Course: Goose Creek
Driving Range: None; chipping and putting green next to first hole
Tee Info: Blue: 6410yds (71.8/130); White: 5937yds (69.6/125); Red: 5170yds (70.7/123)
Written By: Colin Murray
Named for the creek that runs parallel to most of the back-9, Goose Creek Golf Club is located in Leesburg, VA off Route 7. Goose Creek has been around since 1952, and the legend Ben Hogan himself owns the course record (59). Originally designed by Bill Gordon, it was redesigned in 2007 by Rick Jacobson. To describe this course, hilly would be the best adjective; a majority of the holes have some sort of noticeable uphill or downhill. Many golfers (yours truly included) find these types of courses frustrating, because they tend to be tougher to navigate and require more precision with your shots to score. But, if you enjoy the terrain changes, this course would suit you just fine. It had rained significantly the night before, so the course was quite wet in many areas when I played. In my opinion however, there was way more standing water than what had come down, leading one to deduce that the course has a poor drainage system. One bunker, for example, was completely full of water – you’d have to play it as a water hazard there was so much in there. Most bunkers had some water in them, and there were significant puddles across many other areas on the course. The fairways were pretty lush however, which is probably a result of extra water being around to prevent it from drying out, so it keeps growing. The greens were in relatively good shape, but I’ve come to expect many unrepaired ball marks on some of the less expensive public courses, since you tend to have more variety of player types there. Cost here is pretty good for a Northern VA course – peak rate from open until 11am on the weekends is only $52. $38 for twilight on the weekends ($30 M-T) is also a good deal. If you have the availability to play before 7am on the weekdays, they have an early bird special of only $28. On the score card is a handy description of each hole and how best to play it.
I walked into the pro-shop and was pleasantly surprised by its look. They have a nice selection of apparel (shirts, hats, and shoes), clubs, and accessories for sale, and it was all laid out very nicely. There is a larger than normal grill area also, and had the usual fare plus a few other items like BBQ and chicken sandwiches. There is a patio that overlooks the 3rd tee box and part of the 2nd green. There is no driving range, which I was disappointed to learn since I like to warm-up before my round begins. The putting/chipping green is right next to the first hole and is in okay condition, not a large area but has about 5 cups to putt to. The carts are gas and do not have GPS. Super-secret tip: if you want to have some fun, see if Cart #8 is available. It was given to me by two guys on their way out when I was coming in…turns out, that cart does not have a governor on it, so it goes really fast. I mean, really really fast. If it’s available, take it, and thank me later.
Playing only 475 from the back, Hole 1 has a steep uphill slope from tee to fairway. Land your tee shot at the top of the hill, and you will have a great look at a reachable green. If your tee does not reach the top, your second shot will likely be blind to the green, and it does dogleg right slightly from that main landing area. There are front left and right bunkers protecting the green for those under-GIR attempts, and the green slopes from back to front. Hole 2 plays downhill from fairway to green by about a club length. It’s not a long hole, so driver might not be necessary to have less than 150yds on your approach. Falling short of the green here is better than going long, since there is water and brush that is OB beyond the green. Next is Goose Creek’s signature hole: an uphill par-3 that has bunkers running along the left side and hilly rough on the right. It is medium distance at 169 from the back, but plays a club length more with the elevation change. Hole 6 is the 1hdcp for having OB on the entire left side, being just over 400yds, and playing uphill from fairway to green. The right side is open, but being just left of center will leave you with the best look. Hole 7 is very short, only 308 from the back, and likely plays even less because of the downhill. If you’ve got the distance, a crushed driver could get you on in one. The green on Hole 8 is uphill and guarded by bunkers in front and hazard in back. Hole 9 is a par-3 that plays just under 200yds from the back, and was once nominated as one of the toughest holes in the area. Your tee must carry at least 150yds of hazard in front, but the green is open behind. There are bunkers on each side, and the green slopes sharply from left to right. Be sure you don’t go outside of the bunker on the right, or else you’ll be in more thick brush.
Goose Creek (the body of water this time) runs parallel to the left of the first 3 holes on the back, so keep that in mind as you line up for your shots. Hole 10 is another par-4 that plays well under 350 from the back. It doglegs right slightly from the tee, so a fade is ideal here. Heed the warning of not going too far left, but the fairway slopes sharply from right-to-left; going right will likely leave you with the ball above your feet for your next shot. The approach is difficult, as it plays almost a full two clubs higher with the increase in elevation. Bunkers also protect each side, so proceed with caution. All this for the 3rd-easiest hole on course! Holes 11 and 12 are quite similar, and are the 4 and 2 hdcps, respectively. They are both long par-4s, each playing over 415yds. These do not have any real incline or decline, so enjoy the flat terrain. Just beyond the tee box on 12 are some trees with limbs that linger into the potential flight path of a shot. If you can hit a draw, a light one here would work to keep your trajectory right of center in order to come back left and avoid those trees. The green is two-tiered, so be aware of the pin’s position. Hole 13 is the first of two lengthy par-3s, playing 236 from the back. Bunkers in front on both sides protect a small green. There is also a large tree that is in play if your tee goes right and short, as it will force you to punch out to the left into the fairway, short of the green. Holes 14 and 15 are back-to-back par-5s, the former being uphill, the latter downhill. 14 is a split-fairway with trees and OB left, and slopes sharply from left to right. Your approach is uphill to a two-tiered green, which could make going for it difficult. On 15, play your tee shot to the left of the downhill fairway, and if you are a long hitter you will have a good chance at going for it. For most golfers however, laying-up to just short of the creek is the smart play, since it will leave you less than 100yds out. Hole 16 is another long par-3, playing 227 from the back. The green is the deepest on the course, so it is at least accommodating. The finishing hole is the 18hdcp, leaving you a good opportunity to end on a good note. The relatively flat-leveled green is downhill from the fairway but has bunkers on the front, left, and right.
As you can now tell, pretty much every hole has some incline or decline to it. There are definitely some good opportunities to score, but overall the course is moderately difficult because of the constant changing slope. Since you may not always hit the correct club for the elevation change, short game skill will benefit you greatly in getting up-and-down from around the green. The back tees play almost a full 500yds longer, so each hole has an average distance of about 27yds between tees. This results in hitting driver a lot more often from the tips on par-4s, whereas from the whites hitting a 3W or hybrid might play.