After our morning round we ended up back where we started the day, in the parking lot at the other two courses. We were a few minutes late for this tee time as well, but it still didn’t matter. It was gloomy and the skies were still threatening rain. The staff joked with us about heading out to play in the conditions but we braved it and got started about 2:30pm. My VSGA book allows one play October 11th or later for $26 and the proshop actually gave my friend that rate too! The normal rate this time of year is $70 and it is close to $100 during the summer months so the savings certainly add up when using the discount book. We followed a walking single around for the first seven holes before finally catching up with a group on the 16th hole. We played in about 4 hours which I thought was fine for a weekend and considering that it was cart path only.
The Cobb course, designed by George Cobb, typically gets ranked among the top five public courses in the state from year to year. The course has hosted collegiate tournaments and is the site of the qualifier for the nearby Greenbrier Classic. So, to play a course of that caliber for less than $30 is a steal to say the least. You’ll notice the name George Cobb again from another review on this trip so the only thing that I’ll say this time around is that I like his designs.
The course opened in 1972 and is the most traditional of the three courses on the property. After playing the other two courses first, I expected the Cobb course to be similar. I was amazed that it has very little in common with the courses. In fact, the only thing that it might have in common is its location. The other courses seemed like a wild ride through nature while the Cobb course was more like a nice walk in the park. There aren’t any severe elevation changes, no dense woods come into play, and there aren’t any stunning views like at the other courses. I think the less dramatic Cobb course is the perfect compliment to the other courses and that it serves as a reminder of golf in years past.
The Cobb course is a parkland style layout with gentle elevation changes, greens that slope from back to front, and tee boxes that are close to the previous greens. This makes it the perfect walking course which the whole family could enjoy one evening while on vacation. The course is built on a large enough piece of land that the parallel holes have plenty of separation, which can be abnormal for a parkland course. Play from the other holes shouldn’t be a bother unless someone hits a really bad shot. The land itself isn’t that interesting as some older homes line the perimeter holes, but Cobb designed a nice mixture of holes that kept my attention.
For the most part, the fairways are wide and hitting them isn’t necessary for a good score if the rest of someone’s game shows up. The gigantic greens generate most of the difficulty because they test someone’s ability to control the distance with the irons. There are some funny shaped greens with random tongues so there is the potential for some wild pin locations. If someone isn’t hitting the irons solid then it is going to put a lot of stress on the putter to try to two putt from long distance. A three putt bogey, even from 30 or 40 feet, is one of the most deflating things in the game for me so I think the course favors someone who is mentally tough. That might be extra important because the course doesn’t look very difficult, but it can be an easy course at which to make a lot bogeys. There are a couple water hazards and doglegs throughout the course which add some interest too.
Even with all the recent rain, the course was in great shape for this time of year. Because it is a flatter design, it had some spots of casual water and a few cups were filled with water. The tees and fairways were a bit longer than the Woodhaven course, but nothing that the $26 green fee couldn’t make up for! The greens were slower than the Woodhaven course but still rolled nicely.
We played the blue tees which play 72.2/137/6611, but Cobb was thinking about the future when he designed the course. The black tees play a little over 7100 yards so it was almost as if he saw that the game would be dominated by today’s long bombers. The thing that I love about the course is that is allows for recovery and that no one is going to have to modify their game to play here. Someone can put together a good score by hitting nice irons or they can showcase a nice short game so there are different ways to accomplish the same thing. The Stonehaven course is my personal favorite at the resort, Then I think it is a probably a toss up between the more memorable Woodhaven course or the more playable Cobb course.
#1 (404 yard par 4):
The 1st hole is a gentle dogleg to the right. A good line off the tee is probably just left of that yellow tree off in the distance. A bad iron shot can still find the large green and leave a long putt to start the day.
#2 (514 yard par 5):
This is a short par 5 that offers a great opportunity for a birdie. It was into a decent breeze when we played, but the fairway is wide and a second shot could chase onto the front of the green on some days. It has some subtle touches as it plays a bit uphill and moves to the right.
#3 (203 yard par 3):
This is a simple looking, long par 3. I think it looks easier than it plays. The green is massive and I ended up on the front edge with the pin towards the back. I think my putt was at least 50 feet and I ended up with a bogey. It is tough to control the distance with a long iron, but that is what needs to be done here.
