Famed course architect Tom Doak may be the mastermind behind Riverfront Golf Club's 18-hole layout, but Mother Nature should be credited with an assist. Tom took full advantage of the existing topography when shaping each meticulously crafted fairway and green, sculpting a layout that utilizes natural features, including tidal marshes, knee-high native grasses, and ancient pines, oaks, and sycamores. The Nansemond and James Rivers come into play on 14 holes, forcing golfers to face the omnipresent threat of a lost ball and an extra stroke or a ship full of club-stealing pirates. Though the landscape showcases a daunting supply of treacherous hazards, the course offers relatively wide fairways, offering large landing zones for tee shots and aerial caddies flying in mid-round to help read putts on large, undulating greens.
Sleepy Hole Golf Course challenges golfers in an emerald labyrinth defined by tree-lined fairways, wispy aquatic grasses, and views of the mile-wide Nansemond River. Golfers can start off by loosening up drivers on the range and giving short irons a pep talk in the chipping and putting practice areas. After teeing off, players wind through a verdant course inhabited by doglegs, troublesome bunkers, and water hazards that come into play on five holes. The 18th hole tests golfers' mettle with difficult shot selections throughout, as tee shots land in view of the river and prompt players to either lay up for a safe approach or send shots sailing over marshy fescues onto a green sandwiched between a bunker, a drop-off into water, and a patch of carnivorous plants that subsist on divot tools and plaid knickers.
First sculpted into Virginia's rolling terrain in 1952, Suffolk Golf Course remains true to the original vision of course architect Dick Wilson. Though not an especially lengthy course, it plays longer due to the elevation changes, tree-lined fairways, and dog-legs that can complicate play throughout the layout. Once golfers reach the green, they face a slick, newly-renovated, Bermuda grass putting surface that?after overseeding in early 2014?provides a particularly true roll. The back nine winds around Lake Kilby, which provides sweeping vistas while threatening to ensnare any wayward shots. A bald eagle is known to dwell around the 12th hole, so golfers should wear their most patriotic wig on the course as a gesture of respect.