The last couple days have been unseasonably warm and the forecast was the same for today. I hadn’t played golf since I got back my from Texas trip and decided to cut away from the Presidents Cup coverage to go check out a course that I thought could be a nice surprise. Shenvalee is only about 45 miles from Charlottesville in a straight line, but it turned out to be an hour and fifteen minute drive on my scenic route over the mountains. Now that I’ve been here a year I have played many of the courses within an hour drive from town and need to start venturing out a bit farther to play new courses. The leaves on the trees are starting to change color so it turned out to be a nice drive to and from the course which is in the Shenandoah Valley.
The road I took to the course dropped down from the mountains into the town of New Market, VA. I was a bit surprised that the course was right in the middle of town as I expected it to be tucked up closer to the mountains. There are three nines at Shenvalee and a hotel on site. The hotel seemed to be showing its age and reminded me of the hotel at Ingleside Resort which is down I-81. Neither of these are places where I would have any interest in staying and really don’t see how this place can try to sell itself as a stay and play facility. What I did see after completion of my round is a fun place to play and a place that would be a good location for a buddies round. As mentioned the course has three nines which are called Olde, Creek, and Miller. I played the Olde and Creek nines and enjoyed the Creek nine the best. I played the Blue tees at 6109/69.1/126 and it played to a par of 71. The Olde nine is the original nine and constructed in the late 1920’s so it is no surprise that many of the holes are simple designs. This nine is 2905 yards and a par 36 so there were plenty of opportunities for birdies. There are three short par 4s around 300+ yards, a short par 3, and both par 5’s played under 450 yards. The layout is a parkland style and has small greens. A couple of the greens were almost pancake flat so it gives an idea of the game about a century ago. The first two holes are short par 4’s where the challenge is to get the tee shot to the correct spot with sloping fairways. The 3rd is a 434 yard par 5 but it was a made tougher as a creek cut across the blind fairway at 230 yards so I actually hit an iron off the tee but still was able to reach to the green in two shots. The 4th is a 179 yard par 3 that has out of bounds right behind the green where a convenience store is located. The 6th is a 145 yard par 3 with a nice view of the mountains before the course starts to get a bit more interesting. The 7th is a short par 4 but one that requires accuracy off the tee to set up a birdie putt. The 8th is a par 5 that plays downhill and then back up hill before getting to the 9th which is a 360 yard par 4 that doglegs left. The 9th is the hardest hole on the nine because the fairway slopes hard from left to the right and there is a tree in the middle of the fairway. An aggressive tee shot will challenge the out of bounds left. I moved over to the Creek nine which is more traditional and my favorite nine of the two that I played. The 1st is a long par 5 that snakes left off the tee and then back right to the green. The 3rd is the other par 5 and it is 581 yards but played from an elevated tee to a wide fairway. The 4th is a 211 yard par 3 which is my favorite hole because of the view from the elevated tee. It was a long par 3 but very fair. The 5th and 6th test someone’s game from the tee more than the other holes on the course before the 7th is another pretty downhill par 3. The 7th (148 yards) is a good test because it played at least a club downhill to a green surrounded by trouble. The 8th moves left and I had a blind short iron into the green. The 9th is a 424 yard par 4 that wasn’t all that special as the green ended up by the hotel.
The course is not worth the drive from Charlottesville to play again because there are other much better options in both maintenance and design nearby. That said, for another golf course nut like me who wants to add another course to the list of places played then it is worth a trip at least once. The course aerated about a month ago and I was surprised that the greens were in the final healing stage. Because of this they wobbled a bit but the speed seemed unaffected by the aeration holes. The fairways for the most part were in good shape with a couple brown spots and soft spots. Something that I noticed is that some of the fairways shot the ball forward and were firm while others were over watered and softer. The tees were a bit shaggy and maybe a third of the tee boxes were sloped which is something that I don’t like. I paid $28 on Golfnow for my time which I think is reasonable and I have seen it for lower. I’d recommend it for about $25 if the course is within a half hour drive.
Olde #8 approach:
Olde #8 green:
Creek #1 green:
Creek #3 green:
Creek #6 green:
Creek #8 green looking back: