Packsaddle Ridge Golf Club (Keezletown, VA on 07/04/13)

I figured that most folks would get their Fourth of July golf in early in the morning so I did a couple things around the house and called the course around noon to see if I could get out in the afternoon. I was told that they were wide open so I left a little after 1pm and got there around 2pm. The drive over the mountains was pretty and I dodged a thunderstorm which is always nice. Much to my surprise, I have not gotten rained out in any rounds since moving to the East Coast. Oddly, just the snow out earlier this year. Packsaddle Ridge sits up against one of the mountains on the eastern edge of the Shenandoah Valley and while it feels worlds away from everything, it is only 15 minutes off I-81 and close to Harrisonburg. The road into the course heads up the mountain and passes by the front nine. In fact, all but a few of the holes on the front are visible from the road so the ride in reminded me of Tot Hill Farm in this respect. I think this is a cool feature of a course as it got me excited to play before getting to the parking lot.

I grudgingly ended up playing the Black Tees at 74.2/139/7024 but really could have gone for a combo set of tees as the Blue Tees played only 70.7/131/6398. The 1st hole is a 415 yard par 4 that played into the hill with trouble left. The miss is right off the tee, but the miss there ends up with a hook lie for a cut shot around the a couple trees. The 2nd hole is a 559 yard par 5 that plays down hill with trouble all down the left and some more trees that could block out an approach. I do not like a tough start or finish as I think courses should give an amateur the chance to get into the round with a decent score and finish well. The 3rd is a par 3 with a small green surrounded by trouble, the 4th has out of bounds close to the green, and the 5th has a hidden creek in the fairway. The opening holes were frustrating to play before getting to a couple good holes to close out the front nine. The 7th is a long par 3 to an elevated green that required hitting a solid shot, the 8th is a 459 yard par 4 from an elevated tee with a great view, and the 9th is probably the fairest hole on the course. The back features more of the same with most holes being a bit on the crazy side with a couple good ones. The 10th is a par 4 that plays downhill with a nice view of the valley before a stretch of odd holes from the 12th to the 14th. The 12th is a long par 3 that played two clubs up the hill. In my opinion an amateur has no way to get a long iron high enough to hit any sort of decent shot here. The 13th fairway drops off on the right with an approach to a blind green and the 14th is short par 4 without a view of the green from tee. The 15th, a downhill par 3, was my favorite hole on the course because of the elevation change. For the most part the holes on the back alternate playing up and down the hill.

I hate to say this but the conditions were horrible for a $45 twilight time. I have played my share of municipal courses over the years and the conditions here were worse than many of those courses. I think my price point would have been around $25 for it to be worth the drive. The fairways were long enough that I could not clip the ball to spin it so there was not much advantage to playing from the fairway versus the rough. Some fairways even had little flowers growing in them. The greens were slow and some had mushrooms growing in them. The conditions were a surprise as most other places around here that I played in the last couple months have been in good shape. The positives are that the course had some fun holes to play, great views, and the pace of play was awesome as I got around in about three hours. The view from the 13th green shows how scenic Virginia can be.

#1:

1-1

#1 approach:

1-2

#2 from the fairway:

2-2

#2 green looking back:

2-3

#3 green:

3-2

#4:

4-1

#5:

5-1

#7:

7-1

#8:

8-1

#9:

9-1

#10:

10-1

#12:

12-1

#13:

13-1

#13 green looking back:

13-3

#14:

14-1

#15:

15-1

#16:

16-1

#17:

17-1

#18:

18-1

 

 

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