10 Best Golf Courses in Virginia to Play in 2024

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Choosing the 10 best golf courses in Virginia is no easy feat. The state is home to many pro-level clubs, most of which are open to the public for a round at any time. 

There’s plenty of good gameplay to be had, and as a bonus, the scenery is amazing! Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or experienced golfer, Virginia golf courses offer something for everyone. 

Best Golf courses in Virginia via Ron Cogswell (CC BY 2.0)
Best Golf courses in Virginia via Ron Cogswell (CC BY 2.0)

Here are the courses we highly recommend if you’re in the area and want to get in a quick and fun round. 

Best Golf Courses in Virginia

1. The Cascades Course at Homestead

Location: Hot Springs

The Omni Homestead Resort is known as one of the country’s premier mountain resort destinations. It’s nestled at the foot of the Allegheny Mountains, in the middle of a forest of towering trees. 

When you play here, you’ll literally be following in the footsteps of legends, as United States Presidents, the Rockefeller family, and professional golfers have all swung their clubs on these two courses. 

The golf course is a delight, with a spectacular mountainous backdrop and a natural feeling. Although it’s on a resort, it is open to the public. 

Golfing at The Homestead - alexandrasgallery - Shutterstock.com
Golfing at The Homestead – alexandrasgallery – Shutterstock.com

Golfers will find that the fairways are undulating and the terrain slopes throughout the course, making it a challenge for golfers of all skill levels. Strategic bunkering across the holes means that golfers need to bring their accuracy to the game or risk losing shots to the rough or sand. 

The signature hole is the 4th, a short but dramatic par 3 of 210 yards. It slopes severely downhill, with an almost 50-foot drop to the green, which is guarded by a bunker on the left. 

Golfers will find the 12th hole to be a challenge, with a water hazard on the left, closely-packed trees on the right, and mid-fairway bunkers waiting to swallow wayward shots. 

It also has a unique finisher, with a par 3, 2 par 5s, and final par 3 to end. 

2. Kinloch Golf Club

Location: Manakin-Sabot

The Kinloch Golf Club is widely regarded as one of the best in the state, but it’s a private club and you’ll need to be invited to play by a member. 

Created around a 70-acre lake, the parkland-style golf course weaves through trees and has a natural look and feel to it. If you arrive early enough, you may be able to witness the haze of fog that hangs over the water and trees, making the setting look and feel magical. 

The hole variety on this course makes for exciting play, with no two holes feeling the same. 

Split fairways are common, and the greens are slightly sloped but easy to read. Golfers will find that their shot choices are many. Some holes are risk/reward, with others being more straightforward, offering a challenge for both beginner and advanced golfers. 

The signature 18th hole is a 422-yard par 4 that runs alongside the lake, creating a dangerous water hazard to the left. You’ll need to play straight and true, as steering too far right to avoid the water may land you in one of two mid-fairway sand traps. 

The 586-yard par-5 9th hole is split in half by a creek, forcing golfers to make a decision between right and left. This is your classic risk/reward hole. 

3. The Olde Farm

Location: Bristol

The Olde Farm also consistently features in the list of best golf courses in Virginia. It has a rustic and rural feel to it, and you’re less likely to get distracted by the rolling hills and green farm scenery on this course. 

That being said, the golf is excellent and the course features a variety of different types of holes, to keep the golfer guessing throughout their round. It is member-only, though, so you’ll need to be invited or join the club to play. 

Although the terrain is hilly, the golf course is expertly routed in the valleys rather than the peaks, making it easier both to play and to walk. 

The links-style course features wide, open fairways, but nonchalant golfers can be undone by the firm, fast greens, which are well guarded by sand traps. 

On the signature 6th hole, a long par-3 at 206 yards, golfers will find themselves playing shots over hay bales and will need to avoid the barn that comes dangerously close to the right side of the green. 

