Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Vanilla Ice Cream with Chocolate Sauce at South Riding Golf Club

It was kinda like eating a plain Hamburger, with pickles.  Or a bean and cheese burrito, with Tabasco.  Or a bowl of vanilla ice cream, with chocolate sauce.

South Riding Golf Club in Chantilly, VA was good, but not great.  And for $91 dollars, it should have been great.

The tee shot on 10 requires over a 150 yard carry.
There were a few highlights--the course was in great shape, the greens in particular, the pro-shop was nice, and the food was good-- but overall it was kinda just like adding a bunch of hot sauce to a boring dish and calling it flavorful. 

As I think back about my round, I am amazed that I can barely remember any of the holes.  Why?  Well, because for the most part its because they were boring and unoriginal.  I've never played the course before, but I felt like I had played every hole out there a million times on other courses.

Course design usually isn't something that I pay too much attention too, but the lack of creativity that went into the design at South Riding was insulting.  And that doesn't just go for the golf course, the entire masterplanned community around South Ridging Golf Course was equally as bland.

On the course, one characteristic that my buddy MN has me keyed into is how many houses come into play.  When I am on a golf course, I want it to be a fairly natural experience, as in I want to feel like I'm in nature.  Now some course designers do a good job of hiding homes behind trees or up or down hills.  That was not the case at South Riding, in fact the opposite was true.  The homes actually hid the golf course.  And not to dwell on it too much, but the McMansions and McRowHouses that were blocking my views of the course were awful.  If you're going to build houses right around a golf course, at least make them aesthetically pleasing for Christ's sake.

Number 12 from the tee box
Well now that you know how I feel about my overall impression of the place, I will get down to specifics.  The course plays 6,473 yards from the Blues and is pretty flat throughout.  Water comes in to play on occasion as there is a pretty little creek that winds through the property.

My favorite holes on the course were 12 and 13, back to back par fours that force you to tee off with something less than a driver.  In both cases I hit my 3 Hybrid off the tee and was left with about a 190 yard approach shot.  The approach on 13 is particularly tough because your vision is obscured by a large swamp that guards the green short and right. 

12 and 13 are followed by a third good hole.  Number 14 is a short par three that is played over a good size lake.  The hole was only playing 129 yards, but a stiff wind in our faces changed the dynamic of the hole substantially.  I pured a pitching wedge right at the pin, but the wind really knocked the ball down and left me with an awkward chip from the deep rough, just over a bunker that was guarding the front of the green.

With the exception of 12,13, and 14, there's not much I can say about the course.  It was flat and pretty straight,there were bunkers, and big greens.  The pace of play was pretty slow, but everyone on the course was in carts so we still ended up finishing in well under five hours.  Another pet-peeve: when there is a slow group ahead of you but no Marshall comes around to speed things up.  I guess its no surprise that this was the case...

Overall the course wasn't really that bad, it was just boring and over-priced.  If it were just boring, it would be excusable; it would also be excusable if it were just over-priced.  But put them together? Yeah, I won't be going back any time soon.

Grizzly Golfer rating: 4/10

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