Golden Horseshoe Gold Course -- Views of a Legend

Photos and Text by Jeffrey A. Rendall

WILLIAMSBURG, VA -- The Green Course alone is incentive enough to visit the Golden Horseshoe, but when put in conjunction with the timeless classic Gold Course (which opened in 1963), itís an incredible combination. And when the Gold needed some modifications a few years back to bring the course up to modern technological standards, Rees Jones was the right man for the job.   Jones says his Dad created a masterpiece, and he sought only to enhance it.

"Thereís no doubt in my mind that the Gold Course deserves mention on the list of great courses in Virginia. But in order to make it more playable for a resort course, we needed to change a few things -- to modernize it.  First off, we replaced all of the greens. They were too small to endure the type of play the course was getting, so we added some tongues on some of them to provide for championship pin placements, as well as cover the maintenance issues. We also took out the fall-away qualities, which makes the green complexes a little more forgiving. Second, we re-graded some of the fairways to provide for better visibility, and to allow them to flow in the direction the hole goes. Finally, we improved the bunkering around the greens (added some and deepened others)," Jones said.

One thing he didnít alter in a significant way is the Goldís green contours. Jones says he made some greens more undulating and others lessóbut to make them too flat would take away some of the courseís difficulty.

Rees said his father approved of the changes. "When we worked on the Gold Course, Dad wasnít really able to come to the site to see what we were doing. But I told him about the changes, and he was pleased. Heíd been very complimentary of my work at Congressional, so Iím glad we were able to make his already excellent work even better." Here are some of the sights youíll see at the Golden Horseshoe Gold Course:

Carry it over water and sand to reach the 206 yard, par three 7th -- the second of the Gold Course's incredible par threes.

The serenity found at the Gold's 10th green is typical throughout the course. What might be ordinary becomes extraordinary when the Joneses apply their magic.

The par three 12th plays 188 yards and downhill. But locals will tell you to bring plenty of club, because the wind swirls above the large open space.

The 634 yard par five 14th proves that Robert Trent Jones could build plenty of length into his courses. It's a three-shotter for all mortals, and most pros.

The 169 yard par three 16th is probably the most photographed hole in Virginia. Standing on top of the tee, you'll understand why.

Greenside at the 16th hole. You'll quickly realize what the penalties are for missing the sizable putting surface - mostly in the sandy and wet categories.

Once you reach the 17th green, you'll wonder how 435 uphill-the-whole-way yards could still be considered a par four.


Golden Horseshoe Golf Clubís Gold Course
401 South England Street
Williamsburg, VA 23185

Telephone: (757) 220-7696.

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