Your fee includes a caddie, as well as access to the Long Barn, which is situated after the 6th hole and houses a snack and beverage bar, card tables, and practice facilities. Bristol is a great place to play in SWVA.

4. Ballyhack Golf Club

Location: Roanoke

The course at Ballyhack Golf Club is one to remember, with spectacular elevation changes of 70 feet across the course. It’s a private course located in Roanoke VA, so in order to play a memorable round here, you’ll need a member’s invite. 

Unless you’re extremely fit, you’ll need to take a golf cart on this course. Its sweeping length makes for excellent golf, but can take a toll on the legs if you’re walking. 

It’s a links-style course in a rugged setting, featuring wide, undulating fairways and unusually large greens which are strongly contoured and challenging. 

Ballyhack Golf Club via Kipp Teague (Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Ballyhack Golf Club via Kipp Teague (Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Many of the holes don’t have visibility from the tee, which makes a caddie essential if you aren’t familiar with the course. 

There’s no specific signature hole, but you’ll find a few exciting ones. The 13th and 15th holes both feature double greens, and the closing hole has an exciting punchbowl green of approximately 21,000 feet. 

5. Spring Creek Golf Club 

Location: Gordonsville

Spring Creek Golf Club is open to the public and proves to be an accessible course for golfers of all skill levels. It’s naturally contoured through the surrounding landscape, but also features man-made hazards like stone walls and bridges. 

The bunkering layout is one of the fine features of the course, with large white sand traps strategically placed across the holes. 

The club names three signature holes, none of which are the hardest but each with an appeal of its own. Par 3 hole 5, known as Protecten; par-4 hole 16, called Forteress; and par-5 hole 18, called Formidablis. 

However, the par 4 3rd hole, Bulwerk, is widely regarded as one of the toughest in the state. Stick to the right side of the fairway for an effective first shot. Be careful on your second, as it’s uphill to a deceivingly sloped and well-guarded green. 

6. Mattaponi Springs Golf Club

Location: Ruther Glen

This beautiful public golf course is laid out on 340 acres of land, and contours to the natural landscape. It’s filled with dramatic elevation changes and rolling hills, making the golf challenging but an unforgettable experience. 

Many holes feature elevated tees playing down severe slopes, which can trip up even the most experienced of golfers. 

The hazards, which include rough areas, an abundance of bunkers, and the occasional body of water, require golfers to use all their strategic thinking skills when it comes to both club selection and shot selection. 

Memorable holes include the 9th, a 455-yard par-4 that has you playing a right dog-leg to a green that’s protected by both water and bunkers, and the 18th, which has a dog-leg to the left and requires careful shot selection on the split fairway. 

You’ll also find an impeccable 5-acre practice facility, a 5,000-foot clubhouse, and a casual grill where you can grab a meal after your round. 

7. Independence Golf Club

Location: Midlothian

The Championship Golf Course at Independence Golf Club is one of the best golf courses in Virginia and often houses qualifying events and state tournaments. Built around the gently undulating terrain at the edge of the Piedmont region, this beautiful course weaves its way through trees and beside quiet waters. 

The course was renovated in 2014 and presents a challenge to golfers of all calibers. Five sets of tees make the course accessible to golfers of all levels. 

Narrow fairways make accuracy essential if you want to avoid landing in the thick rough. Strategic bunkering protects the fast greens, and aerial approaches are emphasized. 

Golfers will find the par-5 4th hole to be a challenging one as it has a dog-leg left which obscures the final view. Another exciting hole on the front nine is the 8th, a mammoth par-5 of 535 yards, which is known to be the hardest hole on the course. 

The back nine presents some challenges too, including the dog-leg right on the 10th hole with a present water hazard, and the finisher. On the 18th hole, golfers will have to play over a water hazard from the tee and are faced with a dog-leg on the second shot. 

8. Gold Course at Golden Horseshoe Golf Club

Location: Williamsburg

This public course isn’t for the faint of heart. Golfers of all levels will find it to be a challenge, with a good variety of holes. This course will require a full bag of clubs and thoughtful approaches to every hole. 

