Taylor Huse '19
At the University of Virginia, we are blessed with the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors in a manner that most at nationally ranked law schools cannot due to our location in Central Virginia. Not only can you hike the Shenandoah or compete on the softball field, you can also get out and enjoy several great golf courses within a short drive of the school. As a lifelong golfer, I played three of these courses and provide my thoughts on them here.
Birdwood Golf Course
Partially private and home of UVa’s golf team, Birdwood is a solid track that will challenge you with elevation changes and several water features. The signature hole is a downhill par three to an island green that is characteristic of the course in that it is both challenging and fair. This is not a long course, especially by modern standards, measuring only 6,316 yards from the men’s tees and 5,073 yards from the women’s tees. Experienced golfers can also challenge themselves by trying out the back tees which play at 6,907 yards. The design provides a mixture of long and short holes that will force you to hit most of the clubs in your bag with some reachable par fives on the front nine and lengthy par fours on the back nine.
Located only two miles from the Law School and one mile from Ivy Gardens, Birdwood is a great place to go for a quick nine after classes on a weekday. It’s also pretty affordable for the quality of the course. Green fees are $25 on weekdays and $40 on weekends. Cart fees are an additional $12 for 9 holes and $22 for 18 holes. Birdwood also provides a student membership option that runs at approximately $450 a semester and $1,200 for the year. Here is a link to their website for more information: https://www.boarsheadresort.com/golf.
Keswick Golf Club – Full Cry Course
In a word, Full Cry is breathtaking. Built in 2014 and rated number three in Golfweek’s 2016 list of “Best Courses You Can Play in Virginia,” this Pete Dye design will have you feeling like Tin Cup at the US Open (they even provide Titleist golf balls on the range). Though the course is private, the PILA auction usually includes one or two certificates granting a round to a lucky foursome, and who knows, you may meet a member during your 2L summer at a D.C. firm who will invite you to play. Too far from D.C. you say? Don’t worry, this place has a helipad for easy transportation (you’ll see it on your left when you get through the security gate).
Being exclusive has its perks, mainly that the course is in pristine shape. Bent grass greens roll as true as Augusta National, but good luck hitting them consistently. They are small and surrounded by litters of bunkers, which are a small mercy since the bluegrass rough around the greens is deep. However, Dye characteristically leaves closely mown bail-out areas on at least one side of the green, so your score will depend on how well you control your misses. The fairways are more forgiving. When I played, I couldn’t hit a driver onto a landing strip, but the rough was manageable—this coming from a guy with a physique more like Jim Furyk than Tiger Woods. If you get to play this course, take time to soak in the natural beauty of the perfectly manicured Virginia landscape, and don’t worry about holding anyone up, there will be no one playing behind you. If nothing else, check out the pictures on the website: https://www.keswick.com/golf-club.htm.
Meadowcreek Golf Course
Meadowcreek is the typical municipal golf course with a laid-back atmosphere and easier layout. It’s perfect for golfers on a budget or who are new to the game. It’s the shortest course in the area, playing at only 6,073 yards from the back tees and 4,595 yards from the women’s tees; however, it’s only a par seventy with three par fives and five par threes. The layout features mostly tried and true hole designs, but a few holes play awkwardly (especially the first hole), so an experienced golfer might want to steer clear. When I played it in the spring, the bent grass greens were in surprisingly good shape, but the fairways were pretty beat up.
The course is located at Pen Park on the northeast side of town. On weekdays, eighteen holes costs $24 and nine holes costs $16. On weekends, eighteen holes will be $29, and nine holes is $20. Carts are $11 for nine holes and $18 for eighteen holes. Here is the website for more information: http://www.meadowcreekgolf.org/.
With so many great course options within a short distance from the school, this is the time to learn how to play golf or sharpen your skills, especially if you’re a 2L or 3L.1 Get out and play; you’ll be glad you did.
1 However, as a 2L, I dispute the claim that we are supposed to have significant free time. Lies.