I took yesterday off because it was my birthday! I didn’t feel like driving to the ends of the earth to golf during the middle of the week so I decided to relax in the morning and then play nearby in the afternoon. Waynesboro Country Club is about 30 minutes away and this private course is one of the courses in my VSGA book that only allows outside play on a weekday. The proshop didn’t have any trouble getting me out and I tried to pick a time so that I wouldn’t inconvenience any of the members.
After getting to the course, I checked in and was about to tee off when I was approached by a member. He asked if I was looking for a game and offered to help me navigate my way around the course so we paired up. He offered some history about the course, assisted with blind tee shots, and helped me read the greens. Apparently he has been a member there for about 30 years and even though I didn’t play particularly well, his knowledge saved me some strokes. I tried not to get in his way so I didn’t take every picture of the course that I wanted, but I still was able to snap at least one of every hole. I felt welcomed which is something that I rarely get when playing at a private course (as an outsider) and had a very nice afternoon. We played in about 3 hours so I could get used to playing on the weekdays, that’s for sure!
Waynesboro Country Club is an older course which was originally built in the 1950’s as a nine hole layout. The course was expanded into the current eighteen and one hole easily flows into the next. Sometimes when a second nine is added, a course can play completely different but I didn’t pick up on that here. The course is routed through some homes which can come into play, but after the first few holes play doesn’t cross any roads. Because the layout is compact, it is a good walking course and I think that is important at a country club. I know there are days where I’d like to walk a few holes after work and that would be easy here.
Like many older style courses, it isn’t very long and only plays 6,409 yards from the blue tees which is what I played. In fact, the back nine is ~3100 yards with only one par 4 over 400 yards. It has a 70.9 rating and 130 slope from the blues so the course allows for someone to go low. Three of the four par 5’s are easily reachable after a good drive and there are plenty of short par 4’s which offer a chance to score. The course isn’t the tightest off the tee and there is plenty room, at least in certain spots, to find a ball and get it back in play. A stream and some ponds come into play on about half the holes if someone gets really wild. Overall it felt like I could recover from any bad shot with a birdie or two in the coming holes. If I was looking to play most of my golf at one course, then this is the type of course that I would want to join.
Like some of the other country clubs that I’ve played, the course isn’t a pushover because it tests the finer points of the game. The greens are the course’s main defense and I had some indecision when playing a shot into a few of the greens that sloped from back to front. Because I had plenty of short irons into the greens I had to either to fly a lofted club all the way to the hole or flight it lower and drive it to the flag. The greens have some false edges too so in order to put together a great score someone is going to need to hit precision irons. It helped playing with a member because the greens break less than they look. I thought one putt was going to break two cups from left to right, but it was just outside the left edge! Over-reading the break was a common occurrence for me, so keep that in mind if playing here for the first time. There are plenty of other features which added interest to the course but weren’t overused. There are blind shots, elevation changes, slope in the fairways, and options off the tees.
The greens were aerated three weeks before I played and had recovered nicely. They rolled well, but were a bit on the slower side. The rest of the course was in good shape and it was very green. If I lived in town and didn’t have a sick obsession with playing so many different courses, then I’d be looking to join depending on the cost. I found the course a lot of fun to play and it seemed to have something to interest any golfer.
#1 (387 yard par 4):
I didn’t have time for a picture from the tee box but this is a fun way to begin the round. The tee shot can be played with a driver over a rise in the fairway and it might run out into the narrow part (where that cart is in the picture). Since there is a creek to the right I think the best play, at least early in the round, is a layup to the top of the hill which is the fat of the fairway. That still opens up a look at the green which is guarded by water on the left.
#2 (376 yard par 4):
This tee shot is blind but the nice thing is that the slopes to the right and left of the fairway can feed the ball towards it. The hole moves ever so slightly to the right so a fade off the tee is the best play. From there it is going to be a downhill lie for the approach. Missing short of the green should leave the easiest chip.
#3 (190 yard par 3):
This is the longest and toughest par 3 on the course. It was a long iron for me into a green that was receptive because it slopes from back to front. Therefore, anything beyond the hole is going to be quick. Because the green falls off on most sides, a miss left is preferred. The large bunker on the left adds some character, but it shouldn’t come into play because it is maybe 20 yards short of the green.
#4 (406 yard par 4):
This is the 3rd handicap, but it played as the toughest hole on the course for me because it was into the wind. The tee shot is another blind tee shot, but there aren’t any tricks getting to what I thought was one of the wider fairways. To help, there is a lot of playable room off each side of the fairway. It was a mid iron into the green where the pin was tucked on the right side. I missed the green right and didn’t have much chance of pitching it close.
