I’m watching the U.S. Open and thought that it would be a good time to work on an updated review of the course! I’ve played Meadowcreek about a half dozen times since I moved to Charlottesville and I am starting to like it more and more. I’ve played here a lot in 2015 because they lowered the rates and it is now only $20 to walk after 2pm. I’ve played a couple times after work and then on some weekends. The course seems to have quite a few weekday afternoon leagues so if you are thinking about playing, then it might be best to call ahead.
Meadowcreek is a municipal course in the middle of town but it always seems so secluded. I play at Meadowcreek because it is a good value, convenient, and typically in good shape. Plus, it has some nice views. It is a course that I could afford to play every week if I wanted which is attractive compared to a couple higher priced options nearby. Considering that is city run, it has a nice website and allows someone to view all the tee times online. That has helped me figure out the best time to head out as a single!
As you will see, the 1st hole can play as par 3 or par 4 which is something that you don’t see too often! That means the course plays as a par 70 (132 slope) or par 71 (133 slope). The tips (blues) max out at 6,032 yards and 6,200 yards, respectively. The shorter yardage and three par 5’s means there should be plenty of short iron approaches!
I like to be able to hit a couple crooked shots throughout the round and still have a chance for a good score. I think Meadowcreek gives that opportunity in certain spots while still being a challenge. I’d say the course is a cross between a parkland style layout and a more traditional Mid-Atlantic, tree-lined layout. Most of the holes on the front nine are separated by trees and a couple run along the perimeter of the property. The back nine works its way down by the Rivanna River and is more tree lined. If someone isn’t hitting the ball straight, then some of those wooded holes could be a problem.
Even though the course is shorter, there is plenty of space to hit driver. There aren’t any severe doglegs, poorly designed holes, or tiny fairways. To me, the toughest thing about playing Meadowcreek is trying to control the distance on the approaches. There are multiple holes that have a club difference from tee to green and there are plenty of uneven lies. The nice thing is that the greens are larger and receptive! It might not be the most difficult task to hit a bunch of greens here, but getting it pin high is impressive. Therefore, lag putting is important because you could face some long putts.
Generally, Meadowcreek is in good shape considering that it is a municipal course. At least this year, the greens have been the nicest part of the maintenance. Besides the ball marks, they roll well and I can be aggressive because they aren’t overly fast. The tees are sloped and pretty patchy so be aware of that. I draw some thin lies in the fairway each round which has affected my shot choice. The rough is playable, but I have found some thick lies.
If you are in town with the clubs, have some free time, and don’t want to venture too far then Meadowcreek is a good choice. It is convenient to I-64, but if you are passing through town then I’d offer a couple other suggestions. Finally, I think it would be a pretty good place for a newer golfer to play and the course even has some larger cups to play to on the front nine.
#1 (349 yard par 4 *or* 181 yard par 3):
The opening hole is a unique one! It used to play as only a par 3, but the course added a tee box allowing it play as a par 4 too. Take your pick as there isn’t a designated tee for the casual round. If playing as a par 4 the fairway runs out around 150 yards into the green and from there it drops about a club into the large green. There is a hazard short and left of the green which needs to be avoided. The green slopes from back to front and a bit from right to left. The par 3 plays about a club downhill as well. The pictures show the par 4 and the green.
#2 (428 yard par 4):
The 2nd is one of the longest par 4’s on the course and it is a good test. It is pretty straight up to the green but it plays harder than it looks because of the yardage. I’d try to land the ball on the left side of the fairway to get a bounce to the right. A miss left of the fairway or green can end up in a better spot than expected because of the hill to the left. If trying to play left on the approach then a bunker could come into play.
#3 (505 yard par 5):
The 3rd is the only par 5 on the front nine. Even though it isn’t overly long, I’ve found that playing conservative has yielded the best score for me. It is tree-lined and plays uphill all the way to the green. The fairway slopes off on each side into trouble so I’ve played a hybrid or 3 wood off the tee just to find the fairway. Then, on the second, I have a mid or long iron (from an uphill lie) and try to avoid some fairway bunkers. The third shot isn’t the easiest either because the green’s surface isn’t visible from the fairway. If someone hits a good driver then it can offer a chance to get near the green in two.
#4 (118 yard par 3):
The 4th is the shortest par 3 on the course. Even though it is only a short iron, I find it tough to get it pin high because much of the green’s surface is not visible from the tee. The green is pretty deep and slopes from left to right. For whatever reason, the hole seems to play its normal distance even though it is slightly uphill.
#5 (388 yard par 4):
The 5th has an intimidating looking tee shot, especially from the back right tee which is pictured below. The hole doglegs left along the perimeter of the course. It is ~240 yards to carry the fairway bunker and that would certainly shorten the hole. I like to fade the ball and I’ve had success starting it out at the left side of the fairway and cutting it back. The fairway is actually pretty wide and there is plenty of space to the right. The approach plays into a flatter green and the best spot to miss it is short and right.
