Royal Virginian Golf Course (Louisa, VA on 06/29/13)

After playing a couple very nicely maintained courses I was looking to keep it cheap for today’s round. A few miles off of I-64 in-between Charlottesville and Richmond is the Royal Virginian Golf Course. I have driven by the exit maybe a dozen times and always have been hesitant to play there because I didn’t know what to expect. The course website is very basic and from what I have read the course does not have a large maintenance budget. The course was added to Golfnow a month or two ago and I found a good deal for $20. I set my expectations low because of the price and some recent reviews online but ended up pleasantly surprised with the course.

It took me a little over 30 minutes to get to the course and the place was pretty empty when I got there about 12:30pm. I had a 12:50pm tee time but was able to get out a bit early and cruised around in less than three hours so that was a nice plus. I played the Blue Tees at 72.7/138/6806 and immediately discovered that the course had some character. The 1st hole is a reachable par 5 that moves left and is a good risk/reward hole. It is reachable but the shot into the green had to avoid a couple well placed trees and a creek that cuts across the front of the green. The 2nd hole has some slope to the fairway and mounding around the green which adds some intrigue to the course while the 4th is a dogleg left par 4 with a fairway that angles. A few other holes had this angled fairway design and I think it adds a nice challenge. Instead of hitting up the fairway I was hitting across it which narrowed the hole. So, if I wanted to hit driver I had to be really accurate or I could lay back to the part of the fairway before the angle. Some of the starting holes are open off the tee before the courses heads into the woods. The course had more elevation change that I was expecting which is evidenced on the 6th and 7th holes which were pretty tricky off the tee trying to get the right distance into the green. With some decent swings the stretch from 11 through 13 can result in some birdies as the holes are shorter and include back to back par 5’s. The 13th is a 322 yard par 4 that plays downhill. It is another good risk/reward hole because if someone is driving it well a driver can hit the slope and chase down by the green. The 14th is a pretty par 3 and the course ends with a 432 yard dogleg left par 4 that had a blind tee shot to another angled fairway. The course had a few too many fairways that I couldn’t see the landing areas which always drives me crazy. Most of the time I could see 200 or so yards but I couldn’t see where I would be landing my driver at 230 to 250 yards. Overall I thought the layout was solid with some brilliant holes. There were a few too many trees for my game, but that is common for the area.

The conditions were not as bad as I was expecting either. That said, they would still keep me from coming back, but it was worth $20. The tees were longer, but not unkempt and the same with most fairways. A couple fairways were pretty bad with spots that should be ground under repair and the rough produced a thin lie many times which made chipping tough. The greens were slow but there was an outside chance at a longer putt dropping. Sometimes greens will bounce uncontrollably, but these greens didn’t bounce all the time. Some greens on the course were firmer while others were a bit spongy. The spongy greens really affected chips because sometimes the ball would hit and stop while other times the ball would skip. One thing I noticed was that many greens had a constant slope so the pin was stuck in what I would call a borderline unfair spot. It is too bad that the conditions aren’t up to snuff here as I think the course is fair test with some holes that fun to play.

#1:

1-1

#1 green:

1-2

#2 approach:

2-2

#3:

3-1

#4:

4-1

#4 approach:

4-2

#5 approach:

5-2

#6:

6-1

#6 looking back:

6-2

#7:

7-1

#8:

8-1

#11:

11-1

#12:

12-1

#13:

13-1

#13 approach:

13-2

#14:

14-1

#18 approach:

18-1

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