#5 (478 yard par 5):
This is the shortest par 5 on the course and it plays downhill, so make sure to take advantage of it! The tee shot is semi blind but I would try to favor the left side of the fairway because it gets narrower and runs out on the right side into the creek. Depending on the conditions, someone could hit a 3 wood or even hybrid and still have a chance to get on the green in two. There is a cross bunker just short of the green that needs to be carried if someone is trying to go for the green in two. I was able to hack a shot up just short of the bunker and had a good view of the flag so that is a good play too. The green slopes from right to left so keep that in mind when trying to get it close.
#6 (441 yard par 4):
The 6th is the longest par 4 and the hardest hole on the course. The best tee shot is going to be down the right side to shorten the hole since it moves to the right. Even after a good tee shot, it most likely is going to be a long iron into the green. It is possible to end up with an odd stance as there is a small valley in the fairway. The creek runs short and left of the green and could be in play after a bad drive. The pin was on a small plateau just over the bunker and I had a tricky read.
#7 (164 yard par 3):
I think that this is one of the best holes on the course! It is a mid-length par 3 that plays uphill to an elevated green that has to be one of the highest points on the front nine. The green is a bit bigger than most which is nice because anything not hitting the green has a good chance of kicking away from it. Once on the green, there are some good views and some tough putts to read. At first I thought that my putt would break hard towards the front of the green, but it ended up breaking about half of what I was expecting.
#8 (383 yard par 4):
This is another fun hole. The tee shot isn’t much different than the other holes so far because it plays over a rise. The best play is down the right side of the fairway because the ball will kick to the left. Anything down the left has a chance of running into some trees. The approach plays about a club downhill, but it will most likely be played from a downhill slope. I think I would prefer to lay it back off the tee in hopes of a flatter lie for my second shot.
#9 (480 yard par 5):
This is another reachable par 5. I didn’t play it well because I have trouble moving the ball right to left, especially with the driver. However, someone who hits that shot naturally is going to love it. There are a couple fairway bunkers which pinch the tee shot and need to be avoided, but if those can be navigated then someone can have a short second. The creek runs down the right side and there is water long and right of the green which can come into play after a poor shot.
#10 (367 yard par 4):
This is a position hole of the tee before it turns right and climbs the hill. The best line with a layup club is going to be in-between those two red trees. Someone can try to carve it up more into the hill but that is going to leave an uphill lie to an elevated green. The green has a front and back level, neither of which can be seen from the fairway.
#11 (495 yard par 5):
This is a pretty good risk/reward par 5. It plays downhill to a somewhat blind fairway. There is some left to right slope so it takes a precise drive to try go for the green in two. It is going to be all carry to the green because of the water short and right.
#12 (150 yard par 3):
I’m about 6’3″ and could only see the top of the flag from the tee on this short par 3. I went right at the flag which was tucked on the right side and ended up missing it on the short side. I had to land my chip into a false edge to kill some speed and let it trickle towards the pin. Had I known, I would have favored the left side and risked knocking into a greenside bunker over there. I think that would have been a simpler short game shot.
#13 (346 yard par 4):
This is one of the more narrow driving holes on the course. Thankfully, it is short enough that a driver isn’t needed and the best tee shot is probably 225 yards with a little fade to combat some slope in the fairway from right to left. The green is long and narrow so distance control is important.
#14 (168 yard par 3):
This par 3 feels a bit squished because there are so many other holes nearby, but it is a pretty solid hole. It is mid-length and plays a touch downhill. The green is the most interesting aspect because it has a small false front and slopes from right to left. A pin could be tucked just over the false front leaving someone with various options to try to get it close.
#15 (409 yard par 4):
This is the long par 4 on the back nine and slides to the right. The creek runs down the right side but it should only come into play off the tee after a poor shot or a bad bounce. The creek runs closer to the green so it could be in play with a right flag.
#16 (307 yard par 4):
This is a short par 4 where the big hitters could get near the green after a good drive. It moves to the right and if the conditions are good the drive should land on a downslope and run towards the green. I think a tee shot ending up just short of the greenside bunker is a pretty good play if someone can do that. The risk is that the tee shot hangs on the downslope and then that would leave a tough pitch into a green that falls off over the back edge. If laying up, then it is best to try to hit it to the top of the hill (about 125 yards into the green) for a flatter lie.
#17 (314 yard par 4):
This is another fun, short par 4. There is a cross bunker and a couple greenside bunkers so I think the best play is a layup to a favorite yardage. I actually hit my 3 iron too far and had a stance where the ball was above my feet from 90 yards. To do over, I would have laid farther back for a flatter lie. My putt looked like it was going to break about two cups because of the slope on the green from back to front, but it turned out to be maybe a ball outside the left.
#18 (548 yard par 5):
The fairway runs out at about 280 or 290 yards from the tee before the hole doglegs left. I hit a poor tee shot and had to pitch out short of that creek which cuts across the fairway so finding the fairway might save at least one stroke. If someone does find the end of the fairway then a right to left second shot can run onto the green. It is a respectable closing hole because it offers a chance at a birdie, but a bogey can be had with a couple average shots.