The final stop on our whirlwind weekend was in West Virginia! We needed to hit up a course in the Eastern Panhandle and The Woods has been a place that I’ve wanted to check out. We had a late morning tee time which turned out to be a great idea because we stopped at a casino in Baltimore after the baseball game. I won $10 with just $5, but then blew it all at the end in hopes of a free tank of gas! No matter though, it was still a fun way to spend two hours.
The Woods is a community that isn’t too far from I-81 nor some of the major Mid-Atlantic cities. There are residents who live there, vacationers, and then you get the folks like my friend and I who were just there for the golf. There are two courses on the property and we played the championship course which is named “Mountain View”. There are all sorts of recreational things for the whole family to do besides golfing. I actually have a different friend who enjoys vacationing here quite a bit.
If I’m honest, I was expecting eighteen holes of target golf with narrow sloping fairways, severe elevation changes, and blind shots. I pictured the course being like Massanutten. After all, the name is “The Woods”! However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was lots of room to miss and no crazy slopes in the fairways. I hit my usual couple banana balls off the tee and found them so no complaints! I thought the course pretty forgiving, but it did require good shots to score. It has a mountain feel to it because of the views, but none of the head-scratching holes that are typical of a mountain course. My only quibble about the design is that the homes and condos were a distraction. They could come into play on a poor shot so be careful of some out of bounds. For reference, we played the blue tees which play 71.9/125/6621.
The conditions were reflective of an effort to conserve water, almost something like most of the courses in California are doing now. You’ll seem from the pictures that most of the fairways, tees, and greens are the expected color, green! However, outside of those areas the course was dry and brown. At first, I wanted to see green grass everywhere but then the practical side of me started to like it. The course looks a bit more natural and the thin rough was easy to play from. The only concern was the ball getting a big bounce and running into trouble. The fairways could have used a mow as I couldn’t contact the ball as cleanly as I wanted. I can overlook that because of the summer heat though.The tees were patchy and the worst part of the maintenance. However, the greens were beautiful and a pleasure to putt! They didn’t have many ball marks and they were smooth and fast.
Our price was $56 which wasn’t any sort of outrageous deal, but it wasn’t a rip off either. There weren’t many golfers teeing off when we started so we were able to take our time. We caught up with a few foursomes towards the end, but it was a leisurely 4 hour round which was fine by me. I enjoyed the scenery and the playability, but wasn’t blown away by the course’s design. I’d probably recommend it two reasons. First, it would be convenient to play if vacationing at The Woods. Second, I think it would be a more memorable West Virginia choice than Locust Hill if someone is looking to check the state off their list.
#1 (395 yard par 4):
The 1st is a mid-length par 4. The hole angles to the right and the tee shot is played down into a valley. The fairway starts to rise at ~150 yards to the green so the bigger hitters might want to lay up off the tee. I had to pitch out after a poor drive and had a tough stance for my third from 100 yards. The approach is about a club uphill into a green that slopes from back to front.
#2 (433 yard par 4):
The 2nd is the longest par 4 on the course. Like most holes here, there is some space left and right to miss. However, out of bounds to the left could come into play. The green angles from front left to back right, but the right side of the green is higher. That means a bold line is needed to attack a right flag.
#3 (128 yard par 3):
The 3rd is the shortest par 3 on the course and it could be a good opportunity for a par or birdie. It is all carry to the green over water which could catch a mis-hit so pay attention to that. It played about a club less for me and the green has a back tier. I hit it right at the flag but my ball landed into the ridge and spun back to the front tier. The back tier was tricky, but a front flag could be accessed a couple different ways.
#4 (472 yard par 5):
The 4th is one of my favorite holes on the course! It has some good scenery and there was an element of risk/reward to it. It is a short par 5 that goes gently to the left. Someone can challenge the left side of the fairway, which has a couple pine trees, and possibly get there in two. There is some space to the right so I was able to find my slice and hack it up about 50 yards short of the green. The green is on the side of a hill with the hillside to the right and water to the left. I missed it over to the right and had to try landing my pitch into the hillside for the right kick. If I had ended up short and left I would have had a much easier pitch.
#5 (415 yard par 4):
The 5th is a straightaway, downhill par 4. I’d suggest favoring the left side of the fairway because it slopes from left to right. The stance on the approach made it harder for me to make solid contact. The green slopes from back to front and has a back tier.
