Course: Bull Run Golf Club
Location: Haymarket, VA
Driving Range: Yes, included with round. High-quality mats; grass tees open on weekends
Tee Info: Black – 6961yds (73.6/137); Blue – 6552yds (71.5/129); White 6219yds (M 70.0/126; W 75.1/130); Green – 5746yds (M 67.8/121; W 72.4/124);
Red – 5069yds (68.5/116)
Written By: Colin Murray
Originally opened in 1998 and designed by Rick Jacobson, Bull Run Golf Club is located in the northwest corner of Prince William County, near the border of Loudoun County, and is nearby to several historic sites – including where the famous Battle of Manassas was fought – and Bull Run Mountain, which provides some great views as you make your way around the course.
The clubhouse looks very stately, and the back terrace – which is just steps outside from the restaurant – faces the 18th hole and provides a great view of players finishing their round. When you park, you are greeted by the attendant on duty who brings a cart to you and puts your clubs onto it. At the end of your round, the attendant greets you again as he wipes off your clubs.
The course itself presents enough challenges for golfers of all skill levels, but at the same time provides enough scoring opportunities and variety of hole types to make it a fun and enjoyable round. While it is set along the woods, most fairways are wider than they may first appear. This is helpful if you are not always able to keep your tee shots straight, since you will have some room to miss.
Inside the clubhouse are the pro shop and the restaurant. The pro shop carries a wide selection from the top brands in men’s and women’s apparel, shoes, clubs, and balls. A little further down the hall is the restaurant, which has a fully stocked bar as well as about a dozen tables to sit down at and enjoy a post-round meal. The bar has several beers on tap, plus stools if you prefer a seat there. The menu is varied, offering starters, wraps, burgers, and sandwiches (aptly named “sandwedges” on the menu).
The practice facility offers a full 10-acre driving range including a 10,000sqft double-tiered grass tee; an 8,000sqft putting green; a separate chipping green; two green side bunkers; and a private lesson area equipped with the latest technology to record and analyze your swing or to get you fitted for a new set of clubs.
The first hole doesn’t present a significant challenge but there is a forced carry over a pond that is sure to cause some jitters in anyone who isn’t totally comfortable off the tee…especially the first one of the round. Thankfully, driver is not necessary as it plays only 380yds from the tips. A long iron or a wood will easily set you up for a short iron or wedge for your approach. Once in the fairway, the hole turns left to the green. Longer hitters can certainly shorten the hole by cutting some of the slight corner, but again it is not needed if you’re comfortable from about 150yds out.
Hole 2 is a relatively short par 5, playing under 500yds for all tees but the back which plays 535. A fairway in regulation here will set you up for a nice approach. This hole is wide open, save for a pond on the far right that should only be in play after a bad slice on your second shot.
Hole 5 introduces another forced carry, this time over some brush. It is not a long carry however, so only a chunked tee shot should have any issues. The hole turns slightly left off the tee, and with the green being wide and protected by bunkers in front, the optimal place to land your tee shot is the left side of the fairway. The hole is not a long one but your tee shot in relation to the pin placement may determine whether you get birdie, par, or bogey.
The sixth hole is a short par-3, playing only 162 from the tips, but has a wide, right-to-left sloping green that could make three-putts possible if you don’t land your ball in the correct section.
The eighth hole is a short, very downhill par 4 with a dogleg right from tee to green. Playing only 356 from the back, long hitters could be tempted to try and cut the corner and reach the green in one. The smart play is to hit an iron down the middle of the fairway, which will leave you with nothing more than a wedge for your approach. Make sure to not go long with your second shot however, as the large pond between the 8th and 9th holes is directly beyond the green.
The ninth hole is the hardest on the course, mostly from the length (452 from the back, second longest par-4), but also because there is water along the entire right side which will certainly be problematic for golfers who fade or slice their tee shots. Playing your tee shot over the bunkers directly in front of you is the best way to go, as your ball will roll to the left side of the fairway. Thankfully the green is the longest on the front nine, and it plays slightly downhill, so be weary of your distance and the pin location. Make your par, then reward yourself with something to eat and drink at the turn.
Hole 10 begins a stretch of narrow, tree lined fairways. Keep your tee shot left here to avoid the fairway bunkers on the right that are prime to catch tee shots going right. A front bunker protects the green, so be sure to take enough club if the pin is placed behind it.
The 12th hole is a short par-4 that plays very downhill and has a slight dogleg left. Woods again line both sides of the fairway, so an errant tee shot will likely be lost. Take the easy approach and hit an iron off the tee. You will surely get a good roll, and the pin is relatively open for scoring. Excellent birdie opportunity.
Hole 14 is the longest on the course, but opens back up to give you some more room to miss. Reaching in two is likely difficult for most hitters because of the length, and there are several bunkers – both fairway and in front of the green – to punish any attempts that are not spot on.
The 17th hole is a nice downhill par-4 that doesn’t play as long as it looks thanks to hitting downhill to the fairway. The green is wide, with bunkers on the front-left side. Your tee shot should be in the right section of the fairway to give you the best look on your approach, especially if the pin is in the back. The green also plays sharply uphill from front to back.
The finishing hole is a reachable par-5 with a forced carry over water. The optimal spot for your tee shot is the left side of the fairway as it will leave you with a very short look at the green and will take the large tree out of play. If you’re a long hitter keep the driver in the bag, as it the fairway is slightly downhill from the tee, and if you hit it hard enough you could find the creek. If you don’t get enough on your tee shot, you will be forced to decide to hit a short wedge to the edge of the fairway, or to hit a longer club to the lay-up area right of the large tree. Bunkers protect the green to the right, with the creek on the left. A challenging yet rewarding final hole.
The course is in excellent condition. The fairways are lush and the greens are firm with no visible dead spots. The bunkers are a bit hard, but you are able to cleanly get your ball out. The course layout is an entertaining one in that it will challenge you but still allow scoring opportunities, and you don’t feel like you’ve played the same hole already since each one is unique with its design. The practice facility is top-notch, and I highly recommend stopping in the restaurant for a drink or meal post-round.
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