Kinloch GC -- Views of the Course Near the Lake -- Front Nine

Text by Jeffrey A. Rendall, Photos by Jeffrey A. Rendall and Kevin Gaydosh

MANAKIN-SABOT, VA -- Golf Digest named Kinloch Golf Club ‘Best New Private Course of 2001,’ an honor bestowed on few, and an acknowledgement of the fine work that went into building the club from conception of the idea, to opening day.

Kinloch’s Course Architect, Lester George, said the thinking on the project was to create a natural and traditional layout with a Scottish theme: "We literally had hours and hours of conversations about design strategy, discussing what the owners wanted to achieve. The reoccurring theme was -- they wanted a traditional, architectural appearance. They didn’t want anything that looked like what you’re seeing on some upscale modern courses these days."

George continues, "We wanted to design something that had the flare of having been done many years ago, with little land to service, and fit nicely onto the property. A natural look, a routing that took advantage of all the unique terrain features, not overly bunkered, and subtle contours in the bunkers. We wanted every bunker out there to influence play."

Looking at the course, it certainly appears as if it’s been there for decades. There are a number of large, mature trees influencing play, the fairways flow over natural rolling terrain, and the course conditioning is what you’d expect from a decades-old, established private club. It’s hard to believe Kinloch’s been open for less than two years.

George adds, "I knew by the quality of the people involved, and the quality of the site, that Kinloch had a chance of being highly regarded (in national rankings). But you never go into a project thinking ‘this is going to be the #1 private golf course in the country this year, or the highest ranked golf course in the history of Virginia, etc…’ I basically set out to do the best I could with the site, and the rest takes care of itself."

The rest did take care of itself, and the images reveal what the results were:

Looking back from the green of the 2nd hole. George says if you clear a set of bunkers off the tee, you can hit a belt-high eight iron to the back of the green. Lots of room to execute a bump and run.

The par five 3rd is the first generous three-shotter on the course, but knowing where to play tee and second shots gives you a much better angle for your approach.

The 334 yard, par four 4th hole provides for both a safe and gambling approach. Choose the easier tee shot, and you'll have a carry into the green. Take the narrower left side off the tee, and you can bump and run it in.

George says there's only thirteen feet of elevation difference between the fairway landing area and the 6th green, but when you're down there, it looks a lot higher.

Kinloch's 8th hole has been compared to Augusta National's 11th. You'll have a slightly downhill second shot into a green guarded by a pond front and left.

From the back tees, the 9th hole measures 556 yards. But there are so many shot options, you can almost choose the distance you want to play, based on how far to fly the ball.

If your match is tied, what better way to settle it than firing across the 'loch' to the 19th green. It's 'only' 185 yards of carry, but one yard short and you're wet. Now that's pressure.


Kinloch Golf Club
1100 Hockett Road
Manakin-Sabot, VA 23103

Telephone: (804) 784-8000
FAX: (804) 784-8717

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