#6 (405 yard par 4):
The 6th is the #3 handicap, but I think it should be the hardest hole. The landing area is blind and it is a forced carry to get to the fairway. When I got up to my ball I was surprised to find that the fairway is actually quite narrow. The right to left slope feeds shots towards the left trees so keep that in mind. The approach played about a club uphill into a circular shaped green. I was thrilled with my par!
#7 (551 yard par 5):
The 7th is a long par 5 and the #1 handicap. The drive plays to an uphill landing area and the upslope adds some difficulty when trying to hit a long club to layup. Although the layup is blind, the good news is that it plays downhill to a valley short of the green. The green is slightly elevated and there are bunkers short of it. Therefore, I’d try to play deeper into the green.
#8 (404 yard par 4):
The 8th is a downhill par 4 that could yield a par or birdie after a good tee shot. The landing area is blind off the tee and the fairway runs out ~270 yards. My tee shot rolled through the fairway so some might consider a layup. I was left with a short iron into a green that slopes from right to left. Right is the miss on this hole.
#9 (134 yard par 3):
The 9th is a brilliant little par 3! It plays at least a club downhill over water to a green that slopes from back to front. The only dry spot to miss is long, but that could leave a scary, downhill chip. I was nervous picking the right club because the wind was swirling! I finally settled on one club less than normal and flighted it down to control the distance. The green is similar to the 3rd (with a back tier) so someone can use the slope behind when playing to a front flag.
#10 (387 yard par 4):
The 10th is a fairly “vanilla” hole. It is a bit uphill, so it plays longer than the yardage. One of the houses behind the green should be a good aiming point. I looked silly on my long putt because the green broke a ton more than it looked!
#11 (183 yard par 3):
The 11th is the longest par 3 on the course. I didn’t hit either of my two tee shots solid, but it seemed that it played a bit more than a club uphill. A draw is the best shot shape around the bunker.
#12 (416 yard par 4):
The 12th is the #2 handicap, but I’m not sure that I agree. It doglegs left while the slope goes to the right. The tee shot is semi-blind which made it tough to visualize. I aimed down the left side and hit a big slice. I ended up in a good bailout area over to the right as the 15th hole runs parallel over there. The same left to right slope is present on, and around, the green.
#13 (156 yard par 3):
The 13th is ranked as the easiest hole on the course. The only issue could be with that large tree short and left of the green, especially if the flag is on the left side. That might require a draw. The green slopes from back to front and left to right so keep that in mind for an uphill putt.
#14 (336 yard par 4):
The 14th is a short, but tough par 4. Multiple options are available off the tee as long as someone can keep it off the hillside to the right and out of the trees to the left. If someone can challenge the left side of the fairway then it should result in a flatter lie. I hit my 210 yard club and had a little longer into the green than I anticipated because the approach plays uphill. There is lost ball trouble long and left of the green and it slopes from right to left.
#15 (534 yard par 5):
The 15th is a mid-length par 5. The green is up near the 12th tee box and the 12th is over to the right. Like the 12th, a tee shot out to the right here isn’t going to hurt. The fairway slopes from left to right which makes picking a line tougher with the woods lurking to the left. I hit a good tee shot and might have been able to run a 3 wood up near the front edge, but there is water short of the green and a downslope towards it. I laid up and faced a wedge into the green, which is a tiny target with water short and bunkers long. I’d suggest laying up farther back than normal to avoid the downslope. Personally, I prefer more options on a par 5.
#16 (313 yard par 4):
The 16th offers great views and it was a fun hole! It is the shortest par 4 on the course and a drive could run up near the green. I hit an iron off the tee trying to play to a valley in the fairway (80 to 100 yards in) while my friend knocked a driver 40 yards short of the green. It worked for him as he made a birdie! There are some choices to made off the tee! The green has a left and right tier on it.
#17 (389 yard par 4):
The 17th slides right around two fairway bunkers. It is ~230 yards to carry the bunkers, but there isn’t as much fairway over them as I thought. The slope left of the fairway can feed balls back onto it so I don’t see any need to challenge the bunkers. The approach plays into a fairly wide green with a right edge that falls off.
#18 (570 yard par 5):
The course closes with the longest hole! The 18th is a nice finishing hole as it snakes its way uphill to the clubhouse. There is a fairway bunker off to the right which is about 230 yards to get over, but there is a small hazard over there too. Off the tee, someone might be able to challenge the trees just left of the fairway. The layup is simple because the fairway is in a valley with slopes on each side that can yield favorable kicks.