile driving range is the centerpiece of the facility's practice features. Carved into the natural landscape, the range boasts 44 grass and mat tee stations, areas for pitching and chipping, and lights for practicing at night or after accidentally popping the sun with an errant tee shot. Away from the range, players can soak up tips during lessons or polish up their short game by putting through the 18-hole Pirate Pete's Mini Golf Course.
Sometime in 1952, Gilbert and Vernie Kingree stood in front of Stoney Creek Park—the combination grocery store and dance hall they owned—watching a friend skate up and down the street on his new roller skates. The Kingrees, the parents of five children, immediately saw how roller skates could entertain the whole family. They quickly decided to add a wooden roller rink to their facility, and that’s how Stoney Creek Roller Rink & Fun Center was born.
Since that day, the owners have continued to add new attractions in an effort to entertain familial units. These attractions include bumper cars, laser tag, and an arcade with more than 85 games, only half of which are actually sleeping robots. Visitors still glide around a classic roller rink on rented rollerblades or skates, but they can also putt on a nine-hole green-turf miniature-golf course. Smaller visitors hop inside a ball pit after navigating plastic tubes and slides in the indoor play area, and guests of all ages refuel with oven-baked pizza and hot wings served in an onsite restaurant.
Framed by the rising crags of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club’s 18-hole course incorporates mature hardwoods, immaculate greens, and dramatic elevation changes into a pristine layout that earned a position on Golfweek’s list of the Best Courses You Can Play in 2009. Cresting hilltops give way to sweeping panoramas of the natural surroundings, including a 60-foot waterfall stationed behind the 18th green that used to host Gary Player's famed cliff-diving exhibitions. A grass-tee driving range, large putting green, and short-game practice area unfurl across the mountainside terrain, helping players warm up neglected swings. Additionally, players can prepare for an upcoming round with a lesson from Blue Ridge’s staff of sage instructors or by scrutinizing the course’s splendor from the wraparound terrace of the stately clubhouse.
Course at a Glance: