Course: Herndon Centennial Golf Course
Location: Herndon, VA
Driving Range: Yes, $7 per token (about 30-40 balls)
Tee Info: White: 5774yds, 68.1/122; Blue: 6197yds, 69.7/126
Written By: Colin Murray
Herndon Centennial is located in the heart of Herndon – only a few minutes from the Old Town area. There are numerous holes where houses line the fairways or a road is visible from the tee box. It is also played around the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, as you have to cross the trail twice during your round. The course is friendly and open, and has been in very good condition the last few times I’ve played it. It is a very good quality municipal course, and is priced that way also ($50/$64 with cart M-T/weekends). The course is well laid out, and despite it being relatively short, there are enough holes with doglegs or uphill/downhill tees and approaches to make you consider which club to use. Water is not really a factor at all, as there’s really only two or three holes that have a small pond to the far left or right (basically catching any big hooks or slices). There are a lot of trees on the course but it is mostly open and you’re able to find your ball and usually hit out from wherever it may have landed; it’s even possible to be on another fairway since most of the holes parallel each other. Greens were in excellent condition; very few unrepaired ball marks, and they had a very soft feel.
The pro-shop/clubhouse is quite small, but boasts JJ’s Deli as it’s grill which is a nice treat. Most locals should recognize the name, as they’ve been a staple in both Herndon and Fairfax. The food is excellent (they’ve won several awards), and they have a very good selection to choose from, even breakfast. There is not much to choose from regarding equipment or clothing, but they do have a selection of shirts, hats, and even shoes for purchase. The carts are all gas powered, tho the last time out I did see some newer electric carts (however they may have been rentals for the tournament I was playing in). The color coding system is used for both the flag placement and the distance markers in the fairway, and there are enough sprinkler heads around that you should always be able to quickly determine how far out you are. A cartgirl does come around with beverages and snacks. There are about 10-12 practice tees, and occasionally they will let you hit from the grass (have not noticed any particular pattern to this however). Putting green is quite large and can accommodate even the busiest times.
The first hole is a medium length par-4, but is the 1hdcp hole for this course. This is a tricky hole for a few reasons: narrow fairway, dogleg left, bunker in the landing area for those shots attempting to draw the turn, OB far-left, and finally bunkers on three sides of the green (left, back, right). Hole 2 is a short par-4 that plays very downhill the whole way. It’s a minor left turn from the tee box to the green, but is totally open for carry shots. Hole 5 is a medium-length par-3 that plays very uphill, and is definitely worth an extra club off the tee. There is a bunker lower-left, but the green is very open aside from that. This is also one of the more tricky greens, as there are breaks in just about every pin-position. Hole 9 is a short par-4 that plays uphill to the green. This is driveable for the long hitters, since it only plays 310yds from the back. If you’ve got it, go for it; the only bunkers are back- and front-left but aren’t too worrisome. If you don’t have it, use a mid or long iron and leave yourself an easy approach.
The first hole on the back is a short, downhill, dogleg right par-4. Playing 343 from the back, you can easily get an extra 25yds or so with your tee shot because of the downgrade. It’s possible to drive the green with a very well struck tee shot. There are trees to the right however, which will make for a difficult second shot if you fade/slice too much. Smart play is a long iron to the edge of the fairway, which should set you up only about 150yds for the approach. Hole 11 brings you back across the trail & road, and is a sharp dogleg left. A tall tree and bunker protect any carries. The fairway turns to the green at only 150yds out, so if you can get your tee shot about 250yds you’ll be in good shape. Hole 15 is a short par-5 that plays very downhill after your tee shot. A well-struck tee will probably even get some roll down the fairway. The crest is only about 230yds out, so it’s quite possible to get under-GIR. Hole 17 is a short, downhill par-5 that has a narrow fairway in the main landing zone. Due to it being only 485 from the back, this hole is definitely reachable in two. Bunkers protect the green on the left, back, and right so if you miss the green there’s a good chance your ball will land there.
It had been a while since I had last played here, but I will definitely be making it back soon for my next round. This course is fun, with many scoring opportunities but also enough doglegs and uphills/downhills to make you think strategy golf. The greens were soft, and provided some tricky putts.