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Triple Trouble In Williamsburg
By Bob Enzel

The FORD’S COLONY COUNTRY CLUB sports three lovely courses mentioned by Golf Digest as “Places to Play” in Virginia. This four and a half star rated golf club boasts it to be the “highest rating in Virginia.” I can't agree or contest this quote but I can vouch for 54 beautifully laid out holes.

We first sampled the Blackheath eighteen. They said it was the easiest of the three. We did not agree with this assessment. Thirteen of the 18 holes featured water with 8 of the back nine boarded or crossed by water. Fairway accuracy and a good drive is the key to Blackheath. Holes #4 and #5—both 500 yards long gave us the most trouble. The 350 yard #18 hole is boarded by water from beginning to end with the putting area reminiscent of Wing Foot’s famous water hole.


The Blue Heron layout is several hundred yards longer than Blackheath, but lacks the water challenge. I don't mean to imply that it is waterless. Far from it. In actuality the Blue Heron course has at least ten water holes, most of which require less demanding tee accuracy. We found many of the holes wide open to errant tee shots. On the other hand its handicap of 72 is one more than Blackheath.

Neither of us were familiar with Dan Maples the course architect, but we give him credit for three challenging layouts. When comparing the FORD’S COLONY courses to the LA QUINTA course in Palm Springs I found several similarities that were striking. The courses could have been laid out by Pete Dye, Jr with the many water holes and fountains nestled between a housing development. But the similarity ends with that. La Quinta is stifling with expensive houses encroaching the golf layout…the crossing of LA QUINTA’S many streets takes away from the beautiful course layout and the mountain scenery. The houses at FORD’S COLONY are also expensive but are tucked away behind many trees making them barely visible to the golfer. These very large houses if located in Palm Springs would sell for possibly triple the value they are offered for in Virginia. Location being the price decider. Another huge difference was the fee to play. As a Marriott Club guest our daytime or afternoon rate was only $75.00/$35.00 compared to LA QUINTA’S hundred plus fee.

The last of the three was Marsh Hawk another 72 yard hole layout, but with the approximate distance of Blackheath. It only contained 8 water holes but three of them were particular challenging with water surrounding or encroaching the putting area. The putting surface was much better than its two sister courses which were in the re-seeding process It's a tad shorter than Blackheath depending on the tee location for the short water surrounded #17 green.

All in all, the three courses are different and will give the average golfer all they can handle. If we had to select a favorite--as in which one would we play twice out of four rounds--it would be the Blackheath course.

Contact Information:
Ford's Colony Country Club
Williamsburg, VA 23188
(757) 258-4130



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