Course: South Riding Golf Club
Location: South Riding, VA
Driving Range: Yes; large buckets $10, not included with round
Tee Info: Club: White (5720yds; 68.5/118); Medal: Green (6070yds; 69.8/126); Tournament: Blue (6473yds; 71.6/132); Championship: Gold (7148yds; 74.8/140)
Written By: Colin Murray
South Riding was designed by Dan Maples, and opened in 1997. This course is the sister course to Pleasant Valley GC, and they are located only a few miles from each other. The course is relatively open, but there are many fairways that are lined with various forms of OB: housing property, roads, and course edges. This course is a hybrid of “American” and links: there are some holes that are wide open while others have tight fairways, there are almost 3 bunkers per hole, and the grass is the tall/thick type you’d find on links-style courses. It gives you some flexibility with how difficult you want your round to be based on the tee box you choose. I like the “Medal” tee box option, as it is a true combo of the Club & Tournament tees: you tee off half from the former and half from the latter. Note: this course does not allow the use of push- or pull-carts. Walking and riding are the same costs, and dress code (collared shirt required for men, women must have a collar or sleeves; denim, tank-tops, t-shirts, spandex, etc are prohibited), is strictly enforced, even on the range.
The pro shop is on the smaller side, but has a nice selection of balls, tees, hats, shirts, and even clubs. It is adjacent to the grill/lounge area, which has a big screen tv and several tables to relax at after a round. Beer is sold, as well as standard fare for reasonable prices. The driving range is in good condition, and has about 15 mats to hit from. There is a grass section directly in front of the mats, but is only open for use before 12pm. Large buckets are $10. The putting green is large, and there is an area for chipping & bunker practice. One of the best things about this course is it has all electric golf carts that have GPS monitors. The display will tell you all the info you need on the hole, and always knows exactly where the flag is for the day.
Hole 1 is a long par-5 with a sharp dog-leg left. A high draw would work here, as even with some trees on the left it is possible to curve it over and around them, and if you play the back tees you can probably fly them and cut off some distance without needing the draw. Even for the long hitters, if you don’t draw it around the trees you will still be a ways out for your second shot, and will need to lay-up. Keep your second shot straight and you will be setup nicely for a short GIR attempt. Par is a good score here. Hole 2 is one of many short par-4s where using a 3W off the tee is advised. OB trees & houses line both sides of the fairway, so keeping your tee shot straight is key. The green is a little uphill so be sure you have the right club. Hole 3 is a par-5 that is downhill from the tee shot, but has a creek that definitely comes into play for your second shot if your first is not long enough. A bunker protects the lower-right side also, so if you do go for it and come up short you may get stuck there. Hole 8 is a very short par-4, playing under 330 from the Tournament/Medal tees, and under 300 from the Club. The fairway also runs out at about 250 from the second tee box, so a long iron or hybrid off the tee is necessary.
Hole 10 is a short par-5 that plays downhill from the tee by at least 20yds. It’s definitely possible to get home in 2 here, since it plays under 500 from the Tournament tee. Definitely more reward than risk, since the only real danger are two bunkers on the right side of the green. After two easier holes to start the back 9, holes 12 & 13 get quite difficult as the 3rd & 1st hdcp holes on the course. Hole 12 has a creek that cuts down the middle of the fairway, which runs out about 240yds from the second tee box. If you’re really long off the tee, you can hit driver and fly the creek, but the smart play here is to hit a long iron or hybrid that will leave you just under 150yds out. Hole 13 has a very narrow fairway that cuts to the left side of some marsh area, but it is very difficult to land your tee shot there. Some well placed trees on the left near the tee boxes make it an extra tough hole if you have a fade/slice, since those trees prevent you from aiming too far left. The fairway runs out about 225yds to the marsh, and if you’re anywhere under about 50yds from that marsh area, your second shot will be blind. If you can keep your tee shot left you’ll be in perfect shape for your approach of only 150yds. Whatever you do, do not let your approach shot fade, since you will most definitely end up in the marsh, which is OB. Hole 14 is a medium distance par-3, but has a large pond and bunkers in front. If the pin is in the front, be sure to take enough club to cover the water, but if the pin is in the back the hazard should not be in play. The finishing holes are relatively short, and not very difficult; the par-5 15th will likely be the last hole you’ll use your driver. Hole 16 has several bunkers to the left and right of the fairway, and water to the far right. Hole 17 is downhill and a full 90-degree turn left, and the green is hidden from the tee box because of trees & woods on the left. It is possible to fly the trees and totally cut off the dogleg, which you can do with a hybrid or 3W (I used a hybrid and landed inches from the green) – or a Bubba Watson 40yd hook shot. If you want to play it safe however, then use your 200yd club to put it right down the fairway and leave yourself under 150yds out.
This is my home course and I always enjoy playing here. It is fun to play, and offers many scoring chances with enough difficulty to make you frustrated at times. The greens are large but never straight, so putting well is a premium and will definitely keep your score low. I like strategy golf and having to decide which the best club to hit off the tee is, and not always bringing out the driver, and this course definitely has holes for that.