Review: Wintergreen Resort, VA
Along with all the activities there are also some great local treats to try, especially the local breweries and wineries. As I was making the drive to the resort from Richmond, it seemed like there was a brewery or winery on every corner. It has been a very popular business in recent years. After sampling a number of the local brews, I can see why they are becoming very popular, they variety of flavors was excellent.
Wintergreen’s snow-making capabilities might be the best in the United States. They have a computerized system with a huge reservoir of water that allows them to make snow at will, once the temperature drops. From December to March they are going to be making the best snow in the east. This system is so complex it can make the exact consistency of snow needed for each day. Along with the incredible volume that can be made, they will always have ideal conditions on all their runs all winter long because of the systems precision. Their lift ticket system is pretty unique too in that you don’t have to get a ticket first thing in the morning, but they sell tickets but chunks of hours so that you can ski on your schedule. Even if your not skilled at skiing or snowboarding, they have an amazing tubing park for all ages. Even cooler is their “Ski and Tee” package. During the winter months the mountain is covered in snow, but in the valley, Stoney Creek Golf course is still open so you can literally do both in one day. I can’t think of a much better winter day.
Wintergreen isn’t your typical resort when it comes to lodging. Many resorts have huge hotels and maybe a number of condos. Wintergreen is mostly condo and few dozen houses run by the resort, everything else is privately owned and operated. There are thousands of private properties to choose from for rental or purchase. Our group stayed at a beautiful 7 bedroom mountain home. It would be a perfect option for a couple of families or a small corporate retreat. It had great views and great amenities so that you could eat and relax at the house during your entire stay.
If you live on the East coast this is a vacation destination you should look into. It offers great ski and tee options for all 4 seasons. While it might not be a fly across the country amazing, it is definitely a great regional destination for the central east coast. Wintergreen continues to invest in its infrastructure and amenities so you are guaranteed an excellent experience any time of year you vacation at Wintergreen.
For more information: www.wintergreenresort.com
Review: Devils Knob Golf Course
While the scenery steals the show with this course, the name sake reminds you how tough this course can be. If you miss the fairways, there is a good chance you will lose the ball. The scenic trees are thick and unforgiving if you hit into them. While the fairways are generous, wayward tee shots are eaten by the trees and not spit out. There is thick undergrowth which will make it near impossible to find stray golf balls. I did find a couple of my shots that just barely missed the fairway, but the punch-out shots were tricky navigating the trees. While it is unforgiving if you spray the ball, there is still more than enough width on most holes that all skill levels still should be able to enjoy their round, if they brought enough golf balls.
The conditions were near perfect. The speed of the greens were very resort like, not too fast, not too slow, just a solid 8 on the stimp. The smoothness was the real treat of the greens at Devil’s Knob. Every green was like carpet and the roll was true on all 18 holes. The front nine starts with a tree lined hole that is slightly down hill and you can expect another 8 holes of similar style. The 3rd hole looks like a par 5 but it is just a huge par 4 with big elevation change. It is one of the most dramatic holes on the property. As you wind up and down and around the mountain side, the final three holes of the front 9 are spectacular. The 7th hole is a tricky par 5. It plays uphill and then has a last second dogleg right. The 2nd shot is really keep to this hole, I don’t think it is reachable in 2 even by bombers because of the hazards and being uphill. The 8th hole is a long par 3 over water to a well guarded green. The closing hole for the front side is an uphill par 4 that is difficult to gauge distance off the tee and into the green as you play it all uphill. As you wrap up this 9 you pass by the driving range and club house on your way to the back nine.
Devil’s knob lives up to its name. Don’t let the scenery distract you; good tee shots are required on just about every hole. If you spray it right or left, just drop one and move on, it is pretty unlikely that you will find your stray ball. One thing that was actually surprising is how many of the holes have houses just beyond the initial tree line, but yet never once did it seem or feel like there was a single house on the course. These 18 holes will test your accuracy, but if you hit it straight you can score pretty well. I even found that I got around the course pretty fast the two days I played. It is a beautiful mountain course with some bite.
+Great variety of holes
+Extra elevation distance
Review: Stoney Creek Golf Course
I started on the Tuckaho 9. This is the newest 9 holes of the 27 and has the best fairway turf. It is a new blend of Zoysia grasses. It has a really tight growth pattern that holds the ball up nicely in the fairway and resists digging by iron shots. It is very weed resistant so it looks great on all 9 holes with less maintenance. Besides the excellent turf, Rees Jones laid out a great collection of 9 holes to add to the other previously designed 18 holes. This 9 offers the most elevation change as well as the most scenic holes. The first 3 holes have big elevation changes as you start up high on hole 1 and tee down to the fairway. Hole 2 is an uphill short par 4 that has you teeing off into a large slope. The 3rd hole is a big down hill par 5 that winds down into the wetland area of the course. The finishing 2 holes of this 9 are excellent. The picturesque par 3 hole 8 is a signature hole and the brawny par 5 9th holes makes for a great finishing hole with its views of the mountains and mini moguls running the length of the hole.
There is a reason that Stoney Creek receives high rankings in the state of Virginia and in the country. It is a great design, scenic setting, and well maintained 27 holes. While it might not be bucket list or fly across the country worthy, but if you are anywhere in the area it is a must play. You will enjoy the variety at this course, and paired with Devil’s Knob you really get a wide variety of golf.
+27 Scenic holes
+Challenging, yet playable for all levels
–Different grasses(hopefully they will all be Zoysia one day)