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
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
Ford's Colony Country Club
Williamsburg, VA 23188
Dick Healy, Ted
Schissler,Dee Dee McKinney
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February 02, 2009
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