Rolling fairways, strategic sand traps, well-placed water hazards, and undulating greens are present throughout the course. It’s truly difficult to pick a favorite hole on this course, but some are more challenging than others. 

Your first test will be right up front, the par 5 2nd hole. A nerve-wracking risk/reward layout requires the golfer to avoid a bunker to the right of the fairway.

Golden Horseshoe Golf Club via Ron Cogswell (CC BY 2.0)
Golden Horseshoe Golf Club via Ron Cogswell (CC BY 2.0)

The next step is to choose whether to attempt a carry over the water hazard to hit the green in two shots, or a more subtle approach shot, setting you up for a shorter carry over the water. 

The very next hole is the complete opposite, a par 3 with a water hazard that requires concentration to make it to the green. Once you’re there, the left-to-right slope needs to be taken into account to avoid disappointment. 

Two of the three par 3s feature carryovers, and the 16th hole is perhaps the most interesting, with an “island” green at the end of a narrow, tree-lined fairway. 

Finally, the finisher features a dog-leg left and a well-protected, narrow, and deep green, surrounded by both sand traps and water. 

9. Royal New Kent Golf Club

Location: Providence Forge

The Royal New Kent Golf Club was designed by Mike Strantz, an acclaimed golf course architect who’s responsible for some of the most challenging and exciting courses, despite only designing 8 courses in total. 

The Royal Kent is memorable and unusual. It may be rated amongst the best golf courses in Virginia, but it’s also well-known as being the most difficult. It may be frustratingly hard for beginners, but more experienced golfers will find the challenge refreshing and exciting. 

Measuring more than 7,300 yards from the longest tees, the first major decision every golfer has to make is to choose the right tee. 

Most of the tee shots land on wide, comfortable areas, but it’s the second shots that require the most strategy and concentration. 

The greens are deceivingly large. But the more than 100 bunkers, rock walls, ridges, and high fescue grass will do their best to hamper your efforts to reach the greens, several of which are multi-tiered. 

Golfers will be presented with a test from the very first hole, which features an elevated tee, a dog-leg to the left, and a slope in front of the green which can set you back up to 60 yards.

Ambitious golfers can choose to aim over the hills instead of tackling the dog-leg, but risk getting stuck and losing a shot. 

It doesn’t get easier from there, with hole number 2 being a par 5 in the shape of a fish hook, and four tricky par 3s. 

10. Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech

Location: Radford

A typical Pete Dye classic, the River Course of Virginia Tech is our final choice for the best golf courses in Virginia. It’s open to the public and has hosted state tournaments in the past. 

The front and back nines sit on either side of a large bluff, which can make it difficult to walk the course comfortably. The New River runs right alongside the course, presenting a hazard on a few of the back nine holes. 

Hole number 7 is the signature. A short but tricky 159 yards leads to a well-protected green. The hardest hole on the course is the very last, number 18.

A narrow fairway restricted by fescue to one side and water to the other ends up at a small green that’s guarded by multiple sand traps. 

Have You Been Golfing in Virginia?

These may be our 10 best golf clubs in Virginia, but the list is by no means exhaustive. There are plenty of other courses that are just as beautiful and offer exquisite golf. 

Golden Horseshoe Golf Club via Ron Cogswell (CC BY 2.0
Golden Horseshoe Golf Club via Ron Cogswell (CC BY 2.0

The good news is that whether you’re in Virginia for a day, a week, or planning on moving in permanently, there are more than enough excellent golf courses to keep you playing exciting rounds for a long time to come. 

Where is your favorite golf course in Virginia? Let us know in the comments!

About the Author 

Jordan Fuller has been playing golf for decades and has had the good fortune to play on courses around the country, as well as in the beautiful state of Virginia. He shares golf-related information and reviews on his website, Golf Influence

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