Ford’s Colony Country Club: Marsh Hawk Course (Williamsburg, VA on 03/15/14)

On days when I play two different courses, if I don’t have an afternoon tee time booked for my second round then I will try to have options. My plan all along was to try to get out as a single here at Ford’s Colony to take advantage of my VSGA discount which is after 12pm on the weekends from January through March. The course normally goes for $59 after noon but for VSGA members it’s only $26. I like to take my time and have some lunch before I call a course to see about getting out a single. If I call them and they tell me a half hour then I’m going to rush over there and have to eat lunch during my round which I don’t find relaxing. So, I had a nice leisurely lunch and then called over to Ford’s Colony. Sure enough, I called over at 1:10pm and was told that I could get out in about 25 minutes. Ford’s Colony isn’t more than 10 minutes from Colonial Heritage so it ended up being the perfect place for my afternoon round.

There are three courses at Ford’s Colony, but only one is open to the public each day as it is technically a private club. I didn’t know a thing about any of the courses and ended up playing the Marsh Hawk course from the Black tees which play 72.2/132/6762. The starter told me that they recently flipped the front and back nines which didn’t mean a thing to me to since I had never played there. However, in the rare instance that someone who has played the course before stumbles upon my blog, I figured that I would at least mention it.

The first thing that I noticed about the course was the green fairways! Since not all the courses in Virginia overseed for the winter, the grass is dormant from November through sometime in April. This yellow or brown grass is a bit sad to look at and it seemed that the fairways and tees here had been dyed or painted green. I didn’t care as there was something happy and calming about the green grass this time of year. I’d say the condition of the course was fair overall. The lower spots of the fairways were a bit wet, but nothing odd this time of year. The spots that were higher were in nice shape and allowed for the ball to sit up giving me a chance to hit a crisp iron. The greens were a bit bumpy and slower than Colonial Heritage but for $26 I couldn’t care less. I made quite a few putts after adjusting my strategy to hit my putts aggressively. One thing that looked like it could use some work was the edges of the greens which were getting patchy. This affected putts from off the green and chips landing in those fringe sections.

The course is more of an “old school” layout with holes that are close together, doglegs, and rolling elevation changes. The course is a community course, but the homes had some separation from the course so they didn’t bother me at all. Many of the homes, and different holes, are separated by trees but I always found my ball if I went into them as it has been cleared out. It is a place where I don’t see the average golfer losing a bunch of golf balls since it tests the finer points of the game like shaping the ball into a slope in the fairway or laying it up to the flat part of the fairway. I found a couple holes tricky to club and it cost me a really big number when I hit driver instead of a 3 wood off the tee on the 7th. The course is well bunkered so it would help to play here a time or two to know which club to hit off the tees and which greenside bunkers to avoid. The greens are smaller than average and some are elevated which favors a good ball striker when it comes to scoring, but I still thought it was fair to play with my missed shots. In fact, if it wasn’t for the windy conditions, I could have put together a very good score.

I cannot say that I found the front nine very interesting as every par 4 played between 377 and 425 yards. I think the best holes on the front were the 4th, 8th, and 9th. The 4th is a 402 yard par 4 with an approach to a semi-island green that is surrounded by bunkers. I missed the green a little right and ended up in a bunker instead of the water which is how I think a course should be design. I hit an average shot, so I ended up with an average result. If I hit a poor shot, I would have ended up in the water. All too often I play courses where bunkers are not used to help the average golfer so it was nice to see the bunker catch my shot instead of it kicking into the water. The 8th is a 196 yard par 3 across the water so it looks intimidating but it has some spots to miss (long and left). The 9th is a par 4 that plays to the top of a hill on the tee shot before a mid iron into a green that slopes from right to left. I had to try to move the ball from right to left off the tee to avoid the bunker left and the fairway running out on the right. The back nine is the better nine in my opinion as it tests different things. The 10th hole is a 360 yard par 4 where its all about placing the tee shot in a flat part in the fairway while the 11th is a long par 5 that requires 3 solid shots. The 13th is a 350 yard par 4 that doglegs severely to the right. My GPS showed that it was only 270 yards to the center of the green so the bigger hitters could have a go at the green off the tee. However, there was water short so I’m not sure that is the play, even if I could carry it that far. The 16th is a 452 yard par 4 that is open and requires a solid long iron or hybrid into the green.

I don’t think that the course is worth $59, but for $26 it was as good of a second round as I could have hoped for. Because it is a private course I had to tiptoe around some of the members and felt awkward playing through a group of them. The pace became much more relaxing on the back nine as play thinned out and I ended up getting around in 3 hours and 45 minutes. For $26 there is no doubt that I would recommend playing here.

#1 approach:

1-1

#1 green:

1-2

#2:

2-1

#3:

3-1

#3 approach:

3-2

#4 green:

4-1

#5:

5-1

#6:

6-1

#6 approach:

6-2

#7:

7-1

#8:

8-1

#8 green:

8-2

#9:

9-1

#10:

10-1

#11:

11-1

#11 from the fairway:

11-2

#12:

12-1

#12 green looking back:

12-3

#13:

13-1

#13 approach:

13-3

#14 approach:

14-1

#15:

15-2

#16:

16-1

#17:

17-1

#18:

18-1

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