Winton Country Club (Amherst, VA on 05/04/13)

I finished up my morning round with plenty of the day left to do whatever and for me that “whatever” was more golf. My only goals for an afternoon round were to find a course that was not very expensive and that did not have recently aerated greens. I made a couple calls and decided to take a longer way back home to make a stop at Winton Country Club which is about an hour south of Charlottesville. The course cost $28 to walk which wasn’t even the twilight rate and the greens were aerated 6 weeks ago. The course was able to get me out right away, but there were quite a few groups on the course so the pace was very slow considering that it was a less than ideal day for golf. The cloud cover started to burn off for a few holes on the back nine, but for the most part it still remained overcast and breezy.

The course is an older course, opening in 1970 per the course website, but it has aged well and was a blast to play. The course has some older characteristics such as some elevated greens and doglegs, but I would not call this your traditional country club course. The course was a pretty easy walk and while most tees were close to the greens, each hole was spaced well from the others. Winton had decent size greens and when I think of an old school course I think of small greens. The course has bent grass greens which was a huge plus in my book as I am so tired of the bermuda grass here in the Southeast. Even though I did not make many putts until the end of my round I felt comfortable on the greens except for over reading them early in the round. I also enjoyed that the course was open off the tee. I have struggled off of the tee recently and was at peace playing here because a wayward drive probably would not end up out of play. I played the Blue Tees at 72.4/133/6780 which turned out to be a bit more difficult because the course is a par 71.

The course starts with five straight par 4’s, a par 3, and another par 4 before the 1st par 5, which is the 8th hole. This is a bit unusual, but the opening par 4’s were short enough that they did allow for some scoring. Each of these opening par 4’s were doglegs and the 2nd was especially interesting as it needed a tee shot over the corner of the dogleg to find the fairway. The 3rd green had a nice view of the local mountains. The 6th is a pretty par 3 that plays 178 yards downhill in an open area of the course. After that the course starts getting tougher. The 7th is a 444 yard par 4 that looks tight off the tee because you have to fire the tee shot over the trees on the left side of the hole. However it turns out there is more room out there than it seemed. The 2nd shot is played uphill with a long iron to a green with a bunker in the front. The 9th is one of my favorite holes on the course as it played from an elevated tee to the green and had nice views of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. The 12th is the next memorable hole as it is a 475 yard par 4 with trouble left. The 12th is one of those holes where someone can see the status of their game because it requires quality shots. My favorite hole was the 13th which played downhill and had nice views of the mountains again. The 17th was my least favorite hole as it is a 317 yard par 4 that requires a 175 tee shot to the fairway where the hole goes 90* left. Too much or too little club and you are blocked out by trees on each side of the fairway. There is no way hit it over the trees off the tee and it just seemed like the course ran out of property when it was designed.

The course conditions were good as the greens had recovered from the aeration and were great to putt. I am used to the little bumps that come when putting on bent grass greens, but it is something that I will take as I didn’t have to worry about any grain affecting my putts. The fairways looked like they were still coming out of winter shape but my lies were good. Something that stood out is that the course played firm. Drives ran out and 2nd shots hitting the greens would release 20 to 30 feet so it was almost impossible to get an approach close to a front pin. I wish this course was closer to home as I would be happy to call it my home course if it was within a half hour drive.

#1:

1-1

#1 approach:

1-2

#2:

2-1

#3:

3-1

#3 green:

3-3

#4:

4-1

#5:

5-1

#6:

6-1

#7:

7-1

#7 approach:

7-2

#8 approach:

8-2

#9:

9-1

#11:

11-1

#12:

12-1

#12 approach:

12-2

#13:

13-1

#15:

15-1

#16:

16-1

#17:

17-1

#18:

18-1

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