Woodstone Meadows at Massanutten Resort (McGaheysville, VA on 09/13/14)

The other course at the resort, Woodstone Meadows, is a valley course. On the drive from Mountain Greens, the roads dropped me out near the resort check-in building. This building, some surrounding homes, and Woodstone Meadows are located on flat land. It is a par 65 that only plays 5,065 yards (64.2/115 is the rating and slope) from the blue tees. Normally, I don’t get too excited about short courses so this one wasn’t on my “must play” list even though I live nearby. I’m not a big fan of nine hole courses either unless I’m just out there to hack it around with someone who doesn’t play much as these types of courses can turn out to be not very challenging. I still wanted to play it since I was already there and the proshop got me out right away.

I saw that it was a par 65 the night before and prepared myself to hit wedge after wedge and knock driver up near the green on all the par 4’s. That isn’t what happened and I was pleasantly surprised to see that most of the holes are regulation length. There are even two par 5’s which both played over 500 yards. The course is made up of nine par 3’s, seven par 4’s, and two par 5’s. Because most of the holes are par 3’s, I think the course does favor the casual golfer, seniors, women, and younger kids. It is the type of course where a dad could squeeze in a round while on vacation and his kid could ride along and play some golf too as there are plenty of easy holes, especially from the forward tees.

Much of the course was designed with the higher handicapper in mind. The fairways are wide and there are parallel holes separated by mounding so that someone can easily find a ball to play the next shot. There are only a couple holes with forced carries, no severe elevation changes, and no overwhelming length. At the same time though there were enough challenges to keep me, as a lower handicap, interested in the round. I hit everything from a 4 iron to a wedge on the par 3’s, played to elevated greens, and faced plenty of uneven lies. There are greens that are long and narrow to test accuracy while others are wide to test distance control. There are plateaus for pin locations that tested my short game. Overall, it is a course that offers a mix of tests for someone who plays a lot and someone who doesn’t play much.

The fairways at Woodstone Meadows were cut shorter than Mountain Greens and in overall better shape. I think it might be easier to grow grass here because of the open land where the course sits though. The greens were a tad slower and had more footprints, but neither were unexpected because this course is going to get more play from the casual golfer. Slower greens are going to lead to more enjoyable scores and the crowd to which the course caters isn’t going to be as well versed in the etiquette of the game.

I paid my $29 which I think is fair for the course. However, the normal green fee is $67 and at that price I think management is taking advantage of people. The layout isn’t regulation length and some holes play through the condos so to charge that price is outrageous in my opinion. At the VSGA rate though, I’d recommend the course for a 36 hole day as it took the edge off of a mentally involved round earlier in the day.

#1 (366 yard par 4):

The opening hole is the first of three par 4’s on the front nine. It plays like a short par 4 because it drops down to the fairway. The best play is to the fat part of the fairway which is either short of that fairway bunker or past it. The ball will kick to right once it lands and then the approach is going to be semi-blind as it goes back uphill.

1-1

#2 (174 yard par 3):

This par 3 will most likely require a mid iron. It played about a club less for me and stressed that I control the distance. I was worried about missing it short into the bank so I hit it long and had a tough downhill chip. The hole is a little tougher than it looks.

2-1

#3 (501 yard par 5):

This par 5 offers a great shot for a birdie. It moves a little left so the aggressive play is down the left side of the fairway. For those who miss left there is a pond and some out of bounds so be careful. The second shot can chase towards the front of the green and even if it doesn’t end up on the green, it shouldn’t be a tough chip.

3-1 3-2

#4 (140 yard par 3):

This was my favorite hole on the course. It plays a club downhill to a green that is guarded by water on the left. It is playable though as the green slopes from right to left and there is plenty of room to miss to the right. A good iron shot should leave a short birdie putt while an average one could still result in a par.

4-1

#5 (400 yard par 4):

The 5th is ranked as the #4 handicap, but I think it is the toughest hole on the course. It is the longest par 4 on the course so the average hitter probably isn’t going to have less than 150 yards into a green that slopes into a hazard short and right. Make sure to favor the left side on the approach.

5-1

#6 (328 yard par 4):

The course starts to play though the community here. It is a short par 4 that still offers a challenge because it plays uphill and has some fairway bunkers. One option is to play out to the left while the other option is to carry the fairway bunker down the right which shortens the hole.

6-1

#7 (177 yard par 3):

This looks like a boring par 3 in the picture because of all the cut down grass left of the cart path. However, I had fun trying to pick a club because it plays downhill to a narrow target. The green moves from front left to back right so a fade is going to be best, but a miss left could get a favorable bounce. The greenside bunker can catch shots before they get into trouble so it is well thought out.

7-1 7-2

#8 (148 yard par 3):

This par 3 offers some variety. It plays slightly uphill and plays to a tabletop green complex. There isn’t any hidden trouble, but it does require some thought to pick the best spot to play to given a front or back flag. The flag was in the back when I played so I hit a shot that I knew wouldn’t miss long.

8-1

#9 (190 yard par 3):

This is the longest, and I think the toughest, par 3. It plays slightly uphill and looks tougher because of the carry over the water. The green has a front, middle, and back tier and I had a 40 foot putt that rose and broke a few feet.

9-1

#10 (385 yard par 4):

This par 4 has a fairway that slopes from left to right so the difficulty was a stance with the ball below my feet. I also couldn’t see the green surface from 140 yards out.

10-1 10-2

#11 (165 yard par 3):

There is a ridge on the left side of the green that makes the hole tougher than it looks.

11-1 11-2

#12 (160 yard par 3):

I was trying to hit one close here but I pulled it. I ended up with a 30 foot putt that was straight downhill on this left to right sloping green. I didn’t judge my lag putt well and made bogey so next time I’d make an effort to leave it below the hole.

12-1

#13 (172 yard par 3):

This is pretty much a copy of the 11th. It is about the same distance and plays the same direction. It has a flatter green so I could see a couple putts dropping on this green.

13-1

#14 (387 yard par 4):

I enjoyed this par 4 as it required a good tee shot for a good score. However, it does have some forced carries which could be trouble for a higher handicapper. I started my tee shot out over the bunker with a little fade and it ended up down the right side of the fairway. The holes moves to the left and water guards the green to the left.

14-1

#15 (125 yard par 3):

This is the shortest par 3 on the course and it was a blast to play. Visually, I think it looks good because it plays from an elevated tee to a green that is surrounded by bunkers. The hole reminds me of the one that would be found in the Pacific Northwest with the trees behind the green so that might have been why I liked it so much too. The green slopes from back to front so someone could end up with a hole in one here. No matter what, it is a chance for a good score.

15-1

#16 (353 yard par 4):

This is a shorter par 4 that offers some options off the tee. Someone can layup out towards the fairway bunker or take a driver over the trees to the left and try to cut the corner. There isn’t any trouble to the left so playing a wedge from the rough would be my preference.

16-1

#17 (361 yard par 4):

This hole requires two straight shots. The approach should favor the right side of the green because anything missing left can kick down the bank and into the water.

17-1 17-2

#18 (533 yard par 5):

The last hole is a probably going to be a three shot hole for most people because it plays uphill. The fairway is probably the widest on the course but it narrows when laying it up. The third shot plays uphill to a semi-blind green so a club more is my suggestion.

18-1

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