#4 (362 yard par 4):
This is a pretty good strategy hole! Someone can try to get it as close to the green as they want, but I think the best play is lay up off the tee. I would suggest playing down the center of the fairway in hopes that the ball will kick to the flatter right side of the fairway. I ended up on the left side and had to be careful of the ball moving right because it was below my feet. The green is deep with a narrow tongue in the front to test accuracy but a flag in the wider back half will test distance control.
#5 (507 yard par 5):
This has to be one of the best birdie holes on the course! It is a short par 5 that plays a little downhill. The longer hitters are going to have to worry about running through the fairway into a fairway bunker or a water hazard. I hit it about 265 yards down the right side of the tree line and ended up in perfect position to go for the green in two. There is room short and right to run the ball onto the green so many golfers have a chance to reach in two. Make sure to take advantage of this one!
#6 (402 yard par 4):
This is a straightaway hole without too much trouble. The toughest part is getting comfortable with the tee shot because it is semi-blind. The green is a similar shape to the 4th and gets wider towards the back.
#7 (162 yard par 3):
Only about half or a third of the green is visible from the tee box. That makes it tough to tell where the pin is located on another large green. There are different corners where the pin can be hidden too so a range finder is going to help a lot on this par 3. The green slopes from right to left so I would suggest playing to leave an uphill putt.
#8 (371 yard par 4):
This dogleg left par 4 is open off the tee and a good line is out at that fairway bunker. I’m not sure its distance because it was into the wind when we played and I couldn’t get there. That should leave a good angle into the green for the second. There is a back level to this green and it is much deeper than it appeared from the fairway.
#9 (413 yard par 4):
There aren’t any tricks on this par 4. It is almost dead straight and the green is located short of that white hospitality tent off in the distance. The pin was on the left when we played and that section of green slopes from right to left. Compared to most greens on the course, it isn’t very deep.
#10 (433 yard par 4):
The back nine starts out with the longest par 4 on the course and I think its a great one! The ideal tee shot is right to left and then the second shot is left to right into a green that will feed the ball to the right. In fact, using the slope in the green is going to be the best way to get it close to a flag on the right side of the green because of a bunker. However, it can be played any number of ways because the trees are set back.
#11 (378 yard par 4):
After having a long second shot on the last hole, it should only be a short one here. The fairway is wide so hitting it with a driver or 3 wood shouldn’t be a problem. The water could be in play for the big ball hitters though. Distance control on the approach is important because of the large green. I’d suggest trying to take a look at where the flag is located on the 16th green, which is off to the right up near the water.
#12 (492 yard par 5):
This is one of the narrowest holes on the course. There is some slope from left to right so a tee shot on a line just right of left fairway bunker should be good. If trying to go for the green in two, the second shot will have to be carried onto the front because of a large bunker short of the green. Short of that bunker should leave a straightforward chip. It is a trickier hole than the yardage indicates.
#13 (177 yard par 3):
The back left flag in-between the two bunkers is going to cause the most trouble. Any flag over on the right half of the green can be attacked with the right club. The green slopes from back to front so short of the flag is best.
#14 (335 yard par 4):
This would normally be a short par 4, but the tees were back a box when we played. It was still a good birdie chance as long as the tee shot doesn’t end up to the left of the fairway. Anything left runs the risk of being blocked out on the second shot because it is a dogleg left.
#15 (361 yard par 4):
This is the opposite of the last hole, although it moves at a sharper angle. It moves to the right so anything to the right of the fairway is going to leave a tough shot into the green. I would try to play to the left center of the fairway and hit enough club to get to the corner of the dogleg. The green is deep so picking the correct club is important.
#16 (398 yard par 4):
There is water that has to be carried three times on this par 4. The fairway runs out into some water, but I couldn’t reach it so I’m not sure on the distance. The green is unique and horseshoes around a bunker short of the green. It is possible that someone could hit it to the very front right and not have a putt to the front left. The right and left sides are tiny targets while the middle of the green is more friendly.
#17 (186 yard par 3):
There are some odd shaped greens on the course, but this could be the oddest. It is narrow and has to be at least 40 yards long. The front section is small, there is a tiny section in-between those two bunkers on the right, and then a narrow back section. I’d suggest looking at the satellite image of this green before playing.
#18 (531 yard par 5):
The slope is going to kick the ball to the right off the tee so make sure favor the left side. A drive in the rough could cause some problems because there is a small creek that divides the fairway for the layup. It might be tough to carry the creek depending on the lie. A good drive allows a chance to get across the green for a short third. Make sure not to hit the layup to the right of the fairway because it will be a hook lie for a cut shot.