Course: Stonewall Golf Club
Location: Gainesville, VA
Driving Range: Yes, grass; large buckets $10.
Tee Info: Black – 7002yds (74.2/143); Blue – 6582yds (71.9/140); White – 6191 (70.2/136); Red – 5681 (72.5/126); Gold – 4889 (67.9/114)
Written By: Colin Murray
Named for the famous Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, Stonewall Golf Club is nestled in Gainesville, VA on the edge of Lake Manassas. This Tom Jackson-designed course features rolling fairways, lush greens, strategically placed bunkers, and some gorgeous views. There is a good mix of scoring opportunities and difficult holes, and getting your tee shot in the fairway is put at a premium as many holes have water or homes/OB where an errant drive will quickly lead to dropped shots. The course was in great condition for early May, with the tee boxes, fairways, greens, and even the thick rough being very green and well-kept. It was very fun to play, and the views alone are worth the higher-than-average cost for your round. If one finds themselves wanting to play Stonewall several times a year, purchasing a Patriot Club membership provides the golfer with some good benefits: one free round, reduced green fees throughout the year, as well as discounts on merchandise and restaurant purchases.
The pro shop is your typical setup, with a variety of apparel items for sale plus the usual equipment offerings of clubs, balls, and more. The course provides electric golf carts equipped with touch-screen GPS monitors that show the layout for each hole, as well as distances to all hazards, front/back of the green, and the exact distance to the day’s pin placement. The driving range consists of grass tees, and the putting green offers a variety of slopes to get your green-reading skills tested early. Inside the club house is the Brass Cannon restaurant, which offers a diverse menu including appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and entrees.
The first hole is a short uphill dog-leg right with a semi-blind landing area. There are bunkers on the right at the top of the hill that if you aim your tee shot over will allow you to cut the corner. The approach is to an expansive green with a bunker along the right side. It is the second-easiest hole on the course, but as with many golf holes, know your abilities – the bunkers are strategically placed, and too far right is OB. Hole 3 is a dog-leg left par 5, that after the bunkers on the left is all straight and downhill, making it reachable in two for long hitters. Aiming over the bunkers and you’ll set yourself up nicely. The fourth hole is the first par-3 on the course, and is described on the club’s website as “sadistic.” It looks intimidating – about 200yds long with water in front – but there is a large collection area in front of the green for any tee shots that fall short (even 150yds will clear the water). Enjoy the view, as between the houses on the right and Lake Manassas on the left, it makes for a pretty hole. Hole 6 is the toughest on the course: 550yds from the tips, OB on both sides, and water protecting the green. The smart play is to lay-up and leave yourself with a short chip for GIR, which would take the water out of play. The green slopes sharply from back to front, so anything landing on that front edge area could roll back into the water. Number 9 is a relatively simple, straight-forward hole that has a wide fairway but a well-protected green that is two-tiered from front-left to back-right.
In addition to providing some fantastic views, the back 9 will test all aspects of your game, as it winds around Lake Manassas, thus bringing much more wind into play. The 10th fairway is uphill and quite narrow, and leaves little room for error. Staying on the right side of the fairway ensures the easiest approach, as it will take the bunkers on the front-left of the green out of play. After finishing the long par-4 10th, you advance to the 11th which is by far the shortest par-4, playing 312/330/375. Driver is not recommended, but rather take a 3W or 5W (or hybrid/long iron) and put it down the middle. The fairway runs out about 250yds straight away from the tee box, so a slight fade (or draw for you lefties) would work nicely, and set you up with a wedge approach. The green is long but narrow, and anything over the green is downhill and likely wet. Hole 12 is an uphill par-3 that requires an extra club before adjusting for the wind. Long is safe as it’s all rough, but there is a large bunker on the right, and too far left is dangerous. Hole 13 is unique and requires some strategy. Your tee shot is a forced carry over water, and the rest of the hole is a left-turn from the tee box. There is a center bunker well placed to catch any short second shots, but with the right club you’ll easily carry it and leave yourself with a light wedge going into a green that slopes heavily from front to back; aim well short of the pin to allow the ball to roll up to the pin. Hole 15 is a dog-leg left that has one of the longest greens on the course, so a tee shot in the fairway will allow a relatively easy approach. Enjoy the views from the green; it’s one of the best on the course. A par-3, hole 17 is not as scary as it looks – forced carry over water, green surrounded by bunkers. Go up one club if the pin is in the back, as there is a nasty ridge in the middle of the green that will make any putts going up and over extremely difficult. The finishing hole has two water carries and water along the entire right side to catch any sliced shots. Get it in the fairway, then decide if your longer clubs are straight enough to reach the green or bail-out area just short of the green, as the fairway runs out with about 135yds remaining. The green is well protected with bunkers on all sides, plus the same water on far right.
This was my first time playing Stonewall, and I was thoroughly impressed: excellent condition and some beautiful views. I played a scramble as part of a tournament, so it was hard to tell what I actually shot, but safe to say I lost several balls to either water or OB woods. Despite some frustration with those lost balls, the course was fun to play with such a mix of hole types. As noted earlier, there are many holes with good scoring chances, but it is easy to find yourself in a precarious situation if you are not accurate off the tee. The rough is very thick, and add in plentiful water holes and many house-lined fairways, the weak golfer can see their score shoot up quickly thanks to dropped shots. However, even a bad round will not seem as bad when you are playing on such a quality golf course.
The greens are very fast and sensitive. I played today and the greens were wet and aerated and the ball still rolled fast and smooth. Make sure you walk a full 360 all the way around each and every line! Also, unless you stick it like a pro the shots will bounce and roll.
The GPS is amazingly accurate and gives you exact distances to bunkers and water so that will never be an issue for you. It also gives you the exact pin locations! And all distances are to the pin.