#6 (464 yard par 4):
The 6th (#1 handicap) is listed on the scorecard as the longest par 4 on the course. However, that must be from an overgrown tee box because it normally plays ~400 yards. It moves a little right so I’d try to favor the right side of the fairway to shorten the approach. The green has a lot of undulation and a few ridges which make it difficult to putt and play shots around.
#7 (366 yard par 4):
The 7th is a pretty simple looking par 4 but I find it a bit tricky to play. I like to fade the ball so the tee shot doesn’t fit my eye as I have to hug the left side. The yardage seems to indicate a layup club off the tee could work, but I like to hit driver because it is uphill. The approach is a mid or short iron into a wide green that cannot be seen from the fairway. The approach is about a club uphill from an uphill lie which makes controlling the distance tough.
#8 (345 yard par 4):
The 8th is the shortest par 4 on the front nine and it can be played any number of ways. It doglegs almost ninety degrees right which can tempt players to try to hit it up near the green. I’m not sure that is the best play because of all the pine trees and the fairway gets really narrow short of the green. I’ve found that the best play is over the set of fairway bunkers (~210) and short of the far one (~240). That leaves a short iron from a flat lie. If laying up to the left then it could leave an uneven stance. This is a good one!
#9 (160 yard par 3):
The 9th is a straightforward par 3 where a nice iron shot should be rewarded. There are bunkers to the left and right of the green but there is some room short to miss it. Make sure not to go over the green as it could kick out of bounds into the parking lot.
#10 (526 yard par 5):
The 10th is the longest of the three par 5’s and one of the most interesting holes on the course. The fairway is split and the left side is the preferred side because it allows for a clearer view of the green. After a decent drive, it plays downhill to the green so it is possible to get on or near it in two. The layup could be blind so I’d suggest walking up to pick the best line and making sure to get it far enough down the hill for a flatter lie.
#11 (300 yard par 4):
The 11th is the shortest par 4 on the course, but it is probably going to be a layup off the tee for almost everyone because it plays uphill. A right to left shot off the tee is best and leaving 100 yards into the green should be short of all the bunkers. The approach should be a short iron from an uphill lie into a semi-blind green. It is another approach where I think is tough to control the distance. The two tiered green slopes from back to front.
#12 (499 yard par 5):
The 12th is the shortest par 5 on the course and it can be an unpredictable hole on the scorecard. It moves a little right over a creek and around the hillside closer to the green. A tee shot that challenges the trees on the left leaves a better angle and a clear view for the next shot. The left side of the fairway slopes from left to right so it might require trying to turn a shot against the slope from over there. A tee shot to the right leaves a flatter lie, but a semi-blind layup. The hillside has some influence on layups and can kick the ball to the left. It is a good chance for a birdie if you can get it short of the green in two.
#13 (375 yard par 4):
The 13th is ranked as the #4 handicap and I agree, because it can cause some problems! The tee shot plays through a chute of trees out to the narrow looking fairway. The first couple times that I played here I hit 3 wood, but now I like to hit driver. The fairway widens the farther that someone hits it so I swing the driver more freely than a layup club. The approach plays about a club uphill into the green which slopes from back to front.
#14 (332 yard par 4):
The 14th is a short par 4 that doglegs to the right and plays from an elevated tee. There is trouble to the left and two fairway bunkers to the right that are hidden from the blue tee box. Some of the bigger hitters can take a more direct line at the green with a driver. If you want to do that make sure that the group in front is clear. I prefer to see the ball land in the fairway and then have a wedge into the green.
#15 (165 yard par 3):
The 15th is a mid-length par 3 that is a good test. There is plenty of fairway and rough around the green (besides that bunker in the picture) so it seems like someone can swing away worry free. That isn’t the case because of the large green that slopes severely from back to front. I would try to be below the hole to leave a straighter putt that you can be aggressive with. Missing pin high on either side will leave a chip or putt that breaks a bunch. I add about half a club because of the rise to the green.
#16 (371 yard par 4):
The 16th is one of the most fun holes on the course! It plays downhill to a blind fairway, but I love to swing hard at this tee shot! The ball stays in the air for a long time and then it has a chance to get a big bounce if it lands in the narrow fairway. Most likely it will be a short iron approach from a downhill lie. There are a couple trees on each side of fairway ~100 yards into the green that could hinder a shot into the green. I don’t think the green has too much slope, but I find it difficult to read. It should be a chance for a good score!
#17 (188 yard par 3):
The 17th is the longest par 3 on the course and requires a good long iron (at least for me). The water shouldn’t be in play as there is plenty of room short of the green. I’ve chunked my tee shot before and still made it over. Make sure not to miss left because the Rivanna River is to the left of those trees. Missing right is much better because there is some slope which can kick the ball left.
#18 (321 yard par 4):
The 18th is a short par 4 that doesn’t play that way! It is straightaway to the green but it plays up the same hill that the 16th plays down. In fact, I’ve hit driver sand wedge into the 16th and driver pitching wedge on this one! I’d favor the right side of the right to left sloping fairway for the best angle into the green. I’ve missed it in the left rough before and had to pitch it down the fairway as I was blocked out by some trees. The semi-blind approach plays about a club uphill.